Comments on the new Form I-956 Application for Regional Center

As of this week “EB-5 2.0” has officially launched, with a new regional center program authorized since May 14, 2022. Now that 60 days have passed since enactment, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (“RIA”) has taken full effect. New regional center I-526 still cannot be filed, and none of the USCIS EB-5 pages or policies or petitions have yet been updated with the rules now in effect. But one EB-5 2.0 process is moving: entities can begin to apply for new regional center designation.

On Friday, USCIS published Form I-956 Application for Regional Center Designation and the associated Form I-956H Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional Center Program on the USCIS website Forms section.

Form I-956 asks open-ended questions, and provides minimal instructions. I-956 requests less evidence than the previous I-924 Application for Regional Center – whether intentionally or not, it’s hard to tell. I foresee that 100% of Form I-956 submissions will receive a Request for Evidence, given the minimal instructions. Until we start seeing RFEs from USCIS, we need to guess at how USCIS interprets new regional center designation requirements. I wonder if USCIS has drafted the Form I-956 worksheet for adjudicators, and what’s on that worksheet. If only USCIS would tell the public what’s on its adjudication checklists, then we might make submissions correct and complete the first time. The guess-question-clarification process is inefficient, and the regional center program does not have years to waste.

Top Takeaways from Form I-956 Application for Regional Center

  1. What’s New: I-956 and I-956H are almost entirely language copied straight from the RIA text, without interpretation or comment. The I-956 instructions offer one item of additional guidance: “The description [of policies and procedures] may include, but is not limited to, the regional center’s policies and procedures regarding internal controls, risk management and assessment, governance, and fraud detection and/or deterrence. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, Policy Manuals and Standard Operating Procedures.” I-956 offers no comment on what USCIS considers to be the specific “applicable laws” and “program requirements” for which applicants should provide policies and procedures.
  2. Evidence Required: Form I-956 specifies little required evidence. While the old Form I-924 Application for Regional Center had a seven-point list of “evidence you must submit,” Form I-956 has mostly open-ended questions, and says ”may provide” more often than “must submit.”  An applicant following the letter of the I-956 instructions (and interpreting “should” as closer to “may” than “must”) could technically submit I-956 with the form blanks completed but no exhibits whatsoever beyond copies of the Form I-956H for persons involved. As an applicant I’d be tempted to go for a minimal initial filing, considering that I can hardly avoid an RFE in any case, given the vague and minimal instructions provided upfront.
  3. RC History: Form I-956 implies that USCIS has no interest in and attaches no relevance to the applicant’s previous history of regional center designation. I-956 asks only forward-looking questions. I-956 gives no space to provide information about any prior regional center designation, good or bad history of promoting economic growth as a previously-designed regional center, previously-approved geographic scope, in-progress EB-5 projects, or EB-5 funds currently under management.  There’s no indication in I-956 that USCIS has any plan to link designation and investors under the new law with designation and investors under the old law. The I-924 had required disclosing the applicant’s previous regional center termination and denial history, and prohibited use of names that duplicated pre-existing RC names, but the I-956 lacks even this.
  4. Geographic Area: Form I-956 is less specific than I-924 about regional center geographic area and economic impact. I-956 says generally “You should provide evidence that the regional center’s pooled investment will have a substantive economic impact on the proposed geographic area,” and asks for “reasonable predictions” supported by economic impact analysis. But it does not define “substantive impact” or request project-specific basis for predictions. By contrast, Form I-924 required the applicant to base economic impact analysis on business plan inputs, and to show “that the boundaries of the regional center are reasonable based on evidence that the proposed area is contributing significantly to the supply chain and labor pool of the proposed new commercial enterprises.” Either USCIS was careless in writing I-956, or it now has a looser/more open-ended standard than before for geographic area requests. It may be that by separating regional center designation from NCE/project approvals, USCIS has blocked itself from demanding project-specific grounding for regional center impact claims. If that’s the case, surely all applicants will submit theoretic cases for sprawling multi-state geographies.
  5. Organizational Evidence: The “who are you” questions in Form I-956 are limited to identifying the legal name of the regional center entity and the identities of persons involved with the regional center. Unlike I-924, Form I-956 does not specifically request the regional center’s formation documents, Operating Agreement, or management agreements. I-956H requests personal identity detail needed to check for law/rule violations, but not any of the business experience or professional track record detail that a banker or investor would want to know about persons involved.  This may or may not be an oversight.
  6. Business Plans: The “what will you do” questions in Form I-956 are limited to compliance policies and theoretic economic impact predictions. I-956 does not specifically ask the applicant for any kind of business plan, either for regional center operations or to support economic activity projections. (By contrast, I-924 required an Operational Plan and Plan of Promotion to describe how the regional center would operate and support its operations, and project business plans to provide reasonable real-world inputs to support impact analysis. The I-956 silence on business planning may or may not be an oversight. Surely such detail should still be relevant for designation.)
  7. Further Guidance: The I-956 instructions promise that “The approval notice will provide information about the responsibilities and obligations of your USCIS designated regional center. It will also list the evidence to submit in support of regional center-associated individual EB-5 petitions, as well as details on the reporting and oversight requirements for regional centers.” Why not disclose the approval notice template upfront, USCIS, so that applicants can shape their plans around these requirements?
  8. NCE Approval Form: The Form I-956H Instructions reveal that USCIS has chosen a name for the yet-to-be-published project approval form that needs to be filed before regional center investors can start filing I-526. The application for NCE approval will be called Form I-956F. (In the old days, applicants could file for regional center designation and exemplar project approval at the same time using the same I-924, but now the process has two separate and consecutive forms.)
  9. Timing: I foresee significant processing times for Form I-956 (given the back-and-forth that will result from the open-ended questions and minimal instructions), and for I-956H (given the number of agencies that USCIS will need to coordinate with to perform security checks). I will be pleasantly surprised if the first new regional center gets designated before 2023, and astonished if all I-956 filed in the next few weeks get adjudicated before 2025. [Update: The May 18 Declaration of Alissa Emmel in the Behring lawsuit states that: “IPO … as of this date has received approximately 8 applications. …While every application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, IPO aims for its processing times on Form I-956 applications to meet or exceed the statutory goal of 180 days.”] I very much hope that the first applicants to receive RFEs will be public-spirited and share the RFEs with the rest of the community. The more guidance we can extract from USCIS, the more we’ll be able to improve application quality and speed up the adjudication process for everyone.
  10.  Caution: Historically, an EB-5 document requirement will spark a cottage industry of chancers who smell profit in producing documents with the right title on a nice cover and any old filler shoved under the cover. Thus the proliferation of shoddy economic impact reports, business plans, and offering documents in EB-5.  I suggest, look closely at anyone who offers to relieve you of thousands of dollars in exchange for documents with covers that that say “Policy Manuals” and “Standard Operating Procedures.” If there isn’t an EB-5-experienced securities attorney involved in drafting and signing off on the content, consider only paying what the cover is worth. USCIS adjudicators may have little way to judge compliance policies but by the cover, and might possibly just rubber stamp whatever gets submitted. But even better for regional center applicants to invest in solid content, especially in the sensitive area of securities compliance.

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

12 Responses to Comments on the new Form I-956 Application for Regional Center

  1. As usual Suzanne, you are way ahead of the curve. You know of our RC and probably suspect what some of my first “imaginings” will be.

    For one, the Loosey Goosey nature of the processes you’ve so clearly described gives rise to USCIS’ possible, indiscriminate issuance of RFEs and their renewed reign of terror and unfettered control over RCs. With little or no oversight by the community that USCIS is chartered to serve, the agency can pester, through adjudication and machination, whatever RCs they choose to discipline and control … pester them into an agonizingly prolonged death and or destruction. Factor in the predilections, preferences, and levels of expertise or lack thereof among individual adjudicators, and hell on Earth will continue to reign for RCs.

    We have been a squeaky clean RC since birth and now find that to be not good enough to continue to exist. We have enjoyed the patronage and partnership of some of the finest, most experienced, and most credible experts in the EB-5 World. We have no debt, no “black marks,” and until recently we’ve had unlimited “hope” that somehow there would still be room for our “mom and pop” RC.

    And here’s the unapologetic, personal side of our story. I turned 85 years old in March and am a 100% disabled, retired, military veteran. For well over a decade now, there have been ample opportunities to throw in the damn towel. But, I’ve never been a quitter. The irony implicit and seemingly built into the I-956 is that we can’t even just simply sell out or quit at this point. I could go on “ad nauseam” but I’ve said enough. Wayne Wickizer aka The Ole’ Buzzard

    • Jaimin Deliwala says:


      I was under the impression that in the developed nation public servants are more reasonable, logical and responsive to the need of the people at large. It seems that “crows are black everywhere”. Let us hope that better sense prevails.

      • Anil Kumar says:

        @jaimin Deliwala,you are absolutely correct in your assessment that civil servant working for USCIS is no better that than their counterparts in underdeveloped nations.Their indiscrinatory and arbitrary decision to RFE Is questionable and need to be monitored by their superiors.

  2. RPG says:

    @Suzanne – by any chance, have you heard of any EB5 visas being issued, or appointments being scheduled at Mumbai Consulate after passage of RIA 2022 on grandfathered Regional Center cases? What would be the best way to get any information on this? I am so happy about the whole grandfathering bit, but the lack of movement post passage of the Act is just so tortorous! Would be great if you can share any insight. Thank you, as always!

    • Jaimin Deliwala says:


      In response to my query last week, my Lawyer replied as under,

      “We are processing many applications right now because the US Consulate in Mumbai opened up the floodgates all at once.”

      Although it is vague, I hope it soothes the frayed nerves.


      • RPG says:

        @Jaimin Deliwala, thanks for your response. Just for clarity, what question did you ask your lawyer? Thanks

    • Dil says:

      Hi, you could consider joining the Telegram group of investors ( There are many who are getting interviews in Mumbai.

  3. waitingi485 says:

    @suzanne: Has USICS started issuing i485 approvals to EB5 RC tied investors?
    I have not seen ay such updates yet

  4. Lee says:

    Amazing how inefficient USCIS is. When usually, people want to invest money in one’s country and help its economy, the agency should roll out red carpets. A perfect example of how inefficient the government system is.

  5. Good observations!

  6. sum says:

    hi suzanne,Can I use this place to send a message? I am an investor of eb5 project Related Hudson Residence. I have invested in the project for nearly 5 years. I hope to find some investors of same projects for communication. This project is about to face the redeployment. Anyone who sees this message please contact me by

  7. Dil says:

    Investors may join American Immigrant Investor Alliance ( and the Telegram group ( to get in touch with other investors and discuss their issues.

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