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On 'regional centers' and what they mean for investor visas

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about the different types of investor visas that are available. The specifics of each type vary, but in a general sense, it is safe to assume that if you want to obtain an investor visa, you will need to make a significant financial contribution to a commercial enterprise and/or have that investment create a certain number of jobs.

However, there is one part of the investment visa umbrella that we didn't cover in that post. Have you ever heard of a "regional center"? Though the name is generic, in immigration law "regional centers" are allotted half (5,000) of the annual cap of investment visas (10,000) in the United States. 

Regional centers are defined as so:

  • The regional center must be an entity, organization or agency that has received U.S. Customs and Immigration Services approval.
  • The regional center must focus on a specific geographical area (such as a city or county).
  • The regional center has to promote economic growth through a number of factors (such as job creation and increased export sales).

People who are applying for investment visas under a "regional center" plan must meet these three criteria, in addition to other background checks and documentation.

As always, it behooves anyone considering a visa -- especially an investment, employment or business visa -- to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to help them efficiently and properly file their visa application and to aid them should any issues or complications arise.

Source: FindLaw, "What is an Investment Visa?," Accessed Oct. 8, 2014

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