Suzanne Says: EB-5 Integrity Fund FAQ, with notes on regional center status and investment period

03.03.23 | Research & Analysis

“Suzanne Says” is an opinion column on written by IIUSA Member Suzanne Lazicki. The views of the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of IIUSA.

By Suzanne Lazicki

On March 1, 2023, USCIS sent out an email alert with the title USCIS to Start Collecting Fee for EB-5 Integrity Fund, published a new EB-5 Integrity Fund page on the USCIS website, posted a Federal Register notice with information about the Integrity Fund, and created a new page for EB5 – Annual Fee for Regional Center at  

We’ve known that annual regional center fees were coming, since Section 103(b)(J) of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) created this new requirement. But we’ve been waiting for USCIS to clarify questions around the fee, including how and when to pay it, who qualifies as the “each regional center designated under subparagraph (E)” who needs to pay the fee, and who counts as “investors in the preceding fiscal year in its new commercial enterprises” for the purposes of calculating how much to pay.

Here are answers gathered from the documents published today by USCIS.

Who needs to pay the new EB-5 Integrity Fund fee, and when?

USCIS interprets RIA to mean that every regional center, regardless of when designated and regardless of when or if it sponsored investors, needs to make its annual Integrity Fund payment of $10,000 or $20,000 to USCIS between tomorrow and March 31, 2023. The fee due this month will apply to FY2023. (The next annual fee, for FY2024, will then come due in October 2023.) The Federal Register notice indicates that USCIS expects that all 630 previously designated regional centers will pay the fee, including those with no investors at all. The announcements give no indication that USCIS considered exceptions for regional centers that were not designated under the new law and do not have investors under the new law.  

What does the USCIS fee policy imply about USCIS treatment of previously-approved regional centers?

The fee policy apparently takes for granted that when RIA created a fee requirement applicable to “each regional center designated under subparagraph (E),” RIA did not actually specifically mean RIA subparagraph (E), but also the 1993 law Section 610.  

USCIS has yet to designate any regional centers under subparagraph (E) by approving I-956 applications. An unknown number of previously-approved regional centers have filed I-956 and chosen to solicit investors under RIA. This creates a grey area for the many regional centers that were only approved and only raised investment under the old law.  USCIS admitted as recently as October 2022, in meeting with the litigation plaintiffs, that “USCIS has not determined what will happen to regional centers that choose not to file Form I-956” and “whether any of the RIA requirements apply to them.”

But whoever drafted today’s USCIS fee policy did not recognize a grey area. The policy simply assumes, without argument or explanation, that new requirements applicable to regional centers designated under RIA also apply to regional centers previously designated under Section 610 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993. The drafters of the fee policy apparently did not consider the arguments in my Comment on the RIA impact on pre-RIA Regional Centers and investors.


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