New Form I-956 for Regional Center Designation – Work with EB5AN to Submit Your I-956 in Just Weeks

Work with EB5AN to prepare your EB-5 regional center designation application with a one-time fixed cost and a guaranteed application turn-around time.

Schedule a call with our team to learn about working with EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN) to prepare a turnkey application with Form I-956 to redesignate your previously approved regional center or designate a completely new entity with a one-time fixed cost and a guaranteed turn-around time in just weeks. From 2013 to 2022, EB5AN created 100+ regional centers with a 100% USCIS approval rate. Over the next several months, we will be working with many EB-5 industry regional center operators seeking redesignation of previously designated regional centers and new EB-5 program participants seeking completely new regional center designations.

On May 13, 2022, USCIS published the new Form I-956, Application for Regional Center Designation, to their website. Below is a summary of the content and the new requirements facing EB-5 industry participants seeking redesignation with the new Form I-956.

Applicants for regional center designation with Form I-956 must pay a one-time fee of $17,795.

From page 6 of the Instructions for Form I-956: 

The filing fee for Form I-956 is $17,795.

Entities previously designated as regional centers with Form I-924 will not receive any preferential treatment in terms of fees. All entities seeking EB-5 regional center designation must pay a one-time fee of $17,795, due upon submission of Form I-956 to USCIS.

The new regional center’s geographic area must be defined and justified.

From part 3 on page 3 of Form I-956: 

A regional center must operate within a defined, contiguous, and limited geographic area. Please describe this area, consistent with the purpose of concentrating pooled investment within such area. If filing an amendment to expand the geographic area of a regional center, you must describe both the currently approved geographic area and the area of requested change.

As with regional centers designated under the old program, new regional centers will have an approved geographic area. The design of Form I-956 suggests that a geographic area may be as large as multiple states or as small as a single census tract. Whatever the size of area, USCIS will require evidence that the regional center will create jobs throughout the region described in the applicant’s I-956 petition. For example, a regional center proposed to cover the entire state of California should have a credible business plan which describes EB-5 investment and resultant job creation across multiple areas of the state. The expert team at EB5AN can produce all the documentation required for a successful Form I-956 application.

To be approved for a new regional center, applicants must demonstrate a significant economic impact.

From part 4 on page 3 of Form I-956: 

You must demonstrate that the pooled investment will have a substantive economic impact on the proposed geographic area. This must include reasonable predictions, supported by economically and statistically valid and transparent forecasting tools, concerning the amount of investment that will be pooled, the kinds of commercial enterprises that will receive such investments, details of the jobs that will be created directly or indirectly as a result of such investments, and other positive economic effects such investments will have.

As with the previous I-924 petitions, applicants for regional center designations must prove that the proposed regional center will have a positive economic impact throughout the regional center’s requested geographic area. Form I-956 requires applicants to describe the kinds of commercial enterprises that will receive EB-5 investment, provide details of the jobs that will be created (directly or indirectly), and describe the other positive economic effects.

EB5AN recommends including one or more complete business plans and economic impact reports with Form I-956. The blank form and instructions are deceptively simple. The adjudicators at USCIS will want to see a credible business plan which meets all the requirements described in Matter of Ho along with an economic study which calculates direct and jobs using a valid methodology.

Form I-956 requires regional center applicants to have comprehensive policies and procedures for compliance with the strict new EB-5 program rules.

From part 5 on page 4 of Form I-956: 

Applicants must describe the policies and procedures in place reasonably designed to monitor new commercial enterprises and any associated job-creating entity to seek to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and Executive orders of the United States, including immigration, criminal, and securities laws, as well as all securities laws of the state where any securities offerings will be conducted, investment advice will be given, or the offerors or offerees reside.

As anticipated, applicants for regional center designation must have a policies and procedures manual which explains how proposed regional center will comply with the existing EB-5 program rules and the new requirements set forth in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.

Persons involved with regional centers must submit biometrics and pass a background investigation.

From part 7 on page 5 of Form I-956: 

You must identify all natural persons involved with the regional center. A person involved with the regional center entity includes any person in a position of substantive authority to make operational or managerial decisions over pooling, securitization, investment, release, acceptance, or control or use of any EB-5 capital from immigrant investors. An individual may be in a position of substantive authority if the person serves as a principal, a representative, an administrator, an owner, an officer, a board member, a manager, an executive, a general partner, a fiduciary, an agent, or in a similar position at the regional center.

Owners, officers, general partners, and other person in positions of “substantive authority” must be identified in the I-956 petition and must submit Form I-956H, Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional Center Program. EB5AN recommends submitting a Form I-956H for all persons who might be covered by this policy. Failure to include a person who is in a position of substantive authority, if later discovered by USCIS, could result in severe penalties, including termination of the regional center designation.

Anyone considering a new regional center application to keep in mind that the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 restricts participation in both regional centers and new commercial enterprises to U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents. Form I-956H asks the identified person’s status but the Instructions to Form I-956H does not state the eligibility standard set forth in the law.

USCIS has not given any indication of how long it will take to approve Form I-956 petitions.

If what’s past is prologue, applicants for regional center designation should not expect fast adjudications of I-956 petitions. Prior to the sunset of the previous regional center program, the processing time for Form I-924 was on average between 12 to 24 months. The speed of processing will depend in part on the resources USCIS devotes to new regional center applications. Given that there are currently no approved regional centers, there is reason to be hopeful that USCIS will move quickly. But there is no way to know for sure. EB5AN recommends submitting Form I-956 to USCIS as soon as possible. First in, first out.

Conclusion: it’s a clean slate and a new EB-5 regional center program with new rules, new forms, and new processes.

Form I-956 is not simply an updated Form I-924. The form’s design and instructions indicate that USCIS wants new regional centers to be focused on and committed to compliance with the myriad of regulations for the EB-5 program as well as demonstrate clear economic impact within the targeted geographic coverage area.

The team at EB5AN stands ready to help you navigate the new regulatory landscape and get approved quickly as a new EB-5 regional center with Form I-956.

Schedule a call with our team to learn about working with EB5AN to prepare a turnkey application with Form I-956 with a one-time fixed cost and a guaranteed turn-around time in just weeks.

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