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EB-5 Question of the Week: What is Form I-956?

Form I-956 (Application for Regional Center Designation) must be submitted by all regional centers to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal immigration office of the United States. The purpose of Form I-956 is to receive designation as a regional center under Section 203(b)(5)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), or to request an amendment to an approved regional center designated under INA 203(b)(5)(E). Regional centers are economic units that pool EB-5 investors’ funds for the purpose of providing investment opportunities.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 as a way to boost the U.S. economy through the injection of foreign capital and the creation of jobs for U.S. persons. Through an investment of $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, foreign nationals can receive Green Cards for themselves and their qualifying dependents, including spouse and children under the age of 21. The investment amount is returned to the EB-5 investor after approximately five years of benefiting the U.S. economy.

There are two routes through which investors may participate in the EB-5 program and qualify for a Green Card, namely through the direct route as a standalone investor or through the regional center route. The regional center route is preferred by most EB-5 investors given its many benefits, including but not limited to the ease and hassle free application process, freedom to choose the physical place of residence in the United States upon receiving a Green Card, higher chances of approval by USCIS, and greater flexibility.

With passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in March 2022, the U.S. government increased oversight over regional center operations and heightened the security of the program for foreign investors. This heightened government oversight has increased the security of regional center investments for foreign applicants. One of the requirements is the submission of Form I-956 (Application for Regional Center Designation) to USCIS.

Form I-956 (Application for Regional Center Designation) is a 12-page application form, which requires information about the regional center such as the legal name, organizational structure, establishment date, and contact information. Given that a regional center must operate within a defined, contiguous, and limited geographic area, Form I-956 requires a description of the geographic area in which the regional center operates. The form also requires information on the substantive economic impact on the geographic area of the regional center, which must include reasonable predictions, supported by economically and statistically valid and transparent forecasting tools. Additionally, the form requires information about the policies and procedures in place to monitor the activities of new commercial enterprises and job-creating entities to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

With over 600 designated regional centers, it is important to find the right regional center for your investment. In addition to considering the number of projects hosted by the regional center, approval ratings, percentage of successful projects, and the return of investor funds, an applicant must ensure that a regional center is in compliance with all legal requirements. It is crucial to consult with industry experts prior to making a decision.

Thanks to our vast experience in the EB-5 industry, our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals at The American Legal Center have developed strong relationships with top regional centers operating in the United States. We are ready to assist you with your migration journey to the United States. If you are interested in finding out more about the EB-5 program, contact our team today for a free consultation. 

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