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In 1993, Congress created an alternative to the “direct” investment program whereby immigrants may invest in USCIS-designated “regional centers.”

In this program, a financier or developer makes a proposal to the USCIS. If the USCIS finds it will benefit the regional economy and shows potential for providing employment, the firm will be designated a regional center. USCIS approval allows the financier or developer to create a limited partnership, limited liability company, or corporation in which the EB-5 investor invests and may apply for green cards. Regional centers, for example, pool capital from EB-5 investors to build a big hotel.

Whether the investment is made in a regional center or a direct business, the amount of investment is at least $900,000 as of November 21, 2019, in a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”) (or $1.8 million in other areas).

Investors in a regional center do not have to have day-to-day management responsibility or prove the business "directly" employs 10 people. Instead, they may rely on economic input/output models to calculate the "indirect employment creation". We can provide you with information about specific regional center projects so that due diligence analyses may be performed.

  • Examples of Regional Center Investments
    • A real estate limited partnership program that offers an investment in industrial properties in a specified major city. This program, which was granted USCIS designation as a regional center in 1996, generally started out involving purchasing low-yielding warehouse properties with invested funds and converting them into higher-value mixed used properties, including office space, retail shops and storage space. Today, the regional center is concentrating on developing new hotels.
    • Investors participate as limited partners of a limited partnership, and can earn regular monthly income from the project, as well as a share of future appreciation from the project, when sold (for lesser). Investment periods vary, but cannot end before receipt of the permanent green card by the investor.
    • A limited partnership program that makes low-interest loans to businesses in a specified major city. Business investment and development in this program, a USCIS regional center designee since 2003, targets industry sectors that demonstrate strong indications of expansion, growing employment needs, and returns on investments. The regional center directs its efforts at financing projects and developing enterprises within targeted sectors, including hospitality and tourism, trade, technology, higher education, and transportation. The investment period of this program is five years.
  • Examples of Successful Cases

    Disclaimer: Each of these cases depend on the petitioner’s provable facts. If your facts are different, your case may turn out differently.

    • A Japanese businessman in the U.S. on a temporary work visa has various investments in the U.S. and Japan. He invested $500,000 in a regional center. He maintained homes in San Francisco and Hawaii as well as Japan. He has been granted permanent residence and the last I heard he was considering developing a new real estate project in another state, in addition to being a limited partner with his regional center investment.
    • A man inherited his family’s estate. He invested in a regional center while he remained overseas. The petition was approved and he was issued an immigrant visa by the American Consulate in his home country.
    • A German businessman on an E-2 investor visa invested $500,000 in a regional center EB-5 case in a high unemployment area. The petition was approved while his daughter was in the United States on an E-2 visa. Thereafter, an adjustment of status application for permanent residence was filed with accompanying work and travel permit for the whole family.
    • A young woman from Indonesia graduated from college in the U.S. and had an H-1B visa to work as a financial professional. She received a $500,000 gift from her father and invested it in a regional center. The EB-5 petition was approved a few months later. Two years later, she filed the I-829, proved that 10 jobs were created, and the USCIS approved her conditional permanent resident status.
  • EB-5 Attorney

    Lawler & Lawler is a leading EB-5 law firm for assisting investors to obtain green cards and for setting up and helping with compliance issues relating to EB-5 regional centers.

    Martin Lawler has been practicing law for more than 30 years. He is a leading EB-5 lawyer. He is listed in Best Lawyers of America and has an “A” rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He has also received a number of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) presidential awards.