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January 29 2013

Q & A

Q: If a regional center’s designation by USCIS only includes the economic model IMPLAN, must the regional center ask USCIS to amend its designation if the regional center wishes to use RIMS II on its next project?

A: USCIS’s March 2011 PowerPoint and its executive summary of the January 2012 EB-5 stakeholder’s meeting both cite the I-924 instructions to answer this question:  

The March 2011 PowerPoint simply states that an amendment is required and links to the I-924 instructions.

The January 2012 Executive Summary at first appears to state that an amendment is required, but a closer look reveals that USCIS is not actually addressing that question.  It is addressing a question that already assumes an amendment is required:

Q: Please clarify the documentary requirements for a regional center amendment filing if the amendment is solely to (a) change industry code; or (b) change geography; or (c) change economic methodology.

A: USCIS’s response indicates that it is taking the question to mean a change of economic analysis for an already approved project:  Depending on the nature of the change, however, we may need to see a revised business plan as well. (USCIS obviously cannot see a “revised” business plan unless it has already seen an original business plan.)

Toward the top of page 7 in the January 2012 Executive Summary, USCIS brings into question whether an amendment is needed at all, again citing the I-924 instructions:

Q: Please clarify how clear requests, such as geographical expansion, new economic models, and additional NAICS codes, can be quickly approved through an I-924 amendment.  

A: Please see instructions on the I-924 Form for a description of the changes that require the filing of an amendment and ones that do not require an amendment filing. . . . 

The I-924 instructions indicate that a regional center should file an amendment only if it changes the economic methodology for an already approved project:

An amendment may be filed to seek approval of changes to the regional center’s: 

  1. Geographic area; 
  2. Organizational structure or administration; 
  3. Capital investment projects, to include changes in the economic analysis and underlying business plan used to estimate job creation for previously approved investment opportunities and industrial clusters; 
  4. Affiliated commercial enterprise’s organizational structure and/or capital investment instruments or offering memoranda. [Emphasis added.]

Taking all of the above together, it seems a regional center needs to file an amendment to change the economic methodology for an already existing project that uses another economic analysis.  However it does not need to file an amendment to use a new economic methodology for a brand new project.