Regional Center

Regional Center

       The 1993 Appropriations Act amended the EB-5 program to create the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which allowed foreign nationals to invest in an economic unit called a regional center. Regional centers promote economic growth, "including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment". Investments within a regional center provide foreign nationals the added benefit of allowing them to count jobs created both directly and indirectly for purposes of meeting the 10-job creation requirement. Regional centers help EB-5 investors and project developers because they reduce the difficulty of meeting qualifying job creation requirements.

Development History

       In 1994, the first two regional centers were established, and by 2007 there were sixteen. Because of the financial crisis, at the end of 2007, there were only 11 USCIS- approved regional centers. In 2008 the regional centers nearly doubled, and their numbers mushroomed since then. By May 1, 2017, there were 883 regional centers in the US. By 2015 the regional center program had generated billions of dollars for the government and created tens of thousands of jobs across the country. By 2015, regional center applications represented over 90% of all EB-5 investments.

Targeted Employment Area (TEA)

       A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is a region of the United States for which the threshold for investment for an investor to be eligible for the EB-5 visa is $500,000 (as opposed to the usual $1,000,000 limit for the US as a whole). There are two kinds of TEAs: high unemployment areas (defined as areas having unemployment more than 150% the national average calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and rural areas (defined as areas outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area).

Application Process