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Enhancing Compliance: USCIS Implements Yellow Book Standards for EB-5 Regional Center Audits

Starting April 23, USCIS will generally use Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), also known as the Yellow Book, to audit EB-5 regional centers.


By statute, USCIS must audit each designated regional center at least once every five years. See section 203(b)(5)(E)(vii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 

Regional center audits enhance the integrity of the EB-5 program by helping us verify information in regional center applications and annual certifications as well as associated investor petitions. 


If regional centers do not comply with the mandatory audits, USCIS will cancel the visit. Then complete the audit report using the data available and indicate that we canceled the site visit at the request of the regional center. If a regional center chooses not to consent to an audit or deliberately attempts to impede the audit, USCIS will terminate the regional center’s designation. See INA 203(b)(5)(E)(vii)(III). Noncompliance with a site visit to mean nonconsenting to an audit.


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 a negative audit result. However, we may use our 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. 


Audit Standards

By generally using the Yellow Book, audits will align with those performed by auditors of other federal, state, and local government programs. USCIS can also seek to make sure that we conduct audits uniformly across all regional centers.

Previously, performed compliance reviews, were at the discretion of the reviewer. An audit generally using GAGAS will help us assess a regional center’s compliance with applicable laws and authorities so that we can determine whether the regional center remains eligible for its regional center designation.


The Yellow Book is solely the standard for how audits are conducted. Generally using these standards does not remove the adjudication officer’s discretion in considering the results of the audit in connection with making adjudicatory decisions, nor does it create any substantive or procedural right or benefit that is legally enforceable by any party against the United States or its agencies or officers or any other person.


For convenience, USCIS has created a new EB-5 Regional Center Audits webpage for regional centers to learn more about the auditing process, including the role of the audit team, how to prepare for an audit, and participating in an audit.



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