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May 30, 2024
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What is an I‑956 Application for the EB‑5 visa in the US?

The EB‑5 Visa is a way for investors to become permanent residents in the United States and requires filling out the I‑956 Application. This application is necessary for the EB‑5 program, mainly for investors working with Regional Centers.

In this article, we will explore the details of the I‑956 Application, including its purpose, the requirements for filing, and its role in the EB‑5 visa process.

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Explained the key points of the I-956 Application for the EB-5 visa

A complete overview of I-956 Application for EB5 visa in 2023

What is an I-956 Application for the EB-5 visa in the US?

What is the EB‑5 visa?

The EB‑5 Visa Program allows foreign investors to obtain a US Green Card by investing in American businesses or projects. This investment is expected to create jobs and stimulate the US economy.

Business investments. To qualify for the EB‑5 visa, one must make a significant investment in a new commercial enterprise in the US. The minimum amount is generally $1,050,000+ but can be reduced to $800,000+ if the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area: a rural area or an area with high unemployment.

Creation of jobs. The investment must provide at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers within a specified period, usually within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

Regional Centers. Many EB‑5 investors invest through Regional Centers. These centres are designated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and sponsor capital investment projects for EB‑5 investors.

Conditional Green Card. Upon approval of the EB‑5 investment and petition, the investor and their immediate family members, like the spouse and children under 21, are granted conditional permanent residence for two years.

After the conditional period, the applicant must prove that the investment has met the job-creation requirements to have the conditions removed and become a permanent resident.

Pathway to citizenship. Like other Green Card holders, EB‑5 investors are eligible to apply for US citizenship after 5 years of permanent residency.

What is the I‑956 application for an EB‑5 visa?

The I‑956 Application, formally known as the Application for Regional Center Designation, is a necessary document for EB‑5 visa investors working through Regional Centers. The form is used to establish a new Regional Center or amend the designation of an existing one.

Regional Centers are organisations that sponsor capital investment projects for EB‑5 investors and are a popular choice for many applicants due to their ability to pool investments and focus on indirect job creation.

By completing the I‑956, investors can prove to USCIS that their project meets the criteria for job creation and economic impact — a key requirement of the EB‑5 program. This form helps to ensure that the investment aligns with the program’s objectives and allows the investors to continue in their pursuit of US residency.

Individual cost calculation of the US EB-5 visa

Individual cost calculation of the US EB-5 visa

Requirements of the I‑956 application

The I‑956 Application is intended for organisations that want to establish or reclassify themselves as Regional Centers under the EB‑5 visa program. This includes private or public economic organisations that promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment.

To file the I‑956, the organisation must demonstrate their compliance with the EB‑5 visa criteria.

Business plan showing how the proposed Regional Center will promote economic growth. This plan should detail the proposed activities of the Regional Center, the geographic area it will serve, and how it will focus on specific industries or sectors.

Economic impact analysis demonstrates how the Regional Center’s activities will create jobs and boost the economy in its designated area.

Geographic location. The application must define the geographic area that the Regional Center will cover. This area should be related to the business activities of the Regional Center.

Compliance with securities laws. The organisation must also follow US securities laws to maintain integrity and transparency in the investment process.

Organisational structure and people involved. The application should outline the organisational structure of the Regional Center, including key personnel, their qualifications and roles.

I-956 application process

The process of completing the I‑956 application involves five steps. The application processing time depends on the USCIS workload and can take several months to years.


Gathering necessary documentation

The required documents include a comprehensive business plan, detailed economic impact studies demonstrating the potential effects of the investment on the local economy, proof of compliance with US securities laws, etc.


Filling out the I-956 Form

When completing the form, ensure its accuracy and completeness.


Submitting the application

Submit your application, the required documents and the $17,795 filing fee to USCIS.

Each person involved with the Regional Center must also submit Form I‑956H, accompanied by an $85 biometric services fee.


Waiting for the USCIS review

Once USCIS receives the application, they will review it for completeness and compliance with the EB‑5 program requirements. If additional information or clarification is needed, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence, which requires a timely response from the applicant to avoid delays.


Getting the approval

USCIS will approve the Regional Center designation if the application meets all criteria. This will allow the Regional Center to start sponsoring EB‑5 projects and accepting investments from foreign investors.

However, if the application is denied, USCIS will provide reasons for the denial, and the applicant may have options to appeal or reapply, depending on the circumstances.

Key takeaways on I‑956 Application for an EB‑5 visa

  1. The EB‑5 Visa allows foreign investors to obtain US Green Cards by investing in American businesses or projects, with an expectation of job creation and boosting the economy.

  2. The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers within two years of the investor’s admission as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

  3. Many investors use Regional Centers — organisations approved by USCIS to pool investments and focus on direct and indirect job creation.

  4. The I‑956 Application is used to establish or amend Regional Center designations in the EB‑5 program.

  5. The I‑956 Application requires a business plan, economic impact analysis, geographic location definition, compliance with securities laws, and details of the people involved in the Regional Center.

  6. The application process consists of gathering the necessary documentation, filling out the I‑956 Form, and submitting it with a $17,795 filing fee. The additional Form I‑956H and a biometric services fee of $85 are required for each person involved.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the I-956 Application?

    The I‑956 Application, also known as the Application for Regional Center Designation, is a form used in the EB‑5 Visa program. It is necessary for organisations that want to be recognised as Regional Centers that help manage EB‑5 investment projects.

  • Who needs to file an I-956 Application?

    Organisations that wish to become or continue being recognised as Regional Centers under the EB‑5 program need to file this application.

  • What documents are required for the I-956 Application?

    Required documents typically include a detailed business plan, economic impact studies, and proof of compliance with US securities laws.

  • What is the cost of an I-956 application?

    The filing fee for the I‑956 Application is $17,795. Additionally, each person involved with the Regional Center must also submit Form I‑956H, accompanied by an $85 biometric services fee.

  • What is the processing time for I-956?

    The processing time for the I‑956 Form can vary based on several factors, including the volume of applications received by USCIS, the complexity of each case, and any changes in immigration policies.

    For the most current information on processing times, it is recommended to check your application status on the USCIS website or contact them directly.