USCIS to Immigration Agents: Must File New Form I-956K
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) enacted new rules for third-party promoters, including foreign immigration agents to promote greater transparency and protection for EB-5 investors.
RIA Requires Agent Transparency
Specifically, the RIA provides that immigration agents, finders, broker dealers (foreign and domestic) “shall comply with the rules and standards prescribed by [USCIS] and any applicable Federal or State securities laws ….” This includes:
- Agent registration with USCIS, identifying the name and contact information of the promoter and the existence of a written agreement between the agent and the Regional Center, New Commercial Enterprise or Job-Creating Entity, or Sponsor of the EB-5 project, as applicable.
- Agent certification that the agent is not ineligible under the RIA because of prior convictions of certain crimes, sanctions by financial regulatory agencies, etc.
- Agent guidelines for accurately promoting the visa process to foreign investors.
- Agent guidelines for permissible fee arrangements under applicable securities and immigration laws.
The RIA reinforces that direct and third-party promoters, including foreign immigration agents, are required to comply with U.S. securities and immigration laws. Regional Centers, NCEs, JCEs must maintain written agreements that also provide for complying with RIA rules regulating agents.
Importantly, the RIA requires that EB-5 investors sign a disclosure that reflects all fees and compensation paid by the Regional Center, NCE, or JCE to the immigration agent, finder or broker dealer involved in the offering. This fee disclosure should be included as part of the investor’s I-526E petition.
USCIS Announces Forthcoming Agent Registration Form
Both regional centers and immigration agents have been waiting for guidance from USCIS on how it would implement these new rules for agents and finders. Recently, USCIS announced that it will be publishing the new Form I-956K, Registration for Direct and Third-Party Promoters. This form will be subject to a 60-day notice and comment period to allow EB-5 stakeholders, including investors, EB-5 regional centers, attorneys, as well as agents and promoters to give USCIS feedback. See form and form instructions.
The new Form I-956K requires an agent to provide (1) the legal name of the migration agent’s entity; (2) disclosure of written agreements with any regional center, NCE or affiliated JCE, including the title of the document, the parties, and date of the agreements; and (3) bona fides of the promoter (where the agent discloses if they have been professionally disciplined for conduct related to fraud, deceit, etc. or convicted of certain criminal activity).
The form is subject to feedback during the 60-day notice and comment period. It remains to be seen how the form will be processed or if USCIS will create a publicly accessible database of registered immigration agents and third-party promoters.
Behring Values Transparency: Behring’s EB-5 Integrity Pledge
Behring understand the importance of transparency throughout the EB-5 process. Behring works only with the best and most experienced EB-5 immigration agents, finders and promoters that have in-depth knowledge of the EB-5 visa process, are experts at preparing source of funds documentation, and understand finance and real estate construction, and who are committed to clients’ long-term success.
Behring requires its immigration partners to sign Behring’s EB-5 Integrity Pledge. This EB-5 Integrity Pledge is a document exhibiting Behring’s commitment to providing and operating at the EB-5 industry’s highest level of integrity, transparency and the highest level of assurance that investors are receiving clear information to make a confident decision in choosing Behring Regional Center. Agents pledge they are providing their clients with the most accurate and up-to-date information about the EB-5 visa process and Behring-sponsored projects, disclosing their fees and compensation and describe the services they provide for the offering and their clients. They also agree to keep Behring informed about the agent’s registration with USCIS and continued compliance with the integrity measures under the RIA.