What the RC program deadline means

This blog is not the place for hot takes, so I will wait to report in detail on regional center authorization status and implications going forward. But I’m getting showered in marketing emails that imply that filing a regional center I-526 before June 30 will allow investors to beat the regional center program deadline and its consequences. For the sake of program integrity, I would like to repeat a paragraph from preeminent EB-5 authority Robert Divine in the article “The problem with EB-5’s reliance on temporary legislation.”

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE EB-5 PROGRAM DOESN’T GET REAUTHORIZED?

The shocking reality is that expiration of the program without renewal would invalidate the immigration processing of every regional center investor who has not already been admitted to the U.S. as a conditional permanent resident, even if they already have filed their I-526 or have an approved I-526 and is waiting for a visa number or processing.  That would affect as many as 100,000 investors who have already placed their capital in a project and who might remain stuck in the investment while losing all immigration benefits.  The investors would not be able to “change gears” to try to count only the direct operational jobs of the project (if there would be any) if they invested through an NCE separate from a JCE (extremely typical). 

USCIS probably would hold I-526 petitions in abeyance for several months waiting for a retroactive legislative solution, but eventually if that solution did not come, USCIS would deny all pending I-526 petitions and revoke all I-526 approvals for all investors who had not already been admitted to conditional permanent residence.  Affected investors might bring lawsuits against USCIS arguing that the expiration of legislation should only be prospective, but that would be an uphill battle. Investors who already were admitted as conditional residents would not be affected and would be able to file I-829 petitions to remove conditions.

[Update: see also Mr. Divine’s follow-up article “A swirl of EB-5 Developments”]

This tough reality needs to be disclosed and accounted for in today’s decisions, and motivate how hard we work to get authorizing legislation as soon as possible. I 100% agree with Mr. Divine that “Congress should at least provide that the regional center legislation in effect at the time an investor files Form I-526 will remain in place throughout those waits until the investor can remove conditions on permanent residence through adjudication of Form I-829.” It’s a pity that such a provision does not exist yet, and a shame when promoters pretend that it does. As Mr. Divine notes in his article “Given how much the EB-5 investments have benefitted regional economies all over the U.S., it seems unlikely that Congress will let the regional center program expire, but in the next renewal Congress should eliminate the nagging worry that investors must face when considering whether to invest in the program.”

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

17 Responses to What the RC program deadline means

  1. John says:

    The EB-5 program is not for the faint of heart, Suzanne. Definitely not. Investors must cultivate the virtue of resilience to stay sane throughout the journey. I invested half a million dollars in December 2014, months before the several recurring sunset dates. December 2017 (exactly 3 years later), I was given the two-year conditional green card and relocated to the US. I have applied to remove conditions on Permanent Resident Status as soon as legally allowed i.e. September 2019.
    With an expired green card and a expired 18-month green card extension letter, living a regular life in the US has become a challenge. You simply cannot demonstrate that you are in the country legally. Think about the implications: job, traveling outside the US, college for your kids, etc… the only way out is to try to get an extension stamp on your passport at a USCIS office which is not an easy task. Best case scenario indicates that I still have 18 months until I get conditions removed. Funds are still invested.
    Simple measures like a new extension letter, recognizing USCIS current processing times would be a game changer… but no one seems to care.
    The bottom line is that I would have done it all over again given the poor conditions of my home country and the opportunity my kids have in America. Still, in my mind, the EB-5 program and its investors are, unfortunately, not appreciated.

    • Darshan says:

      Its a tough going indeed. I am halfway through where you are (485 pending) and can see what a long road it is. One question. Can you clarify why your funds are still invested? I am assuming the investment has not reached maturity date. Otherwise, it is my understanding that you can withdraw capital after 829 filing and do not need to wait for 829 approval.

      • John says:

        Each individual project dictates how long the money needs to be invested for.
        In 2014, available projects were for 6.5 years. I have some friends that have invested in 5-year projects more recently. You would need to review offering documentation to confirm yours.
        Lastly, it was only recently that USCIS provided more specific guidance around sustainment period and redeployment of capital. Until that moment, regional centers and immigration lawyers strongly recommended to leave funds at risk until I-829 approval. It is now clear that funds could be released right after the 2-year conditional permanent residency period. Still, you would need to reconcile that date with the exit strategy and details of your individual project.

    • Roberto Virga says:

      Conditions in my country are not poor. Moreover, as a EU citizen, there’s a long list of other nice countries where I can become permanent resident by just moving there, no need to file any paperwork or to ask anybody for permission.
      In February 2018 I applied to the EB-5 because, having lived for some time there as a student, I had fond memories of the US and wanted to live there again. I now deeply regret that decision. I won’t get my investment money back until at least 2024, so there is no point in withdrawing my application, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do it again.

      • Kim says:

        Roberto Virga: just out of curiosity, would you mind if I ask what stage you are at (e.g. waiting for I-526 adjudication, I-485 adjudication, etc)? I am waiting for I-485 adjudication.

  2. RM Lokesh says:

    Hi suzzane,

    Will the Eb-5 regional center Expire? Will the regional center be reauthorized before June 30?

    Will it be only a short term lapse? if it lapses will it be atleast 6 months to be reauthorized?

    please do let us know

    what happens to the pending i526 filed in regional center?

    What happens to pending i526 filed as direct eb5?

    any updates on how Uscis will process the applications?

    • Kim says:

      The only question that anyone can answer with 100% certainty is that direct EB-5 petitions will be fine regardless of reauthorization. Reauthorization before June 30 is looking impossible given that the Senate is going into recess. Other than that, we are in uncharted territory. I’ve been watching every webinar I can attend, and one regional center noted that we are all “looking into crystal balls” which pretty much sums it up.

  3. Kim says:

    As an investor with pending I-485, this has got to be one of the most stressful situations I’ve experienced in my life (and that’s saying something). Lots of finger-pointing seems to be going on but honestly I’m just aggravated by everyone involved in the reauthorization process. RCs, IIUSA, EB-5IC, any entity that has influence and is refusing to compromise — nobody’s hands are clean here, from where I’m standing. The mud-slinging I’m seeing in some quarters is getting tiresome, and gives me no confidence that a reasonable solution can be reached in a timely manner. I’m also starting to suspect that some industry actors would prefer to have the EB-5 program suspended indefinitely rather than have to function under conditions they consider onerous. Granted that last point is pure speculation, but it’s hard not to become paranoid in a situation like this with so little transparency.

    All that considered, I really appreciate your perspective Suzanne. Not only is your analysis fair and even-handed, you are the only industry actor I can see who has persistently spoken out in support of existing investors and their concerns. Thank you very much for all the time and energy you put into this blog.

  4. RM Lokesh says:

    Hi suzzane,

    From my understanding of reading the blog and comments from different people , I see that the regional center program will expire/lapse after June 30. The reauthorization of regional center program looks impossible before June 30.

    how long will the lapse be? Will it be a short term lapse or long term lapse?

    if its a short term lapse? how long will that be?

    If its a long term lapse? how long will that be?

    Post June 30th 2021, how will USCIS process the pending I526 of Direct EB-5?

    When will we hear from USCIS? After June 30th or before that?

    Please do let us know.

  5. veedster says:

    Thank you for tell the truth as it is. I too have gotten so many EB5 investment promotions from companies that I have been in touch with before I made the investment. No one is telling the client the impending sunset on the 30th of June. Lawyers and promoters are busy collecting legal fees and $50k administration fees, on top of the $500K. They are like pigs at the trough right now.

  6. Don says:

    Let’s talk probabilities, not absolutes.

    As the lawyer Divine points out, there are 100,000 investors now in limbo, if they do not reauthorize in some form, or pass legislation (S.831 or something else)
    $ 500,000 X 100,000 = $50,000,000,000. That is $50 billion folks.

    “As Mr. Divine notes in his article “Given how much the EB-5 investments have benefitted regional economies all over the U.S., it seems unlikely that Congress will let the regional center program expire,………”

    Nonrenewal means a loss of an enormous inflow of funds (at zero interest) into the USA, at a time when they need all the money they can get their hands on. (Covid, Restarting the economy and the infrastructure bill) Also, it will send the wrong message to the world, that the USA is not a safe place to invest in, where promises are not kept.

    Perhaps this will be tethered to the new infrastructure bill…or something. It will be back on because it only makes economic and political sense.

  7. veedster says:

    Let’s talk probabilities, not absolutes.

    As the lawyer Divine points out, there are 100,000 investors now in limbo, if they do not reauthorize in some form, or pass legislation (S.831 or something else)
    $ 500,000 X 100,000 = $50,000,000,000. That is $50 billion folks.

    “As Mr. Divine notes in his article “Given how much the EB-5 investments have benefitted regional economies all over the U.S., it seems unlikely that Congress will let the regional center program expire,………”

    Nonrenewal means a loss of an enormous inflow of funds (at zero interest) into the USA, at a time when they need all the money they can get their hands on. (Covid, Restarting the economy and the infrastructure bill) Also, it will send the wrong message to the world, that the USA is not a safe place to invest in, where promises are not kept.

    Perhaps this will be tethered to the new infrastructure bill…or something. It will be back on because it only makes economic and political sense.

  8. kjav says:

    Investors can join the telegram group – https://t.me/EB5VisaGroup

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