Finding the right EB-5 Regional Center can be a challenge. With over 200 centers nationwide, the process may seem confusing, if not overwhelming. Finding a good regional center should be approached like a homework assignment.
Search directly on the USCIS
The first place to start is the United States Citizen and Immigration Services website, then type EB-5 on the site’s search box. The USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, and its site provides a list of designated regional centers by state.
The USCIS cannot endorse any regional center, but by doing an internet search for each center, potential investors can learn about each center’s specialty, investment structure, and history.
Regional centers want your business and may claim things in their mission statements, including a safe, low-risk investment structure. But one thing to ask, is it too safe for USCIS’s standards? Investors’ money must be at genuine risk and a minimum amount of 500,000.
Find an immigration attorney
With so much at risk, hiring an immigration attorney who specializes in EB-5 and is not affiliated with any particular center is a good first step for potential investors. An immigration attorney can guide client and investors through the legal accounting process and help decipher a regional center’s due diligence reports and operational transparency to see how successful they are and what regional centers are good matches.
Usually immigration attorneys ask their clients goal about their goals first; is it money or a Green Card? These are just a couple questions investors need to ask themselves before starting an EB-5 case.
Key considerations with potential EB-5 investments
Key considerations when reviewing a potential investment in a given regional center include the nature and timelines of the regional center’s projects and how much money needs to be raised. LCR Capital also recommends investors do their deepest due diligence and make sure to find a regional center that’ll create jobs that meet USCIS criteria in order to qualify for their permanent resident cards.
Without this essential quality, the regional center will be putting investors’ capital at risk without a realistic chance for the investor qualifying for a permanent resident card. In this difficult financing environment, EB-5 can be a source of creative financing. The granting of regional center status does not assure the investor that a temporary visa will be converted into a permanent resident card.