...What is a Regional Center?

 

In October of 1992, the U.S. government created the Regional Center Pilot program to further promote immigration and investments through the EB-5 visa category by creating “Regional Centers.”

 

A Regional Center is a geographic area designed by the USCIS to be eligible to receive capital from immigrant investors. 

A Regional Center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.

The organizers of a Regional Center seeking the Regional Center designation from USCIS must provide a proposal showing:

  1. How the Regional Center plans to focus on a geographical region within the U.S. and explain how the Regional Center will achieve the required economic growth within this designated regional area.
  2. How the Regional Center’s business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model grounded in reasonable and credible estimates and assumptions for market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines.
  3. How jobs will be created directly and indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the Regional Center’s business plan.
  4. How the amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project will be successful.

Investment funds may come from any legal foreign or U.S. source including gifts, loans and/or divorce settlements. Immigrant investors must demonstrate a pattern of legal business activity (for example, provide tax returns, savings, investment, and business records to show lawful sources of funds).

Borrowed investment funds qualify as long as they are not secured by assets of the targeted United States business and the lender can prove a lawful source of funds. The EB-5 investor money has to be “at risk” with no personal guarantee or recourse to the individual projects or Regional Centers.