About the EB-5 Regional Center Program

In 1992, Congress enhanced the economic impact of the EB-5 program by permitting the designation of Regional Centers to pool EB-5 capital from multiple foreign investors for investment in USCIS-approved economic development projects within a defined geographic region.

Today, 95 percent of all EB-5 capital is raised and invested by Regional Centers.

Regional Centers maximize the program’s job creation benefits by facilitating the investment of significant amounts of capital in large-scale projects – often in coordination with regional economic development agencies – that use the EB-5 funds to leverage additional capital. Regional Centers use economic analysis models, including those developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, to demonstrate that job creation targets required by law have been achieved. For investments made through Regional Centers, at least 10 direct, indirect or induced jobs must be created. Existing federally designated Regional Centers include entities that are publicly owned and operated by state economic development agencies as well as public-private partnerships and private sector investment companies. A Regional Center obtains its designation by submitting a detailed application to USCIS. The application must state the kinds of businesses that will receive capital from investors, the jobs that will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment of capital, and the other positive economic impacts that will result from the investment of capital. All investment offerings made by EB-5 Regional Centers are subject to U.S. securities laws, enforced by state securities regulators and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization, designated and regulated by USCIS, which facilitates investment in job-creating economic development projects by pooling capital raised under the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Regional centers can be publicly owned, (e.g. by a city, state, or regional economic development agency), privately owned, or be a public-private partnership.

  • Regional Centers maximize the program’s job creation benefits by facilitating the investment of significant amounts of capital in large-scale projects often in coordination with regional economic development agencies which use the EB-5 funds to leverage additional capital.
  • Regional Centers use economic analysis models, including those developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, to demonstrate that job creation targets required by law have been achieved. For investments made through Regional Centers, at least 10 direct, indirect or induced jobs must be created.
  • All investment offerings made by EB-5 Regional Centers are subject to U.S. securities laws, enforced by state securities regulators and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

A comprehensive peer-reviewed economic study found that during fiscal year 2012, investments made through the EB-5 program contributed $3.39 billion to U.S. GDP and supported over 42,000 U.S. jobs.

This is more than a 100 percent increase from the average annual impact result reported in 2011. And, these jobs were created at no cost to taxpayers.

The Congressional Budget Office has scored the program as revenue neutral, with administrative costs paid for by applicant fees.

More than 25 countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, use similar programs to attract foreign investments. The American program is more stringent than many others, requiring substantial risk for investors in terms of both their financial investment and immigration status.

  • Investments made through the U.S. EB-5 program must be “at risk” in the same way that investments in stocks or equity funds carry an inherent risk. There is no guaranteed financial return.
  • If their application is approved by USCIS, EB-5 investors receive a conditional visa that is valid for two years. In order to receive a permanent visa, these investors must demonstrate that the legally required economic benefits flowing from their investments have been achieved.

Annually, the EB-5 Program accounts for less than 1% of the visas issued by the U.S. Throughout the process, EB-5 investors are subject to the same background checks and national security screenings as applicants in any other visa category, and their ability to eventually apply for citizenship is subject to the same criteria as other visa holders. Like any other investment vehicle, EB-5 investment funds are subject to U.S. securities and anti-fraud laws and regulations.

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