USCIS Form I-956KForm I-956K is known as “Registration for Direct and Third-Party Promoters”. Form I-56K is a new registration document published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for promoters of the EB-5 Visa Program. Form I-956K is for the use of direct and third-party promoters, including migration agents, of regional centers, new commercial enterprises, job-creating entities, and issuers of securities to EB-5 investors to register with USCIS. Registration with I-956K helps EB5 investors and entities verify the credibility of promoters and conduct due diligence to ensure that all promoters and agents for EB5 are compliant with USCIS and U.S. securities laws.  

Individuals and registrants for organizations are required to submit identification documents, business formation documents, and all written agreements with EB 5 entities along with their I956K. The I 956K form must be filed with USCIS before promoters and agents engage with EB 5 entities and EB5 investment activities. USCIS has the right to suspend or disqualify promoters and agents who do not comply with the Form I-956K requirement from the EB-5 Program.

What is USCIS Form I-956K?

Form I-956K is known as “Registration for Direct and Third-Party Promoters”. Form I-956K is a new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filing document for direct and third-party promoters of the EB-5 Program. USCIS Form I-956K was released on January 4, 2023 in accordance with the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) of 2022. Form I-956K serves as the registration document for EB-5 direct and third-party promoters, including migration agents. The promoters of the following must register with USCIS using Form I-956K.

  • EB5 Regional Centers.
  • New Commercial Enterprises (NCEs).
  • Affiliated Job-Creating Entities (JCEs).
  • Issuers of securities to EB5 investors in relation to investment projects.

The EB-5 Program was established in 1990 to encourage U.S. economic growth from investments from foreign nationals. Foreign investors are granted U.S. permanent residence if they are able to satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 Visa Program. Minimum capital investment and job creation for at least 10 full-time Americans are the main requirements of the EB5 Visa. 

How Does USCIS Form I-956K Work?

Form I956K must be filed with USCIS before direct and third-party entities are able to promote EB5 Investment Project offerings. In this section, we will go over the specific parts of the new I-965K form for promoters of the involved EB5 entities. 

Part 1. Type of Registration

The registrant must specify its distinction as a direct promoter, third-party promoter, or migration agent. The Instructions for Form I956K do not include set definitions for EB 5 promoters and differentiation between a third-party promoter and migration agent. One basis for distinguishing a third-party promoter and migration agent is determining whether the regional center or foreign investor pays the EB-5 promoter. In addition, migration agents, particularly those based outside the U.S., are also known by other designations such as immigration consultants or advisors. Immigration agents often serve as investment brokers for high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) who are applying for an EB-5 Visa to obtain permanent residence in the US.

EB5 promoters have to specify whether the USCIS Form I-956K is filed as an initial registration or as an amendment to a previously filed Form I-956K. EB5 promoters who are making amendments must indicate if they are adding a new written agreement, removing a written agreement, or modifying an existing written agreement. 

Part 2. Registrant Information

The section for individual filers asks for details such as the registrant’s name, date and country of birth, citizenship, and passport number. Registrants for organizations will have to input the legal name of the company, the company’s organizational structure, the date of establishment, and the locations where the EB5 promoter is authorized to operate. All registrants have to fill in their complete mailing address and contact number. 

The filer will have to specify in the last part of this section whether they are working as a promoter or acting as a promoter on behalf of another EB-5 promoter. The I-956K form and Reform Integrity Act (RIA) do not have a definite description of an EB 5 promoter. An individual or a company can be considered an EB-5 promoter if they “sell,” advertise, or organize events for EB-5 investments that do not result in the promoter earning money from the investments.

The name, registration number, job title, and contract arrangement of the promoter must be filled out in this section.

Part 3. Written Agreement(s)

The EB-5 promoter needs to indicate if they have a written agreement with a regional center, a new commercial enterprise (NCE), or an associated job-creating entity (JCE). Information on all written agreements must be given which includes the title of the agreement, the parties involved, and the entity type.

Part 4. Bona Fides of the Promoter

The registrants are asked questions related to their criminal history and security offenses. Registrants are screened for any involvement in fraud, illegal trafficking, espionage, money laundering, terrorism, genocide, or Nazi activities. 

EB 5 promoters who are filing for an organization will not be able to answer all the questions in Part 4. The people with substantial authority in the organization must then submit Form I-956H. Form I-956H is also known as Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional Center Program. A person with substantial authority is one who makes operational or managerial decisions in relation to investment, pooling, acceptance, securitization, release, and control of funding. Executives, general partners, managers, board members, administrators, owners, representatives, principals, and agents of regional centers, JCEs, and NCEs are examples of persons with substantial authority. 

Part 5. Required Certification 

All information submitted to USCIS must be certified as per the RIA. The certifier’s name, title, contact information, and signature are required for Form I 956K. 

Part 6. Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Attestation, and Signature of the Promoter or Authorized Individual

The EB5 promoter or authorized individual must attest to their understanding of Form I 956K and certify that the submitted files are unaltered copies of the original documents. The certification includes the promoter or authorized individual’s agreement should USCIS require additional information, auditing of evidence, or biometrics appointment. 

Part 7. Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

Promoters who have engaged the services of an interpreter must have the interpreter fill out Part 7 of the I-956K form. The interpreter must certify that they are fluent in English and that the promoter understood all the elements involved in filling out Form I956K with their assistance.  

Part 8. Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature of the Person Preparing this Form, if Other Than the Authorized Individual

A preparer who also served as the interpreter for the promoter or authorized individual must fill out both Part 7 and Part 8 of the I956K form. The prepare will have to specify whether they are an attorney or accredited representative for the business or organization and sign to certify the information given.

Part 9. Additional Information

Part 9 is an extra page for any additional information to be included in the registration form. 

The announcement of the new Form I-956K was included in the USCIS notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) published on January 3, 2023. The notice included the proposed increase in certain USCIS EB-5 Form Filing Fees to aid in the operational costs of USCIS. Form I-956K is not covered by the proposed USCIS EB5 Filing Fee Increase 2023.

How Does Form I-956K Affect the EB5 Visa Process? 

Form I-956K plays an important role during the initial stages of the EB5 Visa Process, particularly in selecting an EB5 Project and in conducting EB5 Due Diligence. An EB-5 Visa Project is the product of the investments of foreign investors who wish to qualify for the EB5 Program. EB5 Due Diligence is the process of assessing a potential EB5 Project before a foreign investor commits capital funding. Form I-956K is a useful resource in EB5 Due Diligence that allows EB-5 investors to know which promoters of EB5 Projects are registered with USCIS. Registration with USCIS creates an avenue for EB5 investors to only work with promoters who abide by the U.S. laws and regulations on the EB5 Process

What are the Benefits of Form I-956K?

Form I-956K helps EB 5 investors verify the credibility of promoters and migration agents under the EB5 Program. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and USCIS will be able to screen which EB-5 promoters and agents are compliant with U.S. laws, regulations, and policies. Regional centers, JCEs, and NCEs for EB5 are able to obtain information on EB5 promoters and agents and conduct due diligence on these promoters to guide foreign investors when choosing an EB 5 project. 

USCIS has the discretion to publicize information from the I 956K form of EB 5 promoters. Promoters who refuse to comply with USCIS requirements and U.S. laws are subject to suspension or permanent disqualification from the EB 5 Visa Program. 

How Does Form I-956K Look Like?Form I-956K

USCIS Form I-956K consists of 10 pages with 9 parts. The full version of the I956K form is downloadable from the USCIS website. 

How Much Does Form I-956K Cost?

There is no filing fee for Form I956K. USCIS hopes to increase the registration of EB-5 promoters and agents by eliminating the additional process of sending fee payments from overseas. 

Who is Eligible for Filing USCIS Form I-956K?

Any person who acts as a direct or third-party promoter of an EB 5 regional center, NCE, JCE, or issuer of securities offered to EB 5 investors related to an investment project should file USCIS Form I 956K. The I 956K form has sections for both individuals and organizations that indicate that both natural and legal persons must register with USCIS. 

In Part 2 of Form I-956K under Registrant Employment or Association, the promoter is asked to specify whether they are employed as an executive, employee, officer, agent, or engaged under contract or subcontract agreements. The given options show that USCIS requires employees who are actively involved in interacting with EB-5 investors and in offering EB-5 investments to file Form I956K.

Persons with substantial authority in regional centers and NCEs are advised to file I956K even if they do not have direct roles in promoting EB5 Visa investments. Persons who manage and make decisions related to agents and employees promoting EB-5 Visa investments are likely to be classified as EB5 promoters by USCIS.  

Vivek Tandon of EB5 BRICS LLC is a licensed Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) broker-dealer for EB5 investments.  

What are the Documents Required for Filing USCIS Form I-956K?

EB-5 promoters should file the following documents with their I-956K application.

For individual registrants

  • A copy of a valid government-issued identification card.
  • Copies of all passports.

For registrants of organizations

  • A copy of the organization’s current formation documents.
  • Any additional files indicating under which the business is permitted to conduct operations such as fictitious business name statements and foreign entity registration documents.

Registrants must confirm the existence of all written agreements as mandated by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 203(b)(5)(iii) by giving a description of the agreements and appending a copy of the agreements with the I956K form. The written agreement should prove the EB 5 promoter’s compliance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Homeland Security and all other applicable State and Federal securities legislation. The RIA does not mandate that EB-5 promoters reflect in the written contract the amount and method of compensation that they are to receive from the NCE, JCE, or regional center. RIA separately requires EB5 entities, promoters, and foreign investors to acknowledge transaction payments to the promoter. 

The written agreements should require EB5 promoters to satisfy the following.

  • Registration with USCIS.
  • Disclosure of contact and identifying information.
  • Certification of credentials and background information according to the bona fides criteria of RIA.
  • Compliance with a regional center, NCE, or JCE’s rules on “accurate representation of the EB-5 Visa process to immigrant investors” to promote transparency and prevent fraud.
  • Adherence to the written agreement’s rules on “permissible fee arrangements under the governing securities and immigration laws” which vary based on the country where the EB-5 promoter conducts their business. 

When Should You File Form I-956K?

Registrants are instructed to file I-956K before promoting any EB5 Visa investment offering and engaging with regional centers, NCEs, JCEs, or issuers of securities. Since Form I-956F was published 215 days ahead of Form I-956K, regional centers and NCEs are presumably currently promoting investments directly or via third parties. Form I-56F is also known as “Application for Approval of an Investment in a Commercial Enterprise”. The suggestion is to file Form I 956K as soon as possible. USCIS has not announced a grace period for registration using the I-956K form for promoters who are already engaged with EB5 investment activities. 

Where Can You File Form I-956K?

Form I 956K is filed with USCIS by mail using the information below. 

U.S. Postal Service (USPS)

USCIS

Attn: I-956K

P.O. Box 660168

Dallas, TX 75266-0168

FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries

USCIS

Attn: I-956K (Box 660168)

2501 S. State Highway 12, 1 Business Suite 400

Lewisville, TX 75067-8003

Will there be Future Changes to Form I-956K?

The existing version of the I956K form does not have questions about the compensation of EB5 promoters, the ability of EB5 promoters to forward securities offerings legally in the US or overseas, and the EB5 promotes’ licensure from accredited financial regulatory bodies. There is a chance that USCIS would revise the current version of the I-956K form to include additional important information from EB-5 promoters.