Filing the Yearly I-924A
It’s the time of the year when EB-5 regional centers must review their activity over the fiscal year and submit the annual I-924A form to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”). The I-924A form is used to demonstrate continued eligibility for regional center designation.
The I-924A from was revised by USCIS towards the end of 2016. This year, regional centers must fill out a revised version of the form by December 29th. In the August EB-5 Stakeholder Webinar, USCIS officers provided a detailed presentation and discussion on the changes to the form.
Revised Requirements on Job Creation Reporting
One of the major points of discussion included updates to the reporting of job creation attributable to the regional center. The form I-924A will now request the following:
a count of all (direct, indirect, and induced) jobs created from all sponsored projects within the fiscal year under review.
In a revision from the previous I-924A form, the total count should be determined without concern for any jobs claimed by investors on a form I-526 or I-829 associated with that regional center. For example, if a project created 100 jobs in the fiscal year, then the regional center should report the total of 100 – regardless of whether an associated investor has already claimed 10 of those jobs on his/her individual petition. For a regional center with multiple projects, the count of total jobs created must be the aggregate number across all of the projects it sponsored in that fiscal period.
It is important that the job creation count is estimated specifically for the year under the reporting period. If a project’s development has spanned multiple fiscal years, then it is necessary to estimate the expenditures that were spent within solely within the stated fiscal year (similar for operations and revenue, or any other measure used to estimate job creation). The estimation of these numbers may require prorated estimates or detailed tracking of actual expenditures.
Notably, many regional centers have multiple projects and/or projects that span multiple fiscal years. USCIS instructions state that the total aggregate number, estimated from all inputs to-date from all projects, be the number reported on the I-924A form. For regional centers that may wish to include detail on the jobs created by individual projects and/or if projects create jobs over multiple years, there is space for such discussion in the form.
USCIS has instructed that the methodology used to estimate the total jobs created in the fiscal year be the same as that identified when the project was first submitted to USCIS with a form I-924 or exemplar I-526. If the project(s) under review have changed from that initial submission, then USCIS instructs that the methodology match the one that will be included in (future) forms I-829 associated with the project.
Finally, the USCIS instructions strongly emphasize that job creation counts must match and be consistent internally within the form I-924A and externally with other documents submitted to USCIS (e.g., forms I-526 or I-829).
Some of our fellow EB-5 practitioners have offered succinct summaries of the Stakeholder webinar, such as GreenbergTraurig (link) and Wolfsdorf Rosenthal (link), covering the new job creation reporting requirements and other revisions to the I-924A form, such as new fees, new information requested, and other important details. As the revised I-924A form is new and mandates a few new processes, it is to be expected that future clarification and guidance may be needed from USCIS and that new best practices may need to be established.
Take Advantage of Our Expertise
At Impact DataSource, we have completed more than 350 comprehensive EB-5 economic studies and regularly assist our regional center clients with the job creation reporting requirements for their I-924A forms. Contact us for any questions about the new form I-924A or to see how we might be able to assist you in your EB-5 project management needs: