EB-5 Regional Center Program

The EB-5 program was created by Congress in 1990 to provide permanent resident status for individuals who make qualifying investments. Initially, the program required the investment of $1 million into a new enterprise which would employ at least 10 individuals. In order to attract more investors, Congress created the “Regional Center Program” which makes it much easier to obtain permanent resident status through the investment of a smaller amount of money into a project that is involved in promoting economic development in the United States. To be approved by USCIS, a Regional Center must demonstrate that it is promoting economic growth, improving regional productivity, and/or creating jobs for Americans.

The creation of the Regional Center Program makes it dramatically easier for investors to obtain permanent resident status through the EB-5 program. The individual must invest $500,000 plus certain fees with a Regional Center and maintain the investment for a prescribed number of years (usually five years). The investor does not need to create a new business or employ any individuals at all. It is the intention of the Regional Centers to provide a competitive return on the individual’s investment. In exchange for the investment, the applicant receives conditional permanent residence for two years, which can be converted to full permanent residence.

There are a large number of Regional Centers that have been approved by USCIS. These are located across the United States. It is not necessary for the investor to live in the same area as the Regional Center. The investor’s money is placed in escrow by the Regional Center and is only released if the application for conditional permanent residence is approved. If the application is denied, the funds are returned to the investor.

Stern & Curray, working with other professionals, can assist individuals in investigating the EB-5 program and preparing and submitting the applications to USCIS.