Form I-956 Latest News, Application, How to apply, Process, Cost, Processing time, Rules

Form I956

What is Form I-956?

Form I-956 is known as “Application for Regional Center Designation”. Form I-956 is required for Entities seeking to be designated as a regional center.

How does an EB-5 regional center apply for Form I-956?

An EB-5 regional center can apply for designation using Form I-956 here. USCIS has published this form on May 13th 2022.

What are the stages of processing of Form I-956?

  1. You must have a United States address to file this application.
  2. Initial Processing – Once USCIS accepts your application, we will check it for completeness. If you do not completely fill out this application, you will not establish a basis for your eligibility and USCIS may reject or deny your application.
  3. Requests for More Information – We may request that you provide more information or evidence to support your application. We may also request that you provide the originals of any copies you submit. If we request an original document from you, it will be returned to you after USCIS determines it no longer needs your original.
  4. Requests for Interview –  We may request that you appear at a USCIS office for an interview based on your application. At the time of any interview or other appearance at a USCIS office, we may require that you provide your biometrics to verify your identity or update background and security checks.
  5. Decision – The decision on Form I-956 involves a determination of whether you have established eligibility for the requested designation, or an amendment to a previously approved designation. USCIS will notify you of the decision in writing.
  6. Approval – If you have established that you qualify for the benefit sought, USCIS will approve your application. The approval notice will provide information about the responsibilities and obligations of your USCIS designated regional center. It will also list the evidence to submit in support of regional center-associated individual EB-5 petitions, as well as details on the reporting and oversight requirements for regional centers.
  7. Denial – If you have not established eligibility for the benefit sought, USCIS will deny this application. The denial notice will describe the reasons for the denial, and the regional center’s right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office as specified in 8 CFR Part 103.3.

How long is the processing time for Form I-956?

The processing time for Form I-956 is unknown at this time. USCIS has published the form I-956, including the form instructions on May 13th 2022.

How much is the filing fee for Form I-956?

The filing fee for Form I-956 is $17,795.

What other costs are involved with Form I-956?

Each person involved with the regional center must complete and submit Form I-956H and pay the required biometric services fee of $85 each. Form I-956H is also known as “Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional Center Program”.

What is the latest news about Form I-956?

May 13th 2022: USCIS publishes Form I-956 to their website for download.

May 11th 2022: There is an ongoing litigation against the USCIS requiring approval of Form I-956 for previously designated EB-5 regional centers. On April 11, 2022, USCIS posted an interpretation of the legislation that would nullify all 600-plus designated regional centers and require all entities to be re-designated in order to be authorized to file petitions under the new law pursuant to provisions effective May 14, 2022.

This interpretation, if it stands, would have a significant negative impact on regional center operations and disrupt even further an already besieged program.

The EB-5 Investment Coalition (EB5IC) through one of its members has challenged this interpretation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Case 3:22-cv-02487-JCS Behring Regional Center LLC v. Majorkas et alPlaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order April 26, 2022, asking the court to halt the USCIS guidance.

There was a court hearing on 5/11/2022 in which the Judge pushed back the hearing to first week of June 2022.

Are existing EB-5 regional centers able to maintain their designation without filing Form I-956?

No.  The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 repealed the legacy Regional Center Program. As a result, previously designated regional centers must reapply by filing the new Form I-956, Application for Regional Center Designation. Additionally, EB5 Regional Centers must file Form I-956G with USCIS to maintain continued designation under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program. Form I-956G is also known as “Regional Center Annual Statement”.

What is the difference between Form I-956 and Form I-526?

Form I-956 and Form I-526 serve two different group of people. Form I-956 is a new requirement from USCIS to have previously designated regional centers to Re-apply for their designation as an EB-5 regional center. Form I-526 is the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur used as the first step to file for EB-5 Visa Program.

What is the difference between Form I-956 and Form I-956F?

Both Form I-956 and Form I-956F are used by regional centers for compliance with the EB5 Reform and Integrity Act. Form I-956 is the document used to apply for regional center designation under the EB 5 Visa Program. Form I-956F is used by regional centers to apply for approval of a new commercial enterprise offering for immigrant investors seeking an EB 5 Visa. Form I-956F is also known as “Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional Center Program”. Both forms must be approved before an EB-5 investor is able to submit their initial petition.

What is the difference between Form I-956 and Form I-956H?

The I-956 and I-956H forms are part of the new set of documents implemented under the 2022 Reform and Integrity Act. Form I-956 is the document used by regional centers to obtain accreditation from USCIS to operate under the EB 5 Visa Program. Form I-956H is filed by persons directly or indirectly involved with regional centers to aid USCIS in evaluating the eligibility of persons participating in the Immigrant Investor Visa Program. Each person with substantive authority on the operations and management of an EB5 regional center must submit Form I-956H.

Can I file a form I-526 with an existing EB-5 regional center that does not have Form I-956 filed?

No, you have to wait until the regional centers have been approved with form I-956. Individuals seeking status as an immigrant investor whose investment project is associated with a regional center (with an approved Form I-956 after May 14, 2022), may file a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, only after the regional center has submitted a project application and received a receipt number for that application.

I filed the form I-526  before June 30th 2021, is my application valid?

Yes. While repeal of the prior immigrant investor program requires previously designated regional centers to reapply for designation if they wish to continue their participation, the need to reapply does not impact petitions pending prior to March 15, 2022 associated with those entities; rather the impact is limited to the ability to support new petitions in the future. Despite the previously approved regional center associated with your petition no longer being designated, you may still establish eligibility by demonstrating compliance with other applicable requirements (primarily investment and job creation, including indirect job creation as provided under the former statute).

USCIS has resumed processing regional center-related Form I-526 filed on or before June 30, 2021, the sunset of the previous regional center program. USCIS will adjudicate those Form I-526 petitions according to the applicable eligibility requirements at the time such petitions were filed (that is, the eligibility requirements in place prior to the enactment of the new legislation on March 15, 2022).

Source: EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act 2022