*BREAKING NEWS* EB-5 REGIONAL CENTER PROGRAM IS FINALLY BACK
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) was signed into law on March 15, 2022, to reauthorize the regional center program. In an unforeseen circumstance, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prevented this from occurring by decertifying every previously approved EB-5 Regional Center and requiring them to refile for designation.
In response to this, a lawsuit was brought by industry leaders and Regional Centers that prohibited USCIS from decertifying all regional centers. As a result of weeks of negotiation with USCIS, a Settlement Agreement was achieved.
Some key highlights of the Settlement are as follows:
All regional centers that were designated regional centers prior to the passage of the RIA remain designated regional centers. This codifies and makes permanent the nationwide preliminary injunction.
All designated regional centers must file form I-956 by December 29, 2022, if they want to continue to do business under the RIA. Previously approved regional centers can continue to proceed with filing project applications and having investors file I-526E petitions both before December 29 and while the I-956 application is pending.
All designated Regional centers can proceed to file form I-956F for any projects for which they will be seeking investors. Investors do not have to wait for approval of form I-956F before filing their petitions.
Form I-526E can be filed by an investor upon the occurrence of the earliest of any of the following:
Issuance of a receipt notice for form I-956F from USCIS;
Issuance of a lockbox notice for form I-956F from USCIS; or
Within 10 calendar days of delivery of form I-956F to USCIS with proof of cashed check or credit card charge for the I-956F.
USCIS will undertake “best faith efforts” to allow for lockbox notice receipts to be returned through a pre-paid returned overnight courier envelope.
In adjudicating form I-956 applications, USCIS will give deference to its previous approval of the form I-924, regional center designation, under the prior law. If a regional center in its I-956 filing is seeking an expanded or different geographical area, deference will be given to the remainder of the I-956 application. However, the expanded regional center geographic designation will not be effective until it is approved.
In adjudicating form I-956F for regional center projects that had previously been approved as exemplars under the prior law, USCIS will give deference to its prior approval.
If a regional center chooses not to file form I-956 in order to do business under the RIA, such failure, by itself, will not be a basis to deny the I-526 investor petitions for grandfathered, pre-RIA investors in a project under the jurisdiction of that regional center.
USCIS will update its website regarding the terms of this Settlement Agreement within 21 days.
Review Settlement Agreement, here.