The Regional Center Program that provides an opportunity to foreign investors to receive Green Cards in exchange for $500,000 investments is set to expire on September 30, 2015, unless Congress reauthorizes it. If you have been planning to participate in the program in order to receive a Green Card, it is best to act now in case the program is not be extended or if it is changed in a way that later disqualifies you from participating!
Contact the Los Angeles Immigration Center at (310) 933-4455 if you are interested in an EB-5 Green Card before it is too late!
Here is how the Regional Center Program works.
What are the EB-5 and Regional Center Programs?
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, commonly known as the EB-5 program, was enacted in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990 to provide Green Cards for immigrant investors through EB-5 Visas. In 1992, a pilot program, known as the Regional Center Program, was created where certain EB-5 Visas would be set aside for investments into USCIS-designated Regional Centers designed to promote economic growth. Regional Centers are organizations designed to spur economic growth and create jobs and are designated and regulated by USCIS.
Most of the Regional Centers are authorized to accept $500,000 investments instead of the full $1,000,000, which makes it a very attractive option for the foreign investors who wish to apply for a permanent residency in the United States and receive Green Cards.
Investment into the Regional Centers is very popular among the investors. As of August 31st, 2015, there were approximately 697 Regional Centers in the U.S. and statistics show that more than 90% of all EB-5 petitions filed were through the Regional Center Program.
The Regional Center Program has been reauthorized by Congress five times since its creation and is set to expire on September 30, 2015. However, if Congress reauthorizes the program this year, it may consider raising the minimum amount of investment to $800,000.
What are the Requirements for an EB-5 Green Card?
Typically, to qualify for an EB-5 Green Card, an immigrant investor needs to:
- Invest in a new commercial enterprise
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years
- Invest at least $1 million in capital (cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, etc.) in general or $500,000 in capital in Targeted Employment Areas (areas with High Unemployment or Rural Areas)
How Do I Qualify for the Regional Center Program?
Under the Regional Center Program, an immigrant investor needs to invest the required capital in a Regional Center, which will place the funds into a project benefiting the economy of the U.S. and creating direct and indirect jobs.
What are the benefits of investing through the Regional Center?
- In most cases, a smaller amount of $500,000 is sufficient regardless of the location of the Regional Center.
- The Regional Center creates the required direct and indirect jobs required for the investor as part of the project.
- No active involvement from the investor is required to manage the invested funds on a project.
- Most Regional Centers pay interest on the invested funds.
What happens after September 30, 2015?
As of writing, Congress has not reauthorized the Regional Center Program and there are approximately 14 legislative days for Congress to act on it before it expires. There are various bills going through Congress regarding it, but Congress is out of session until the second week of September so the members of Congress cannot act on them until then. Please check our news section or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn for updates.
If Congress does not reauthorize the program and it expires on September 30th, then it will be closed off to anyone who applies after that date. That is why it is very important to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in it.
If Congress reauthorizes the program, they may make changes to the eligibility requirements that will make it harder for future applicants to qualify. If you apply before the changes go into effect, the old eligibility requirements will most likely apply to you instead of the new requirements and you will be at the front of the line in case a backlog occurs. That is another reason why it is important to apply as soon as possible.
How do I participate in the Regional Center Program?
If you are interested in the Regional Center Program, contact the Los Angeles Immigration Center at (310) 933-4455 as soon as possible. Our experienced Immigration Attorneys will assist with you every step of the process including choosing a Regional Center and filing all the necessary paperwork. Though the process is easier than obtaining an EB-5 Visa through direct investment into your own business, it is still a time consuming process and USCIS is very specific on the information it needs. Also, it is recommended to file your complete application before the program expires and an experienced Immigration Lawyer will be able to help.
To schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney, please call (310) 933-4455 or fill out our online form with a brief description of your situation.