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[Q] Do we have to include an actual investment project with the proposal for Regional Center designation?


Let's look at what USCIS has said on this issue.

Once USCIS approves a proposal for Regional Center designation, the Regional Center does not have the flexibility to accept a project or offer investment options outside its original application area of operation. If the Regional Center wishes to pursue a project outside its original application area of operation, an amendment must be filed with USCIS. There is no requirement to include an exemplar I-526 document when filing an amendment for a Regional Center. We have not seen many of these yet, but we have issued a couple of amended Regional Center approvals. At this time, it is too soon to determine if having the exemplar documents along with the I-526 make it easier to adjudicate the I-526.

In some cases, USCIS may approve a proposal for Regional Center designation when an actual investment project does not yet exist. The approval is therefore based upon a hypothetical investment project. If this is the case, when the immigrant investor files Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Immigrant Entrepreneur, an analysis will be done to determine if the actual business plan provided in support of the Form I-526 comports with the hypothetical business plan provided in support of the Regional Center application. For example, a Regional Center may have a hypothetical plan to build assisted living facilities. Although the geographic location of these assisted living facilities has not been identified, the hypothetical business plan demonstrates the logistics and feasibility of building the facilities within the geographic area of the Regional Center. Since the business plan does not relate to an actual project, it is considered a hypothetical investment project.