REGIONAL CENTER IMMIGRANT INVESTOR PROGRAM
The EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program (“Pilot Program”) is a federal government program managed by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”). The Pilot Program permits an investor, his or her spouse, and unmarried children under age 21, to become lawful permanent residents of the US (i.e. obtain “green card” status).
Under the Program, the USCIS pre-authorizes EB-5 Regional Centers (“Regional Centers”) to raise capital from foreign investors as a pooled investment for investment projects the parameters of which have been reviewed by USCI prior to sale to investors.
LANSING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (LEDC) REGIONAL CENTER
In 2010, The LEDC Regional Center was approved by the USCIS, a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security, to raise capital via the EB-5 program. Congress created the EB-5 program to stimulate economic development through foreign investment. The program’s mandate is to use foreign investment to spur job creation while simultaneously affording eligible foreign investors the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents of the United States. The Lansing Regional Center is first and only municipally managed Regional Center in Michigan. Currently, all investments must be made within the City of Lansing's boundaries.
Since its designation by USCIS, the LEDC Regional Center has worked closely with the City and private developers, to provide loans for real estate projects in the City of Lansing that create jobs in areas of high unemployment.
STRONGER TOGETHER: AN EFFECTIVE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
Under the leadership of Mayor Virg Bernero, The City of Lansing’s Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) created the Lansing Regional Center, which is managed and operated by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). The LEDC contracts with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, a nationally renowned economic development organization, to manage the LEDC Regional Center. This structure provides EB-5 investors and their development partners with several unique advantages:
- Shared Risk - The City of Lansing often co-invests directly in the LEDC Regional Center projects through tax abatements, grants, brownfield tax increment financing, and other programs. These investment resources are administered by LEAP and approved by the Lansing City Council in partnership with Mayor Virg Bernero.
- Leadership – Under the leadership of Mayor Virg Bernero, LEAP works closely with the Mayor’s Executive Team to expedite the necessary zoning and site plan approvals to keep the project on schedule. Timing is everything.
- Reputation – LEAP has access to proprietary sources of potential EB-5 transactions and investors. Through the Lansing Regional Center partnership, these opportunities are pooled, and LEAP selects only one out of every 25 potential transactions to evaluate through the LEDC Regional Center. With every LEDC Regional Center investment, the reputations of the EB-5 Investor, the City of Lansing, and LEAP are at stake. We are selective and all our reputations depend on it.
- Family – We are not naive, we understand that this is a real estate business transaction. However, we also recognize that EB-5 investors are often looking to secure citizenship for themselves and loved ones. So the success of the development means a lot more than a rate of return, it’s tied to the aspirations of the EB-5 investor and their family.
Both LEAP and the City are deeply committed to the LEDC Regional Center’s success.
KEY REQUIREMENTS OF EB-5 VISA PETITIONS
Certain key requirements for a successful EB-5 visa petition are stated below:
- Accredited Investor under Securities and Exchange Commission Rules: In general, the potential investor must have a net worth of over $1 million, or, alternatively, must have made over $200,000 per year for the past several years.
- Minimum Capital Investment of $500,000 to $1,000,000: Investments of $500,000 (US currency) are permitted only if the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is an area located within a TEA defined rural area or an area of high unemployment.
- USCIS Analysis of Source of Funds: Invested funds must be obtained lawfully. Detailed evidence of lawful source of funds is essential to the investment process.
- At Risk Funds: US law requires that all of an investor’s funds invested in an EB-5 Regional Center must be at risk of loss, and be applied to generate jobs and profit.
- Job Creation Requirement: The investment of each EB-5 investor must create ten (10) full-time jobs for US workers in a period of two years from the date of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident. Investments in EB-5 Regional Centers are allowed the important benefit of being able to count new jobs created directly or indirectly.
- Management: The EB-5 program requires that each investor be an “active participant” in the management of the commercial enterprise in which he or she invests. Daily management of the investment project is undertaken by the management of the Regional Center. Limited partnerships and certain limited liability companies have generally been recognized as appropriate investment vehicles under the EB-5 program.
PROCESS FOR EB-5 VISA PETITIONS
Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident status as an EB-5 investor includes several stages. Immigrant investor petitions are complex. US law and practice regarding EB-5 visas may change rapidly. Hiring experienced EB-5 attorneys is important to the success of your petition.
Step 1: Background Analysis and Due Diligence
Potential investors in the LEDC Regional Center must undertake extensive analysis and research into the financial projections of the project; the structure of the project, and the management team that will manage the asset. The success of the project is a key factor in the ability of the investor to satisfy the job creation requirements of the EB-5 visa program.
Step 2.1: Form I-526 Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur
The preparation and filing of Form I-526 Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur (“I-526”) is the first step in obtaining Lawful Permanent Residence under the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program. The I-526 visa petition is filed with USCIS. The I-526 visa petition requires extensive and detailed documents regarding the investment, and evidence of the clear and legitimate source of funds and the identity of the investor.
Step 2.2: Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing
If the I-526 visa petition is approved, then the Investor will advance to the next step, which involves applying to enter the US as a conditional Lawful Permanent Resident. This can be achieved through two procedures: Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status. Consular Processing refers to cases where the immigrant investor and family are living overseas and apply for conditional Lawful Permanent Resident status by scheduling a visa appointment before a US Consulate abroad. Visa scheduling is made through the US Department of State. Adjustment of Status refers to cases where the immigrant investor and family are lawfully residing in the US, and apply to USCIS for approval to their conditional LPR status without having to leave the US.
The investor’s immediate family can join the investor in applying to enter the US as Lawful Permanent Residents. Immediate Family means the investor, and only his or her spouse, and their qualifying unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Step 3: Conditional Lawful Permanent Resident Status
The Lawful Permanent Resident status of EB-5 investors and his or her family is conditional because it lasts 2 years from the date the person was admitted to the US as a Lawful Permanent Resident. During the 2 years conditional Lawful Permanent Residency period, the investor and his family must principally reside in the United States. They have the right of enjoying the rights of all Lawful Permanent Residents to live wherever they want, to work for whatever company they desire, to pursue studies, or pursue other opportunities.
Step 4: I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions
During the ninety (90) days before the 2nd anniversary of the investor’s Lawful Permanent Resident status, the investor must file a 2nd application with USCIS on Form I-829 Petition By Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (“I-829”). The I-829 petition focuses on proving that the investment has been maintained, was used for a job creating purpose, and that it has created the expected 10 new full-time jobs.
Once conditional Lawful Permanent Resident status has been converted into unconditional Lawful Permanent Resident status, the residence status of the investor and his or her family becomes permanent in duration with conditions.
If the I-829 petition is not filed, or is filed and is not approved, then the immigrant investor and his or her family lose their Lawful Permanent Resident status, and must either obtain another immigration status or depart from the US.
This document is for information purposes only. The information contained in this document should not be misconstrued as legal advice. No action should be taken regarding an EB-5 visa without guidance from an immigration attorney experienced in EB-5 visas. Any person claiming to be working with or on the behalf of the LEDC Regional Center must have an Authorized Letter of Intent. Any issued Authorized Letter of Intent is only valid for 180 days from the date of issuance. If you have any questions about the legitimacy of a Letter of Intent, please don’t hesitate to contact the Lansing Regional Center.
Contact the Lansing Regional Center
If you are interested in exploring the opportunities that exist for you in Lansing, please contact Steven Willobee, President & CEO of the LEDC Regional Center and COO for LEAP, at (517) 388-1947 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org