Regional Center Investment is by far the most popular way of pursuing an EB-5 Green Card. By "Regional Center Investment" I mean making a $500,000 investment in a designated Regional Center, which is a business entity given permission by USCIS to attract EB-5 investors. Regional Centers are typically involved in the development of industrial projects, like the construction of hospitals, hotels or residential properties.
If you're an investor who values simplicity and relative security on the road to obtaining an EB-5 Green Card, Regional Center Investment is the ideal choice for you. Because Regional Centers have already been evaluated and provisionally approved by USCIS, the application process is much simpler than it is for “Direct Investment” EB-5. Regional Center Investment is also well-suited to investors who would prefer to play a relatively passive role. For these reasons, as well as others, around 95% of EB-5 investors opt for Regional Center Investment.
There are two main phases to the application process, which occur around two years apart. In the first phase, you must prove to USCIS that you have invested $500,000 in an approved Regional Center. The most important part of this phase — indeed, the most important part of the whole application process — is selecting from among the hundreds of existing Regional Centers. Some Regional Centers will be better choices for you than others, and, unfortunately, not all regional centers operate with integrity—while rare, there have been documented cases of fraud. Above all, this decision is so important because it is ultimately the success of your Regional Center that determines whether or not you will qualify for a Green Card. Don’t be concerned: to help you make this decision, you will work with a professional who will perform an in-depth evaluation of the Regional Center you are considering. Making a final investment decision based on such an evaluation will help ensure that you and your family achieve your immigration goals.
Once you have made the investment, you will work with your immigration attorney and your Regional Center to prepare the first application. For this application, the Regional Center will provide you with documentation that your investment will likely make a sufficient contribution to regional job creation, so that you will satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 program. If this first application is successful, you will be issued a temporary Conditional Green Card, as will the members of your immediate family whom you listed on the application.
In the second phase, which begins about two years after you have received your Conditional Green Card, you and your Regional Center must prove to USCIS that your investment has indeed satisfied the job creation requirement. If you are successful in this second application, you and your family will receive what are referred to as Permanent Resident Green Cards. These are fully renewable every 10 years and are no longer dependent on your Regional Center investment—you will be entirely free to recover your principal investment at this time.
In our Library you will find a number of articles on Regional Center Investment. However, if you would like a more comprehensive understanding, I highly recommend you order a free copy of my book Complete Guide to the EB-5 Green Card.