5 Things We Learned from USCIS’ Webinar on the Form I-924A, Annual Certificate of Regional Center

by


On August 24, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) hosted a webinar on the Form I-924A, Annual Certificate of Regional Center (“Form I-924A”). The Form I-924A is required to be submitted by EB-5 Regional Centers to demonstrate continued eligibility for its regional center designation. Here are five things we learned from the webinar, which provided an overview of changes to the Form I-924A in the December 23, 2016 edition:

  1. When to File Form I-924A . USCIS indicated that EB-5 Regional Centers may submit the Form I-924A at any point from October 1 through December 29 of the calendar year in which the Federal fiscal year ended. The instructions to the Form I-924A provide a helpful chart indicating whether an approved EB-5 Regional Center is required to its initial Form I-924A:

Once the I-924A is properly filed, USCIS will issue a receipt notice within 21 days after submission. An EB-5 Regional Center who has not received a receipt notice should contact USCIS at USCIS.ImmigrantInvestorProgram@uscis.dhs.gov . USCIS noted that entities with pending I-924 Regional Center applications or EB-5 Regional Centers that have been terminated are not required to submit a Form I-924A.

  1. Rejection of Form I-924A . USCIS noted numerous reasons why it may reject a Form I-924A filed by an EB-5 Regional Center. These include:
  • Failure to completely fill out the Form I-924A;
  • Failure to submit any requested documents listed in the Form I-924A instructions;
  • Submission of a Form I-924 prior to October 1 or after December 29;
  • Failure to include the appropriate filing fee of $3,035,
  • Failure to pay the filing fee of $3,035 on a check or money order drawn on a bank or financial institution located in the U.S., or not payable in U.S. currency;
  • Failure to make the check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”;
  • Submission of a Form I-924A signed by an individual who has not previously been approved by USCIS to complete the Form I-924A;
  • Failure of an EB-5 Regional Center’s “Authorized Individual” to provide an original signature (no signature stamps or e-signatures) on the Form I-924A; and
  • Submission of a Form I-924A to the Immigrant Investor Program Office in Washington D.C. (“the “IPO”).

In the event USCIS rejects an EB-5 Regional Center’s Form I-924A, USCIS will issue a Notice of Intent to Terminate the Participation of the Regional Center in the Immigrant Investor Program (a “NOIT”). USCIS indicated that a response to a NOIT should be submitted to the IPO with a copy of the Form I-924A submitted to USCIS’ California Service Center.

  1. Job Creation . USCIS stated that EB-5 Regional Centers must ensure accuracy and consistency regarding job creation, both internally within the Form I-924A and externally with other immigration petitions filed with USCIS (Form I-526s and Form I-829s). The job creation number should reflect the aggregate direct, indirect, and/or induced jobs that have actually been created by all sponsored projects to date, regardless of whether EB-5 investors have independently claimed credit for such jobs on a Form I-526 or Form I-829. USCIS noted that EB-5 Regional Centers should only include job creation that occurred during the Federal fiscal years chosen in the Reporting Period selected in Part 3 of the Form I-924A. This will require the calculation of direct jobs or jobs created through expenditures or revenue to be pro-rated for the Federal fiscal year. USCIS stated that EB-5 Regional Centers should only include “maintained jobs” if its sponsored projects involve a “troubled business.” The revised Form I-924A also requires EB-5 Regional Centers to clearly demonstrate each industry and the resulting aggregate capital investment and job creation in that industry. USCIS provided no guidance on how to allocate EB-5 capital investment and non-EB-5 capital investment into each industry category.
  1. Multiple New Commercial Enterprises . For EB-5 Regional Centers with multiple new commercial enterprises (“NCEs”), information solicited in Part 6 of the Form I-924A must be submitted for each NCE in Part 11 of the Form I-924A. During the Q&A session, USCIS indicated EB-5 Regional Centers can submit attachments in word or excel format to provide the requested information, as long as it clearly indicates what section of Form I-924A it is answering and the EB-5 Regional Center’s “Authorized Individual” signature and date is included on each page.
  1. Use of Information Submitted in Form I-924A . USCIS will use the information submitted in each Form I-924A to determine whether the EB-5 Regional Center is continuing to “promote economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment in the approved geographic area” in accordance with 8 C.F.R. § 204.6(m)(6). USCIS also indicated that information submitted in the Form I-924A relating to principals or owners of an EB-5 Regional Center and its sponsored projects will allow USCIS to perform standard background checks with law enforcement agencies, which may reveal derogatory information that may result in the issuance of a NOIT.

This post originally appeared on Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group. Copyright © 2017 Wolfsdorf Connect - All Rights Reserved.


About The Author

Bernard Wolfsdorf Bernard Wolfsdorf is the managing partner of the top-rated law firm, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP (www.wolfsdorf.com), and the past national president of the 14,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Established in 1986, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP is known worldwide for providing exceptional quality legal services. With 19 lawyers and offices in Los Angles and New York, the firm was recently listed as a top-tier immigration practice by Chambers & Partners with several of the firm's attorneys listed in the 2015 International Who's Who Legal. Mr. Wolfsdorf specializes in EB-5 investment immigration in addition to the full range of global immigration matters. Joseph Barnett is an Associate Attorney at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP and a member of the firm’s EB-5 and business immigration practices. He is licensed as an attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin and practices exclusively in immigration and nationality law.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.