The EB-5 Integrity Fund (the Fund) is a special fund established pursuant to the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA), the new EB-5 legislation which was signed into law in March 2022 and became effective in May 2022. The Fund will be used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to administer the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Pursuant to the RIA, USCIS must collect a fee from each designated regional center to finance the EB-5 Integrity Fund.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program allows foreign investors to obtain U.S. Green Cards for themselves and their qualifying dependents, including spouse and children under 21 years of age, with a minimum investment of $800,000 in a project sponsored by a regional center. A regional center is an economic unit designated by USCIS that pools investments of EB-5 investors to meet various investment and job creation requirements.
On March 1, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a notice on the Federal Register with information about the EB-5 Integrity Fund. The DHS notice outlines that starting on March 2, 2023, USCIS will collect an annual fee from each designated regional center for the purpose of the EB-5 Integrity Fund. Regional centers with more than 20 investors must pay $20,000 to the Fund and regional centers with 20 or fewer investors must pay $10,000 to the Fund. The Fund fee for fiscal year 2023 is due by April 1, 2023.
Pursuant to the RIA, regional centers that fail to pay the Fund fee within 90 days of the due day, will be subject to termination. The notice provides information on the termination procedure, which will not be automatic. Regional centers that have failed to make timely payment of the fee will be provided a notice of intent to terminate and will be given an opportunity to show that the fee was paid. For fiscal year 2023, USCIS will maintain the statutory 90-day termination period and will not begin taking steps to terminate a regional center until May 31, 2023. For all subsequent years, USCIS will take steps to terminate regional centers that have not paid the Fund fee by December 31 of such fiscal year.
DHS will use the EB-5 Integrity Fund for the following purposes:
- To conduct investigations based outside of the U.S., such as monitoring and investigating EB-5 related events and promotional activities and ensuring that investors’ funds originate from a lawful source and through lawful means,
- To detect and investigate fraud or other crimes,
- To determine whether regional centers, new commercial enterprises, job-creating entities, and immigrant investors (and their eligible spouses and children) comply with U.S. immigration laws,
- To conduct audits and site visits, and
- To conduct other activities that DHS deems necessary.
The DHS notice also points out that beginning on October 1, 2022, USCIS began collecting a $1,000 Integrity Fund Fee from each investor filing Form I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor).
The EB-5 Integrity Fund is an added layer of protection for foreign investors in knowing that the U.S. government is exercising its oversight powers over the EB-5 program to ensure that there is no fraud or criminal activity. By virtue of such government oversight, the EB-5 program has become a safer option for families.
If you are interested in finding out more about the EB-5 program, contact our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals today for a free consultation.