Why Choosing the Correct Regional Center is the Key for a Successful EB-5 Application

Rogelio, Co-Founder, LCR Capital PartnersRogelio has helped build four different companies so far from their inception into multimillion dollar businesses by launching new products and services that serve the needs of US-based and international C-suite executives, HNWI and UHNWI investors.

The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990 to boost foreign investment to the US that would create jobs for US citizens, at the same time providing a quicker solution to obtaining a green card which is the main reason for the highetened interest in the EB-5 Investor Visa program. This program led to the establishment of USCIS approved EB-5 Regional Centers which could become the designated sponsors of projects and hence attract capital investments from interested investors/applicants and manage the process end-to-end.

One of the central requirements of the EB-5 program is the creation or preservation of 10 fulltime jobs for US citizens. When one invests directly in a project, the program only counts the direct jobs created. However, when investing through a Regional Center, indirect and induced jobs created as a result of that investment are also counted in addition to the direct jobs.

For example, if the Regional Center you choose to work with is associated with a residential project jobs created in schools,restaurants, administration, and others, because of the development and inhabitation of that project (once completed) would be counted to benefit your application. Therefore, large chunks(close to 98 percent) of EB-5 applicants choose to invest via a regional center rather than investing directly. The Regional Center then manages your investment and oversees the entire process, freeing you of that responsibility.

Since the Regional Center shoulders the entire responsibilities of ensuring all criterions of your investment are met, choosing the correct partner is a critical decision to enhance your chances of getting visa approval. Therefore, when investing with a Regional Center,due diligence of the project, the team, and choosing the correct Regional Center itself is very important.

Evaluating aspects of the firm’s pedigree, visa approval statistics, feedback of their current clients,
investment philosophy, and quality of the current project they’re offering are factors that may influence your decision.

Regional Center projects range from real estate (housing, commercial & mix use),hospitality (hotels, restaurants), education to manufacturing related projects. The project must be commercially viable to be able to sustain complete construction and create enough jobs to be able to ensure that the goals and objectives of your investment are met and hence your Green Cards are granted.

As a precaution and to avoid any such problems, you must gather responses to a few basic questions, such as those below mentioned, before joining hands with an RC:
•Is the Regional Center designated by the USCIS?
•Does the Regional Center’s jurisdiction cover the location of the proposed project?
•Is the RC backed by a strong track record, referrals, and management team?
•What is the RC’s proven job creation methodology?
•What is the project, its projected growth and timelines?
•Is the team transparent and willing to keep you updated on the developments?
•Does the RC’s project already have investors?
•Is their exit strategy independent of other investors?
•Do they have a job creation buffer?

Once you have collated the answers to the above questions and are satisfied with the responses, you can dig deeper into understanding the rc’s proposition around the project and investor protection.

Most Regional Centers are affiliated with projects in Target Employment Areas(TEAs)and associating with them can offer you two key benefits. The first being that the minimum investment amount for projects in a TEA is significantly lower. The second benefit is that despite being a TEA, the investment can be made in any major city. Investors may consult a qualified EB-5 attorney to determine these requirements and then narrow down on a project.

Being involved with a Regional Center makes the process easier and quicker, yet requires less direct involvement on part of the investor

A good Regional Centre will provide advisory and investment services as an end-to-end solution. Being
involved with a Regional Center makes the process easier and quicker, yet requires less direct involvement on part of the investor.

There are several advisory roles a Regional Center is expected to perform such as recommending investments to its partners that qualify under the EB-5 guidelines, updating investors with semiannual investment reports, organizing meetings with investment partners, and very importantly, providing legal and professionally audited updates to the USCIS that may be required by the USCIS over the course of the application of investors.

Investing in an EB-5 visa means putting your capital amount at risk and at the mercy of market forces. However, this risk can significantly be managed if the correct partner and project is chosen via the Regional Center.