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ILW.COM EB-5 Blog

Regional Center Approach To EB-5 Visa Gaining In Popularity

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The EB-5 visa is fast becoming the most sought-after path to
permanent residency in the United States by foreign investors, and the Regional
Center model is by far the most popular means of obtaining a green card through
the government's innovative employment-based immigration program.


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
agency, or USCIS, oversees the Congressionally-created Immigrant Investor
Program, which has attracted much attention over the last several years as the
United States has experienced slow or negative economic growth while economies
of many nations in Asia and South America expanded.  This growth has led to tremendous wealth and
the development of an elite class of investors and entrepreneurs who are
looking for opportunities outside of their home countries to diversify their
portfolios.  The Immigrant Investor
Program offers these individuals an attractive investment option, and it comes
with a significant bonus: the possibility of earning a green card.


The Immigrant Investor Program is designed to encourage
foreign entrepreneurs to invest in commercial enterprises that create jobs in
the United States by offering them the opportunity to obtain a permanent residency
visa if the projects in which they invest are successful.  Foreign nationals can invest $500,000 to
$1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise in the United States, and if that
investment leads to the creation or preservation of 10 permanent full-time jobs
within two years, the investor will receive a permanent residency visa (also
commonly referred to as an EB-5 visa for the employment-based visa category it
represents). 


The lower investment amount - $500,000 - can only be made in
a commercial enterprise that is located in a high-unemployment or rural area,
while the $1,000,000 investment can be made in an enterprise anywhere
else.  The same general job-creation
requirements apply to each.


The Immigrant Investor Program (sometimes called the "EB-5
program") also offers a third investment option to foreign entrepreneurs.  This alternative is called the Regional
Center approach.  Regional Centers are
government-designated development agencies, partnerships or corporations that
can pool money from multiple foreign investors that can be used to finance
large-scale commercial projects.  One of
the benefits of Regional Centers is that they are managed by U.S.-based teams
of experienced business executives and developers who conduct research and
draft economic proposals for the USCIS which contain reasonable forecasts of a
project's job-creation potential. 
Regional Centers allow foreign entrepreneurs to take a hands-off
approach to their commercial investments and let their U.S-based partners take
responsibility for ensuring that the requirements of the EB-5 program
are being met.  Foreign investors can
monitor the progress of a particular project while leaving the often-complicated
details of a commercial enterprises operation and management to business professionals
who also have an interest in seeing a project through to completion and have
more experience developing projects and dealing with and understanding the laws
of the United States.


For example, a Seattle-based Regional Center is using
millions of dollars from foreign entrepreneurs to finance the construction of
two Marriott hotels in downtown Los Angeles. 
Hundreds of jobs will be created directly by the construction and
operation of the two hotels, as well as in businesses, such as shops and
restaurants, located nearby.  Over four
hundred additional hotel rooms will also be added to downtown as a result of
the EB-5 program investment-fueled hotel projects.  And of course, hundreds of green cards will
be handed out to foreign investors and their families when they demonstrate to
the USCIS that the requisite number of jobs for the EB-5 program has been
created.

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