What is the Purpose of the EB-5 Integrity Fund Fee?
The EB5 Integrity Fund Fee is designed to support the continuation of the Regional Center Program which was reauthorized to operate until September 30, 2027. The EB5 Integrity Fund is also intended to be used to investigate fraud and immigration offenses as well as for the following purposes.
- Investigating within and outside the US including ensuring that the EB 5 investor’s funds came from lawful sources and were obtained legally.
- Evaluating the compliance of regional centers, new commercial enterprises (NCEs), job-creating entities (JCEs), and EB 5 investors and their dependents with the U.S. immigration laws.
- Conducting site visits and audits.
- Managing all other activities and purposes that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees USCIS, deems necessary.
How Much is the EB-5 Integrity Fund Fee?
USCIS is to collect an annual EB-5 Integrity Fee of $20,000 from each regional center with more than 20 investors and $10,000 for each regional center with 20 investors or less in the previous fiscal year (October 1-September 30). The filing fee for Form I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor) will also require an additional fee of $1,000 beginning October 1, 2022 to include EB5 Integrity Fund fees.
How will USCIS Calculate the Integrity Fund Fee to be paid by a Regional Center?
USCIS calculates the Integrity Fund Fee based on the total number of immigrant investors who have invested or are actively investing in the EB 5 Regional Center’s NCEs at any given fiscal year from the filing of the initial petition through the filing of the removal of conditions petition. USCIS considers a foreign individual to be an EB-5 investor if he/she has filed Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor) or Form I-526E through the point of filing Form I-829 (Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status).
USCIS will estimate the total number of investors per regional center by subtracting the I-829 petitions filed on or before September 30 of the fiscal year from all of the regional center’s pending and approved I-526 and I-526E petitions filed in or before the same fiscal year. For a regional center with 30 Form I-526 submissions, 10 Form I-526E submissions, and 20 Form I-829 submissions, filed on or before September 20, 2022, USCIS would approximate the regional center to have 20 investors for fiscal year 2022 for example. The regional center would then pay the required EB 5 Integrity Fund Fee of $10,000 for fiscal year 2023.
How will the EB-5 Integrity Fund Fee be Collected?
Regional centers are to pay the EB 5 Integrity Fee online via Pay.gov which is operated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Authorized regional center personnel must pay the fee using the online form Pay.gov-EB5-Annual Fee for Regional Center using a credit or debit card or by debit from a U.S. bank account. USCIS is able to accept a maximum payment of $24,999 from one credit card per day and a single obligation cannot be paid using multiple credit card transactions over multiple days.
USCIS will not send an invoice to regional centers and all designated regional centers must be responsible for determining their owed EB-5 Integrity Fund Fee based on their total number of investors. USCIS will accept a copy of the Pay.gov payment confirmation email or notice or statement from the payor’s credit card issuer or financial institution as proof of payment of the Integrity Fund Fee.
What Happens with a Late EB-5 Integrity Fund Fee Payment?
USCIS begins its collection of the EB5 Integrity Fund Fee on March 2, 2023. All EB5 Integrity Fund payments due for fiscal year 2023 are to be paid before April 1, 2023. No late fees are to be collected for payments due for fiscal year 2023, however, as per the 2022 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) USCIS must terminate all regional centers that have not paid the EB-5 Integrity Fund fee within 90 days of its due date. USCIS will issue a notice of intent to terminate regional centers with overdue payments. These regional centers will be given the appropriate time within 90 days of the due date to settle their EB-5 Integrity Fund Fees prior to the issuance of a notice to terminate.
The late fee for EB 5 Integrity Fund payments for fiscal year 2024 will be implemented by October 2023 where the fee will be due at the start of the fiscal year between October 1 and October 31 from thereon. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to charge a reasonable penalty fee as per the 2022 EB-5 RIA from regional centers that have not paid the yearly Integrity Fund Fee within 30 days of its due date. Regional centers with late EB-5 Integrity Fund payments are given 90 days to settle the required fee by December 31 to avoid termination.
How Does the EB-5 Integrity Fund Help in Fighting Fraud and Protecting Investors?
With the help of the EB-5 Integrity Fund, USCIS will have more resources to keep an eye on the EB-5 investment sector to help fight fraud and increase immigrant investor protection. Through the EB5 Integrity Fund, fraud, capital mismanagement, and non-compliance will be even less likely with increased oversight from USCIS. In addition to this, you should observe and follow the Best Practices for Identifying and Fighting Fraud in EB-5 such as conducting due diligence, evaluating a project’s fund disbursement, and engaging help from third parties.