The EB-5 Regional Center Application: How Much Does it Cost?
If you are an entrepreneur looking to attract investors to your project, becoming an EB-5 regional center can create a very compelling reason for foreign investors to provide you with financing.
Many people, however, don’t fully understand the complexities of the EB-5 regional center application process, or the costs involved.
Individuals can apply to become an EB-5 regional center through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using form I-924.
The filing cost of form I-924 is $6,230. However, many entrepreneurs don’t account for the other costs of a successful regional center proposal:
- The services of an economist to provide the detailed economic impact analysis required by USCIS
- The services of immigration, securities and business attorneys to develop and thoroughly vet the documents associated with the proposal
- A detailed business plan outlining capital mix, return forecasts, exit strategy and other investment metrics
- Possibly the services of a firm who will spearhead the management and coordination of your application
- The services of an experienced EB-5 project manager are strongly recommended, especially for those new to the process
- We also suggest that the regional center's website be up and running prior to the submission of an I-924
Once approved, or at least once marketing starts, there are other costs to consider as well:
- Agency fees for each successful investor (this is mostly the case for China, although agents can be found in other countries)
- Marketing costs (including brochures, travel, DVDs, information packets, Powerpoint presentation, translation of materials, etc.)
- Escrow fees, as appropriate
- Insurance costs
- Administrative costs for tracking and reporting to investors and USCIS
- Interest to investors
Clearly there is much to consider when evaluating the ROI on EB-5, however, this is where an experienced team provides value in terms of saving unnecessary costs and avoiding pitfalls.
Understanding the Application Process
While the filing fee for form I-924 is a fixed cost, these other costs can vary depending on the size and complexity of your project. It’s important to understand the full scope of the application process to determine the costs involved.
Becoming an EB-5 regional center can be a powerful attractor for foreign investment, in units of $500,000 or $1,000,000. The regional center designation can attract high net-worth investors that would otherwise not target your enterprise as an investment opportunity. However, the process of achieving this designation is not easy, and requires your full understanding to ensure success.
To fully unlock the potential of the EB-5 program, you need to arm yourself with the right information; ill-informed entrepreneurs can waste thousands of dollars and many hours trying to navigate the I-924 process. Gain a full understanding of the EB-5 program with the EB-5 Definitive Guide.
Phil Cohen is the founder and president of Strategic Element Consulting, a company that is focused on the development of EB-5 regional centers, custom ‘direct’ EB-5 regional center project development and the writing of EB-5 business plans.