EB-5 Regional Center Approval
Once the EB-5 Regional Center proposal is submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the processing time for Regional Center adjudication is about four months. Currently, there is no form or fee for Regional Center proposals however USCIS headquarters staff has announced that the agency is in the process of implementing both.
Once the Regional Center proposal receives approval it is important for the applicant to understand that the approval does not ensure the Center’s viability. Continuous efforts must be made to reach out to foreign investors and to facilitate the continual progress of activities within the Regional Center. If a Regional Center is not producing EB-5 projects over an extended period of time, the USCIS can terminate the Center.
Most Regional Centers utilize EB-5 consulting firms to aide them in the process of developing a marketing strategy and recruiting foreign investors. However, Regional Center principals should spend time researching and interviewing EB-5 consultants until they find one they feel fully comfortable working with; it is a close working relationship requiring trust and open communication.
Experienced EB-5 consultants have a collective team of professionals who specialize in all areas related to immigration and the EB-5 visa, including staff that is fluent in the language of the targeted investors. The most reputable consulting firms are also comprised of immigration attorneys, real estate specialists, financial specialists, business plan writers and marketing directors, all of which collaboratively work together with the Regional Center developer in executing the most effective business strategy.
Depending on what foreign market the Regional Center is targeting, formulates the marketing and business strategy performed. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Office, the top five countries for EB-5 visa issuance in 2009 were as follows: China 1,803, South Korea 689, Great Britain 246, Taiwan 142, and Japan 77. As evidence suggests, China, with a population of over 1.3 billion and a strong economy, is the unrivaled hub of EB-5 interest.
Many foreigners – Chinese in particular – are attracted to the EB-5 program because of its flexibility; once the investment is approved, not only does the investor receive conditional status but the investor’s spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21 also receive conditional status. This allows their children to attend any university or institution within the United States while allowing them to remain in their home country if they choose to do so.