The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has tightened its regulations, and with the new regulations comes an unprecedentedly high rate of regional center terminations. 2019 saw the termination of 75 regional centers, hardly offset by the approval of a mere six. This represents only the second year since 2008 where more regional centers were terminated than approved, and it is the only year where dramatically more centers were terminated than approved.
This massive drop represents a 6.5% reduction in the nation-wide number of EB-5 regional centers, placing the number at 822. In pure numbers, there were fewer centers terminated in 2019 than in 2018, which witnessed a record high at 130, but the large number of approvals left 2018 with an overall 2% increase.
The trends are alarming, with 80% of all regional center terminations since 2008 having taken place between 2017 and 2019. In contrast, only 20% of all approvals took place during this three-year period.
Extraordinarily Long Processing Times
Exacerbating the problem are the increasingly long processing times to become a USCIS-approved regional center. From seven to nine months in 2010, the times jumped to 16–20 months in 2018 and a startling 54–90 months in 2019. Given these extraordinarily long processing times, the growth rate of the number of regional centers is poised to remain low at best and negative at worst.
High-Quality EB-5 Regional Centers
The rapidly decreasing number of EB-5 regional centers makes investment riskier for EB-5 investors. If the regional center an investor works with loses EB-5 regional center status, the investor’s EB-5 visa could be ruined. That is why, to safeguard their investments and maximize the chances of success for their investment project, it is important for investors to affiliate with high-quality, reputable EB-5 regional centers, such as those run by EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN).
EB5 Affiliate Network runs 14 EB-5 regional centers across the US, with coverage of more than 20 states as well as Washington, D.C. To cover the remaining states, EB5AN maintains an extensive affiliate network with reputable EB-5 regional centers to ensure that investors have access to reliable assistance for their EB-5 investment journey, offering investors the ability to locate affiliated regional center sponsors through a search feature. As business experts with years of experience working with USCIS, the EB5AN team knows how to maintain USCIS approval to protect their clients and their investments.
In short, while the current termination trends may be alarming, EB-5 investors need not fret so long as they select their EB-5 regional center affiliation carefully. While many centers are being shut down, those that rigorously adhere to the USCIS guidelines are not in danger, and investors can invest safely through these centers. EB5 Affiliate Network is one of the largest EB-5 regional center affiliation networks in the country, and their extensive experience with the USCIS ensures the quality and continued existence of their many regional centers, ensuring a fruitful experience for the 1500+ investors who choose to work with them.