On Aug. 24, 2017, USCIS hosted a webinar to provide guidance on Form I-924A for the fiscal year 2017. Form I-924A is used by regional centers to demonstrate continued eligibility for regional center designation. Regional centers that remain designated for participation in the program as of Sept. 30 of a given year must submit Form I-924A with the required supporting documentation on or before Dec. 29 of that same year. Failure to file Form I-924A in a timely manner for each fiscal year in which the regional center has been designated to participate in the Immigrant Investor Program will result in the issuance of a notice of intent to terminate the participation of the regional center in the program. Such failure may ultimately result in the termination of the approval and designation of the regional center.
On the webinar, USCIS reviewed the updates to the Form I-924A and gave guidance on how to report information back to USCIS on the status of the regional center’s projects. Below are a few key points made by USCIS:
- USCIS stressed the Privacy Act notice, which can be found in the Instructions to Form I-924A. USCIS can share the information provided on the form with other Federal, state, local, and foreign government agencies and authorized organizations. It may also share the information, as appropriate, for law enforcement purposes or in the interest of national security. Generally, it seems that USCIS is putting the regional center principals through background checks each year, which could lead to derogatory information that could lead ultimately to termination.
- USCIS stressed that the term “Principal” is defined broadly as any person or legal entity that is an owner of the regional center entity, any person in a position of managerial authority, or any person who is otherwise in a position to control, influence, or direct the activities of the regional center. Accordingly, it seems USCIS wants regional centers to fully disclose those individuals with decision making authority over the regional center, as it is likely those individuals may also be put through background checks each year pursuant to the Privacy Act Notice.
- USCIS also clarified that the job creation data should be based on actual data for the fiscal year. Inputs used to show actual job creation for the fiscal year (whether from expenditures, revenues, or direct jobs) should be prorated to correspond to the reporting period. USCIS gave the following example: if a hotel costs $50M in hard costs, and in this fiscal year $27.5M was spent, then jobs created must be calculated based on these actual expenditures. The regional center must provide an analysis of this with an explanation on the methodology used. As a best practice, an economist should be preparing materials on the job creation amounts and methodology used for each project under the sponsorship of the regional center to be submitted with the I-924A.
- USCIS further stated that aggregate capital by NAICS code must be tracked and reported accordingly. This must be done on a fiscal year basis, but can be a prorated number. EB-5 capital also must be tracked and reported by each NAICS code, but USCIS clarified that it is left to the regional center to show how this is allocated.
- USCIS reminded applicants that the new filing fee is $3,035. Failure to pay filing fee is grounds for a Notice of Intent to Terminate.
- USCIS also stated that revocations of approved I-526 Petitions or approved I-829 Petitions should be reported as denials.
- Finally, USCIS stated that withdraws of I-526 Petitions should be reported as denials, but the regional center can indicate the amount of withdrawals as additional clarifying information on an addendum.