By José E. Latour
Last Tuesday, July 25th, was a very special day for AVSEB-5: as bulldozers and diggers began the work of clearing the underbrush from the lush property that will be the site of the River Oak EB-5 project, our new-construction, Single Family Home (SFH) rental community in beautiful Indiantown, Florida, the USCIS in Washington was simultaneously approving American Venture Solutions Regional Center’s I-956 amendment required by the new EB-5 law. A 2-for-1 double milestone day!
As most of our readers know, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (the 2022 Act) served as a giant “reset” to the EB-5 industry, creating significant new protections for EB-5 investors and increasing the responsibility and accountability of those of us engaged in the business of EB-5. But what many do NOT know is that part of that reset requires that all existing, previously-approved EB-5 Regional Centers which intend to continue to offer EB-5 projects under the new law must RENEW their USCIS authorization. Specifically, RCs must file an amendment proving their compliance with the 2022 Act’s stringent new requirements and that amendment MUST be approved by USCIS. The process of meeting all the new requirements is extremely complex, involves a lot of compliance planning and legal work and, most of all, it is very expensive. As a result, only a fraction of the 600+ approved Regional Centers listed on the USCIS website today have actually applied to qualify under the new law…and only a few have been approved so far. We are VERY PROUD to have our shiny new USCIS reauthorization!
As you would expect, the majority of Regional Centers seeking to qualify under the new law reads mostly like a “Who’s Who” of reputable Regional Centers which, like AVSRC, have long-proven and trusted reputations. That being said, don’t kid yourself: in the overseas EB-5 market, pitching lies and false promises remain the primary marketing tool for lots of migration agents, many of whom are falsely claiming to be “approved” under the new law. Baloney. Under the new law, third party agents must apply and be approved by USCIS, no exceptions. So unless they can show you their I-956K approval issued by USCIS, that agent is selling EB-5 illegally… and you are NOT protected from being scammed. It’s that plain and simple.
My suggestion: whether you choose to follow your EB-5 aspirations through AVSRC’s own River Oak Project or are considering other options, do yourself a favor: skip the agent and speak directly to the Regional Center whose reputation and business is on the line when you invest.
Attorney José E. Latour