Are all Regional Centers equal?
Regional Centers can be created by private individuals or corporations who decide how they wish to operate their Regional Center.
Privately created Regional Centers are not controlled or supervised by any independent authority other than the USCIS.
State Operated Regional Centers
The State of Vermont Regional Center is unique in the fact that it is the ONLY State Government owned and operated Regional Center in the USA. All other designated Regional Centers are either owned and operated by private corporate entities or may have a local or State Government affiliation but are operated by a private corporation.
The State of Vermont Regional Center and its approved EB-5 visa projects have significant government backing at the State level from Governor, Jim Douglas and Secretary, Kevin Dorn and at the federal level from United States Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy. Senator Leahy is the driving force behind the EB-5 pilot program as we know it today and is responsible for the current 3-year extension signed in to law by President Obama, October 2009.
One misconception that many people who look to utilize an EB5 visa sometimes fail to grasp is that the Regional Center is separate from a particular project they may be interested in investing in. A Regional Center is designated and overseen by the United States Citizenship Immigration Service (USCIS) for a particular geographic area where stated industry activities may occur. Occasionally a Regional Center may have only one project that is intended to operate within its boundary but often a Regional Center has several projects ongoing.
All of the EB-5 visa projects that a prospective EB5 investor may look at are privately owned and administered, what that prospective EB-5 investor might want to consider is who is reviewing that project to determine the project is following USCIS guideline? A Regional Center cannot protect your investment nor can they provide any kind of indemnity but what a Regional Center can provide is continual EB-5 compliance through initial review to determine that a project is suitable to be offered as an EB-5 investment opportunity then continued monitoring when project activities commence.
Approved State of Vermont Regional Center projects have a "Memorandum-of-Understanding" (MOU) that creates an agreement between the State Government and the private corporation that will be promoting and administering the project. The MOU provides that a project will governed under the applicable laws in the State of Vermont and that project will comply with USCIS requirement.
Benefits of the Vermont Regional Center
- Accountability - Formal written reports required by Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development every 90 days upon activites of the project.
- Compliance - Designated Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development Official to assure project's compliance with U.S. Immigration Law and regulations concerning investments within a regional center in the EB-5 Visa preference category.
- Credibility - One of the longest established Regional Centers since 1997 with close involvement of Senior State Senator, Patrick Leahy; Governor State of Vermont, Jim Douglas; and Vermont Secretary of State, Kevin Dorn.
- State Oversight - The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development oversee and monitor EB-5 project activities in Vermont.
- Faster Approvals - Credibility of the State of Vermont with governmental responsibility and oversight means that investors’ petitions are given priority by CIS, resulting in a faster path to approval.