USCIS Releases Information Regarding EB-5 Regional Center Audits


If you are an EB-5 investor in a Regional Center project, you may be interested to learn of new information released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding Regional Center audits.

In March 2022, with the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, Congress implemented new reforms designed to increase the oversight of Regional Centers to prevent fraud and abuse within the immigrant investor program.

Among these fraud prevention mechanisms, USCIS established the EB-5 Integrity Fund, funded by annual regional center fees and immigrant petition fees, to detect and investigate fraud and other crimes related to the program, ensure compliance, conduct regional center audits (every five years) and site visits (for each new NCE or JCE).

USCIS recently released information confirming that the agency must audit each designated regional center at least once every five years.

What is done during a Regional Center audit?

Audits are performed during a site visit which include a review of documentation required to be maintained by the regional center and a review of the flow of immigrant investor capital into any capital investment project.

Effective April 23rd audits will be utilizing the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, also known as the Yellow Book. The Yellow Book provides standards and guidance for auditors and audit organizations.

What is the purpose of Regional Center audits?

Regional center audits are conducted to strengthen the integrity of the EB-5 program by verifying information in regional center applications, annual certifications, and associated investor petitions.

What happens if a Regional Center refuses an audit during a site visit?

At any point during a site visit in connection with an audit, if the regional center representative expresses an unwillingness to participate in the site visit, USCIS will cancel the visit. USCIS will then complete the audit report using available data and note that the site visit was cancelled at the request of the regional center.

Termination of a Regional Center’s Designation

If a regional center does not consent to an audit or deliberately attempts to impede the audit, USCIS will terminate the regional center’s designation. USCIS has said that it may consider noncompliance with a site visit to mean nonconsenting to an audit.

Adverse Consequences of Non-consenting Regional Centers

Except when a regional center does not consent to an audit or deliberately attempts to impede an audit, there are generally no direct adverse consequences to an EB-5 associated entity or petitioner solely because of the negative audit result.

USCIS may use its findings to evaluate a regional center’s continuing eligibility to remain designated as well as compliance of associated applications, petitions, or other filings with applicable requirements.

For more information about the auditing process, please visit the EB-5 Regional Center Audits webpage.

Contact Us. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-569-1768 or call 619-819-9204.

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