The EB-5 program allows investors from all over the world to receive a Green Card through investment in the USA. Two options exist: First, you can create your own new commercial enterprise which will meet the criteria of Immigration services; Second, you could invest with an established, government-approved Regional Center.
The vast majority of investors choose investment through Regional Centers, because it is a much easier process to navigate, capital is more secure, and the approval rates with USCIS are much higher.
When an investor decides that they want to proceed with a Regional Center investment, the next and most important question is how to find a good one?
It is not an easy task to accomplish, especially considering the surprising fact that such a significant program in the US Immigration system has so few tools to help foreign investors.
The most common question we receive from investors at the beginning stage of the process is whether or not there are any official reviews or ratings posted about Regional Centers, and the answer to that is, surprisingly, no. Further, there is very little third-party unbiased data about Regional Center statistics, as this information is not shared publicly.
However, there is an official resource on the USCIS website with a list of all Regional Centers which have an active license. You can find the list here.
According to this page, as of 25 October, 2021, there were 632 approved Regional Centers for the EB-5 program. However, the majority of these Regional Centers do not list any active projects, nor do they confirm if they are currently active with approval from USCIS after the re-authorization of the program. The idea of going through the list of Regional Centers and contacting each of them to check if they have anything available for investment is, for the typical EB-5 client, simply ridiculous.
What are the other options available to you? If you do a simple Google search, you may find a few Regional Centers which look reasonable, but you will soon realize that you may not be finding the best projects for your interests, – after all, paid content and the most popular results are not always the best fit for your specific needs!
Another strategy is to go to financial or legal advisors or brokers who are licensed in the USA, and we have had some clients who have taken this route before approaching us. The results were that they got a handful of projects that were connected to the advisor or broker by personal or financial relationships. As this is not their main field of expertise, they can only give clients a limited amount of support, and few options for investment.
There are a few communities you may work with to find the options, such as IIUSA and EB5 advisors, but they do not work directly with investors. Despite that, you may get some names and some reference points to start evaluating the options available to you, but the results will depend on how well you can interact with the community.
Another option is to ask your immigration lawyer for a recommendation and here we came to a gray area. Legally, immigration lawyers are not allowed to recommend a Regional Center as it may be considered as investment advice and immigration lawyers are not licensed to provide that.
Second Wind, a different resource in your search for a trusted Regional Center. We are located outside of the USA and we work regularly with foreign investors, so we are legally allowed to assist you with choosing between available projects. We will give you a choice of at least 10 projects from the available Regional Centers, and those choices will have successful track records for investors. We will connect investors to the Regional Centers directly, helping them to understand the EB-5 portion of the deal. We leave the final decision on particular investment details to our clients, as they can review those on their own or consult with their own long-term investment advisors.
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