EB-5 generates billions of dollars of affordable construction financing for developments located in the United States that create new jobs for US citizens. JMBM’s EB-5 financing group has closed more than $1.5 billion of EB-5 financing for our clients’ development projects, and we sourced more than half of that amount.
Although there are many exciting success stories, we see developers frequently blundering into a small number of easily avoided mistakes, which can be very costly. So here is our short list of the mistakes and tips to avoid them.
There are a number of mistakes developers often make with EB-5 financing. Here are a few tips to avoid 6 of the most common mistakes:
- Bring in the EB-5 experts as early as possible. All of the common mistakes can be avoided if the developer brings in an experienced advisory team early in the process, rather than blundering around and trying to figure it out themselves. There is a steep learning curve! It is always better to “do it right the first time” rather than trying to untangle a mess.
- Document the intention to raise EB-5 money (and replace any early expenditures with EB-5 financing) at the very outset, before you spend any money. Failure to do so may significantly reduce (or eliminate) the amount of EB-5 funding available.
- Do not form your own regional center. Most developers should not consider forming their own regional centers. Doing so means going into an entirely new business – the immigration and securities business. This can be time-consuming, frustrating, and nonproductive. Of course, there are exceptions.
- Do not make any arrangements with a regional center before you have proper guidance. It is too easy to stumble into the “wrong” regional center and get your shoelaces tied together with early discussions. A regional center is an entity that has received formal approval by the US immigration service (the USCIS) of an application to be designated as such. As of July, 2017, approximately 851 regional centers have been approved by the USCIS, but a small percentage of those have ever raised significant EB-5 financing, much less gotten their immigrant investors’ permanent visa approvals through the I-829 process. Virtually all of the successful EB-5 financings to date have been handled by the top 10% of the regional centers. They have been established for some time, have a strong infrastructure in both the United States and places where there is already an awareness of the EB-5 program opportunity and strong interest in using EB-5 to migrate to the United States. Such places include China, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Latin America and parts of the Middle East. These established regional centers have built reliable marketing organizations, and have worked out procedures, documentation, and logistics to evaluate new EB-5 projects.
- Do not forget to count all the parts of a mixed use project. In terms of generating the critical jobs count for sizing an EB-5 financing, all elements of a project, and sometimes immediately adjoining projects, should be considered. Just because you want to put all the EB-5 money into a hotel, it may not prevent you from counting the jobs created from other parts of the project (as long as the jobs created by these other elements are not being used for another EB-5 financing).
- Due diligence. Due diligence. Due diligence. Do not start talking to anyone about EB-5 financing until you know the right questions to ask and have performed enough due diligence to take the next steps.More information? Time to evaluate the right EB-5 strategy for you?