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Can an EB-5 investor invest in a regional center project that has already started?

Yes, as long as a project remains open to EB-5 investment, an EB-5 investor may invest in that project. While most good regional center projects close out quickly, openings may be created due to certain circumstances, such as an investor backing out or not meeting the investment requirements. When investing in such projects, foreign nationals should examine the regional center carefully and retain an experienced immigration attorney.

It is particularly important for foreign nationals to do research on the regional center that sponsors a potential project. Every regional center should be officially designated as such by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The regional center should be willing to provide copies of its official designation letter and its I-924A filing receipt. If a foreign national invests in a project sponsored by a regional center that is not officially designated by USCIS, they will be ineligible for an EB-5 visa.

Foreign nationals should also examine the regional center’s owners. Reliable regional centers are operated by experienced professionals who have worked at renowned financial and consulting firms. These individuals must be skilled at managing international securities offerings. If a regional center has a history of I-526 or I-829 petition denials, it is most likely unable to comply with USCIS guidelines. Even newer regional centers should have a clean track record without visa petition denials.

Regarding their immigration risk, foreign nationals should make sure that the potential project has a contingency plan in the case of an EB-5 investment capital shortfall. This is a critical aspect to look out for; the most reliable EB-5 projects are likely to be completed even if they do not obtain all their planned funding. For instance, projects may have an initial bridge loan. Moreover, the developer cash should be irrevocably committed to the project. Projects that are well under construction are especially trustworthy.