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March 5 2014

More from February USCIS Stakeholder Meeting

More from February USCIS Stakeholder Meeting

Job Creation from Guest Expenditure

Estelle and I raised several important questions at February’s USCIS EB-5 stakeholder meeting, some of which were submitted ahead of time and read and addressed. We want to share the USCIS responses and our reaction to those responses.

We asked USCIS what the standard is for a hotel to prove guest expenditures outside the hotel create jobs (at restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, among others).

USCIS acknowledged hotel guest expenditure job creation is possible. As is always the case, the determination as to whether this is allowed will be fact specific to the projects and subject to the methodology and credibility of the evidence presented in support.

USCIS stated it has used two standards to measure guest expenditure economic impacts.

One standard is “but for” the hotel, the guests would not be in the area. USCIS will look at proof that there is an unmet demand for accommodations in the area where the hotel is located. For example, unmet demand is created in an area where a new major sports stadium attracts people but, on average, there are insufficient rooms available accommodate them.

USCIS said they will also consider guest expenditures as creating countable jobs if the project can demonstrate it is providing a different product targeted as a specific market segment – for example, a long-term stay facility where none is available, or a resort in an area without one.

USCIS has also used another standard which involves proving that the “primary motivation” for people visiting the area is the hotel itself. While asked, the USCIS did not comment about this standard. Proving motivation seems difficult prior to the hotel being built, but may be possible for a unique resort. Possibly a tourist trade association or hotel chain may have statistics on guest motivations.


The USCIS also said on the stakeholder call that there must be full translations of all foreign language documents – not summaries. While this is what the USCIS regulations state, the practice across various visa applications is to accept summary translations of long documents, such as a lengthy office lease or corporate formation papers or contracts.

If they begin to stick to this policy, it will slow down filing in some cases and drive up the costs.