Businesses that want to obtain EB-5 regional center status must file Form I-924 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, must be approved by the USCIS for a business entity to be designated as a regional center, enabling it to start receiving capital from foreign nationals for EB-5 projects.
In addition to serving as an application for a business to become designated as an EB-5 regional center, Form I-924 can be used to amend a regional center’s designation, which may involve changes to the regional center’s organizational structure or geographic scope. An I-924 can also be filed to obtain approval for an exemplar project.
Accompanying Documentation for Form I-924
Several documents must accompany an I-924 application to provide the necessary evidence to the USCIS that the business meets all the criteria for an EB-5 regional center and/or exemplar project. The exact documentation required will depend on the specifics of the application, but some general requirements are listed below.
Regional centers must specify the geographic scope of their activities, so an I-924 application must demonstrate through a detailed map the proposed area in which the regional center will operate.
The application for regional center designation must also be accompanied by a project (whether hypothetical, actual, or exemplar), and this project’s documentation will be used to demonstrate whether the regional center complies with the EB-5 program’s requirements for investments and employment creation. Accompanying documents may include a business plan, financial projections or pro formas, an economic report, securities documents, due diligence questionnaires, accredited investor questionnaires, subscription agreements, and documents pertaining to the structure of the new commercial enterprise.
Form I-924 must also be accompanied by a description of the anticipated promotional activities of the regional center. Specifically, this might include the marketing plan for attracting EB-5 investors, a proposed budget for marketing, evidence that funds have been allocated for promotion of the regional center, and any descriptions of past, present, or future promotional activities.
Because EB-5 capital must be lawfully obtained, Form I-924 must be accompanied by evidence for how the regional center applicant will ensure investors’ funds originate from lawful sources.
The I-924 application must be accompanied by any other documents necessary to prove that the regional center applicant will comply with all EB-5 regulations. Such documentation might include articles of incorporation for the regional center and affiliated new commercial enterprise, contracts or agreements made with other entities expected to engage in activities on the regional center’s behalf, and drafts of investment and escrow agreements.
Filing Form I-924
Typically, Form I-924 is filed by immigration attorneys, but many other professionals—economists, accountants, corporate and securities counsel, and business plan writers—are involved in the process. The USCIS fee for filing Form I-924 is $17,795.
This application is sent to the USCIS California Service Center. Generally, it takes four to 10 months for the USCIS to process Form I-924, but processing times vary. After the form is processed, the USCIS may still request additional information.
Once a business gains USCIS designation as a regional center, it must file Form I-924A each year to maintain this status.