Basics of Regional Center Investments  

Posted on Jun 5, 2024 by Rakesh Patel and Jacqueline Trevino

Foreign investors can either invest through a USCIS-designated regional center or make a direct investment in an EB-5 project.  

What is a regional center? 

Regional centers are privately owned economic entities designated by USCIS to promote economic growth within the United States and through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Regional centers facilitate EB-5 investments by pooling funds from multiple investors into larger projects, often making meeting the program’s job creation requirements easier. These centers can invest in a variety of industries and geographic areas. They also offer a more passive investment route, as non-investor developers handle the management and operation of the project.  

Developers design projects that could benefit from EB-5 funding and can contract with regional centers to promote and sponsor such projects under the EB-5 program. Investors do not invest in the regional center itself, but in the projects sponsored by the center. 

While developers focus on the successful execution and management of the project, ensuring that it generates the necessary jobs, regional centers serve as an intermediary between the project developer and investors, ensuring that the program requirements are reported to USCIS. This includes tracking job creation and economic impact. 


How to Pick a Regional Center Project

Selecting the right regional center for an EB-5 project requires careful consideration. Investors should begin by researching regional centers and the projects they sponsor thoroughly, focusing on their track record, experience, and reputation. Investors should ask the following questions to ensure it aligns with their goals:

  • What is the regional center’s track record of successful EB-5 projects?
  • How many projects has the regional center completed?
  • Does the regional center have a solid record of job creation compliance?
  • What types of projects does the regional center offer for investment?
  • Is the regional center in good standing with USCIS?
  • How are the investor funds structured for the project?
Considerations for H-1B Holders 

H-1B visa holders are restricted from solely owning and managing an EB-5 project due to regulations that confine them to employment with their sponsoring employers. However, H-1B visa holders who invest in regional center projects need not worry about these employment restrictions. Investors do not have to manage the project’s day-to-day operations, which is beneficial for those unable to actively participate in business management. This makes regional centers a convenient option for H-1B holders looking to participate in the EB-5 program. 

Job Creation Requirements

Both regional center and direct investments must create at least ten-full time jobs. Direct investments can only count jobs directly created by the project to meet the program’s employment requirements.

Regional centers can count indirect and induced jobs toward the job creation requirement, not just direct jobs. Indirect jobs arise from the economic activity generated by the project, while induced jobs are created due to the increased economic spending in the area surrounding the project. This broader approach to job creation makes it easier for regional center projects to meet the program’s employment criteria. 

Concurrent Filing

For the foreseeable future, investors from any country who invest in a rural, high unemployment or infrastructure project can concurrently file Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status) along with either Form I-526E (Immigration Petition by Regional Center Investor) or Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor). Investors can also request an employment authorization document (EAD) and travel document for themselves and any dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21).  

If you have any questions regarding the EB-5 process or how to make a regional center investment, please email us at and