How do EB-5 regional center investors fulfill the program’s “active participation” requirement?

The main characteristic of the EB-5 visa program is the creation of jobs for people authorized to work in the United States. Foreign nationals raise capital to invest in either direct or regional center-sponsored projects and are required to assist in the operation of the new commercial enterprise (NCE). This is one of the regulations set forth by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a stipulation of the investor’s Form I-526 adjudication. For many investors, the EB5 investment serves as a pathway to U.S. permanent residency, and not as much as a vehicle for financial gain.

In direct investments, investors must take more of a managerial role and be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the NCE. This is a great option for investors who would prefer to take a more hands-on approach to their investment. One of the advantages of regional center investments, however, is that investors can sign on as limited partners. Project developers structure the NCE in such a way that investors are given certain rights and responsibilities—such as voting on important matters related to the business—but alleviates the need for them to be involved in the business’s daily operations. This limited partnership is enough to fulfill the active participation requirement.

There are more benefits to the regional center investment model than just avoiding daily managerial tasks. Investors are granted temporary residency for a period of two years, and during that time, they can work, study, and live in the United States. Investors are not required to live in the same state where their investment project is, giving them the freedom to explore the part of the country that most interests them to build their new life. Once an investor’s I-526 petition is adjudicated, permanent residency is granted not only for them but also for their immediate family members.