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【ARCFE News】 FORM I-956 IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR REGIONAL CENTER REDESIGNATION

USCIS published the long-awaited form I-956 for Regional Center redesignation and guidance on the application process on Friday, May 13th, 2022. Our Attorney is working on the form and preparing other necessary documents to request for redesignation.

Form I-956 here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-956.pdf

Below are some key points from the Form I-956 Instructions published by USCIS:

  1. One-time filing fee for all Regional Centers when filing Form I-956 is $17,795.

  2. The geographic area must be defined and justified for economic impact (job creation). The area may be defined as small as one census tract to as big as multiple states combined. Regional Centers must provide evidence that they will create jobs throughout the area defined in the I-956 application.

  3. Form I-956 requires Regional Centers to describe the types of enterprises that will receive EB-5 funds. They must also provide details of the indirect and/or direct jobs created along with any other positive economic effects.

  4. Regional Centers must put together a policies and procedures manual explaining how they plan to comply with the existing and new regulations of the EB-5 program.

  5. Any person in a position of substantive authority with the Regional Center must be identified in the I-956 application and submit Form I-956H (“Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional Center Program”). This person is subject to a background check. Additionally, this person must be either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

USCIS did not specify how long the agency would take to process and approve requests for redesignation. Before the program sunset last year, the processing time for Form I-924 ranged from 12-24 months. However, considering that no Regional Centers have been redesignated at this time, we can expect that it may take a while for the agency to process the applications.

LITIGATIONS AGAINST USCIS REGARDING REGIONAL CENTER REDESIGNATION

Behring once again partnered with Greenberg Traurig in filing a lawsuit against USCIS on April 22nd, 2022, regarding the Regional Center redesignation requirement. Behring argued that USCIS violates the Administrative Procedure Act and that the agency’s guidance contradicts Congress’ intention for the EB-5 Regional Center program. The bipartisan letter from Congress also confirmed that they did not intend to make all Regional Centers get redesignated, and that the process would “…put an immense burden on the agency [USCIS].” The letter argued that USCIS has the tools to confirm Regional Center’s compliance with the new regulations without the need for a full-scale redesignation.


USCIS currently relies on the remarks of Senator Chuck Grassley, who is the co-author of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, that “The bill, which Senator Leahy and I primarily authored, formally repeals the pilot program….and codifies in its place a new regional center program…All EB-5 regional centers that operated under the lapsed and repealed pilot program will be expected to seek a new regional center designation…” Judge Chhabria, who is handling this litigation, is expected to make a ruling in mid-June 2022.

In addition to Behring’s lawsuit, many other Regional Centers and EB-5 Regional Center investors are also coming together to file another lawsuit against USCIS. The details of the case cannot be discussed until the lawsuit is filed. Some other groups are also looking into moving forward with filing their own lawsuits.

The EB-5 Regional Center industry is advocating for better regulations regarding confirming Regional Center’s compliance with the new program rules. ARCFE is monitoring the updates very closely for any changes and updates. At the same time, our attorney is preparing necessary documents to request redesignation if nothing changes from USCIS’s current decision. Investors should take advantage of this additional time frame to carefully prepare and review their source of funds documents, and be ready to go once USCIS accepts new Regional Center I-526.

We will continue to update you with the latest information.

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212-889-5000 (English & Vietnamese) | 212-889-5333 (Chinese)

info@arcfe.com

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