EB-5 Regional Centers in Project Finance: Using EB-5 Capital in lieu of Mezzanine Financing

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The EB-5 program — which was created in 1990 but has grown in popularity only over the past few years — allows overseas investors to obtain a green card in exchange for providing a minimum of $500,000 in financing for qualified projects. The explosive growth of the EB-5 program has caught the attention of real estate and project developers nationwide. Developers have been using the program to establish so-called EB-5 Regional Centers, which are essentially entities, approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) that allow a developer to raise capital from foreign immigrant investors for a specific project or projects. The total capital raised per project has ranged from $1,000,000 to over $300,000,000. As the use of EB-5 Regional Centers has expanded, the structure of EB-5 Regional Centers and underlying investments has also increased in complexity–which has allowed EB-5 capital to be used in increasingly diverse types of projects.

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