USCIS recently held a stakeholders teleconference as part of its informational series, EB-5 Interactive. The main topic of the teleconference concerned the “time to file” for the Form I-924A, which must be filed annually in order to demonstrate continued eligibility for designation as a regional center.

It is increasingly important to focus on the submission of the I-924A.  USCIS is focusing on increased scrutiny on the Form I-924A, especially as it relates to the integrity of the information provided about investors sponsored under the regional center.  USCIS has indicated that they will be conducting site visits to regional center offices as well, which may lead to interviews with regional center owners, principals, and staffers to verify data provided on the I-924A and also to verify the regional center’s activities over the past year.

Particularly for those regional centers that do not have any I-526 Petitions or I-829 Petitions filed within the past fiscal year, or for more than one fiscal year, it is paramount to address the regional center’s activities and strategies to generate projects and investment.  Each regional center must continue to promote economic growth and development, improved regional productivity, job creation or increased domestic capital investment in the center’s geographic area.

USCIS also may compare information reported on the I-924A to current I-526 Petitions and I-829 Petitions being submitted to USCIS, particularly as it relates to the amount of the investment and the amount of jobs created over the fiscal year.  Accordingly, it is critical for the regional center to accurately maintain records on investors, investments, and jobs created in each EB-5 Project so that accurate reports can be given not only at the I-829 Petition stage, but also each year on Form I-924A.

The Form I-924A is paramount for demonstrating eligibility for continuing designation as a regional center.  Regional centers that were designated on or before September 30, 2015, will need to submit their Form I-924A by December 29, 2015. Additionally, the Form I-924A form may be filed during other time periods if requested by USCIS. It should be noted that there is no filing fees associated with the Form I-924A form and all Form I-924As and supporting documentation must be filed with the USCIS at the California Service Center as opposed to the Immigrant Investor Program office in Washington, DC. Failure to file the Form I-924A in a proper and timely manner may result in USCIS issuing a Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) the regional center’s designation, which serves to terminate participation in the EB-5 Regional Center Program.