We are excited to welcome guest blogger Jane (Yue) Zhang from Medallion Partner Miller Mayer to discuss Form I-924A considerations. Jane is an Associate in Miller Mayer’s immigration practice and has been involved with EB-5 for years.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved over 800 EB-5 regional centers.[1] Each regional center must file Form I-924A annually. It is never too early to consider the requirements and tips for the upcoming filing, because untimely submission will result in the issuance of a notice of intent to terminate the participation of a regional center in the EB-5 program.[2]

As regional centers grow in number and maturity, Form I-924A is an increasingly useful tool for the USCIS to determine a regional center’s continued eligibility. The USCIS stressed the importance of this form during its April 25, 2016 EB-5 stakeholder engagement session.

There currently is no filing fee for Form I-924A. However, the USCIS recently proposed a fee of $3,035 for each I-924A filing, which could take effect as early as this fall. The proposed fee indicates the form’s significance to the Service. When filing Form I-924A, there are many considerations you and your firm should take in account.

The Basics[3]

Form I-924A is an application and a supplement to Form I-924. Each designated regional center entity must file a Form I-924A for each fiscal year after Form I-924 approval (October 1, 20XX through September 30, 20XX) within 90 days of the fiscal year-end (for example, on or before December 29, 20XX).

The principal of a regional center is the applicant and must sign the form. If an attorney or representative assists in preparing the application, he or she must also sign the form and attach a completed Form G-28. The final submission must contain original signatures.

A regional center must also attach its most recently issued approval notice, including any amendment approvals.

Tips and Recommendations

Form I-924A bears many considerations for you and your firm to look out for. The form can be confusing to complete, and many of the instructions are ambiguous. The USCIS seems to understand the unwieldy nature of the I-924A, as it has recently solicited comments on the current form. We may see a new version of the form in the near future, but for now here are our best tips for the current version:

  1. Filing Form I-924A is required for every regional center even if no I-526 petitions were filed and zero funds were released to new commercial or job-creating enterprises (NCE or JCE) during the fiscal year, which may be the case for newly established or inactive regional centers. Documentation can be attached to the filing to demonstrate promotion activity.
  1. The one-size-fits-all nature of the form is not always conducive to accurately reflecting the nuances and variations across projects and regional centers. When appropriate, insert an asterisk or footnote next to the applicable section that requires an explanation, and make any clarifying notes as appropriate. Add continuation sheets if necessary.
  1. “Aggregate EB-5 Capital Investment”: “Capital investment” occurs when EB-5 investment capital is transferred to the NCE. Thus, it is possible for a certain amount of capital to be held in escrow (if an escrow account exists) and yet have a lesser amount (even zero) invested in the applicable NCE in a given fiscal year.
  1. Similarly, depending on the financial structure of a project, the amount released to an NCE in a given fiscal year may exceed the amount of funds released to a corresponding JCE in that same year. In this instance, a footnote may be used to clarify the difference.
  1. “Aggregate Direct and Indirect Job Creation”: Although regional centers may use different types of methodology to determine job creation, currently the USCIS favors the economic impact methodology, which uses inputs of expenditure, revenues, and/or direct jobs to determine aggregate jobs during the I-924A reporting period. We recommend using or switching over to the economic impact methodology to determine the aggregate number of jobs and engaging an economist to assist with such calculations.
  1. The number of I-526s revoked generally does not include I-526 petitions that were withdrawn and then re-filed within the same fiscal year. Rather, this number pertains only to approved petitions revoked by the USCIS.

Please contact your Miller Mayer attorney if you have any questions about the annual I-924A reporting process.

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[1] As of May 2, 2016; see generally www.uscis.gov/eb-5centers.
[2] Please note: significant changes to a regional center (e.g. change in management or ownership, if there is a sale, etc.) must also be reported in Form I-924A within 30 days. This post only discusses annual Form I-924A filings.
[3] See http://www.uscis.gov/i-924a for instructions and more information on Form I-924A.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]