Multiple EB-5 industry stakeholders entered into a settlement agreement with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) that protects EB-5 investors and re-authorizes previously approved Regional Centers, effectively signaling the EB-5 program is fully back in business.
The settlement affects two cases: Behring Regional Center LLC, et al. v. Mayorkas, et al., No. 3:22-cv-2487-VC (N.D. Cal.) and EB5 Capital, et al. v. DHS, et al., No. 3:22-cv-3948-VC (N.D. Cal.). The plaintiffs include EB-5 Regional Center operators: EB5 Capital, CanAm Enterprises, Civitas Capital Group, Golden Gate Global, Pine State Regional Center, and EB-5IC’s member – Behring Regional Center, and industry organization Invest in the USA (“IIUSA”).
What does this settlement mean to prospective EB-5 investors moving forward? What is the background of the settlement and how did the industry get to this point?
Why did Regional Centers sue USCIS? When the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) passed in March 2022, USCIS directed existing Regional Centers to seek redesignation with the agency. The industry, and even some key members of Congress who helped draft the RIA, strongly disagreed with USCIS’ interpretation of the new RIA law requiring Regional Centers to seek designation. A Regional Center in California filed a lawsuit, and then shortly thereafter several leading Regional Center operators banded together and filed a separate lawsuit against USCIS.
How did the courts respond? On June 24, 2022, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that USCIS’ policy to deauthorize all existing Regional Centers based on its interpretation of the RIA was erroneous and unlawful. As a result, all previously designated Regional Centers were restored, including EB5 Capital’s five existing Regional Centers.
What is the status of the two lawsuits? On August 25, 2022, EB5 Capital, along with other leading EB-5 industry stakeholders, entered into a stipulation and settlement agreement with USCIS.
What are the key stipulations of the settlement? The agreement not only reauthorizes previously approved Regional Centers, but it permits investors to file I-526E Petitions after an I-956F Petition (“Project Exemplar”) is filed.
Do investors need to wait for their Regional Center of choice to receive a formal I-956F receipt from USCIS before filing their I-526E Petition? No. If the Regional Center does not receive a formal receipt notice within ten calendar days of delivery to USCIS, the investor may use other forms of proof of the I-956F filing, such as a lockbox receipt, cashed check, or credit card charge provided by the Regional Center to the investor.
Where can investors read the full text of the joint settlement? The full text can be found here.
What can investors do to put themselves in a position to be able to file their I-526E Petition as soon as possible? Investors can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with one of our Investor Relations team members.
To learn more about this joint settlement and the impact of the RIA on the EB-5 industry, check out this article with EB5 Investors magazine.