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March 14 2014

Regional Center Regions

A regional center (RC) is granted a charter by USCIS to develop projects in a region – a territory. It can be small or large, such as a town up to a state.

A region’s size may be expanded or contracted. Previously, this involved a protracted application. With the USCIS May 30, 2013 EB-5 memo, an RC’s region may be changed as part of an I-526 investor’s application. For example, an RC with a territory of San Francisco County may have a project in San Jose, CA, and, with the first investor’s I-526, request expansion of its charter territory to include San Jose or Santa Clara county.

If an RC in San Francisco would like to expand to a larger territory such as Los Angeles, it is recommended that a formal I-924 RC charter amendment be filed, as such a large expansion may not be approved.

The RC must show that the proposed territory is contiguous to the RC’s current territory, and that the RC will positively impact the economy of its proposed territory. This will require an economic impact report. The report may explain how the proposed territory is the commuting area of an RC project. If a project has multiple locations, then it may be possible to combine the commuting areas of each location to justify a larger territory overall. The report may also justify the proposed territory by explaining how it captures most of the suppliers for a project (which will thus create indirect jobs in the area).

As RCs test the May 30, 2013 memo’s new policy, we will see how large a territory one may receive.