Frequently Asked Questions about EB-5 Green Cards


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016The EB-5 Green Card program is an attractive immigration option for retirees, entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, students and other high net worth individuals who are able to make an investment which creates 10 jobs. An EB-5 investor can get a Green Card as fast as one who marries a U.S. citizen. Other relative petitions take 5-15 years. Employment-based Green Cards take 3-8 years.

To learn more about the EB-5 Green Card program, schedule a free consultation to speak with EB-5 Attorney Mark Ivener about your specific situation. For questions concerning U.S. tax implications, please contact a qualified, international tax attorney.

Here are answers to the most common EB-5 questions we receive.

Q: What is an EB-5 Green Card?
A: The Immigration Act of 1990 established the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program to create U.S. jobs by attracting foreign capital to the United States. Every year 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards are available. There is no quota waiting list for EB-5, except for China, unlike the H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification, and most EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant classifications where the demand far exceeds the supply. A minimum of almost at third of the 3,000 of the 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards are set aside for qualifying immigrants who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center program that targets high unemployment or rural areas across the United States.

Q: What are the Requirements for the EB-5 Green Card program?
A: The EB-5 Green Card program has three basic requirements:

  1. The alien must establish a U.S. business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990
  2. The alien must have invested $1 million (or only $500,000 when investing in a targeted employment area) in the business
  3. The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers


Q: Who Qualifies for an EB-5 Green Card?
A: Qualified EB-5 candidates must be able to invest either $1 million or $500,000 in a U.S. business, depending on the program selected. Ideal EB-5 prospects include but are not limited to:

  • Retirees
  • Entrepreneurs, including those who don’t qualify for an E-2 visa
  • Investors from non-treaty countries
  • CEO/Managers of a U.S. company who are not an L-1 transferee
  • Doctors who have not passed USMLE 1, 2 and 3
  • F-1 student who wants to start a business
  • Foreign national investors in a U.S. business who do not want to be active in the business
  • Individual owners of a non-U.S. business who want to set up a U.S. business, but who cannot use an L-1 because owner intends to close the foreign business
  • L-1 applicants from China with cases under Consular investigation
  • Parents who seek a U.S. education for their children, but do not want to be actively involved in business management


Q: What is the “Direct Investment” EB-5 program?
A: In order for an applicant to qualify under the EB-5 Direct Investment program, the following three basic requirements must be met:

  1. Investment in a new commercial enterprise
  2. Investment of at least $1 million into the business, or $500,000is acceptable if the business is situated in a “targeted” employment area (TEA), i.e., one that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area.
  3. Creation of employment for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.

The investment may consist of various forms of capital, such as cash (including a gift or loan), equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents.


Q: What are Regional Centers?
A: Regional Centers are entities, organizations or agencies that focus on a specific geographic area within the United States in order to promote economic growth there. Most Regional Centers are in targeted employment areas, i.e., areas that have an unemployment rate that is at least 1.5 times higher than the national average. Regional Centers are designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). The Centers do not guarantee profit or the return of an investor’s principal investment.

The CIS has currently designated over 700 Regional Centers located throughout the country. Regional Center opportunities range from investing in real estate projects to dairy farms. Click here for a full list of approved Regional Centers.


Q: What are the Benefits of Using Regional Center projects?
A: Every year, a minimum of almost at third of the 3,000 EB-5 Green Cards are set aside for immigrants who are willing to make an investment in an approved Regional Center. Benefits include:

  • Generally less up-front investment capital is needed ($500,000 versus $1 million USD)
  • No day-to-day management required
  • The 10 jobs created from the investment can be direct or indirect
  • The investor can live and work anywhere in the U.S.
  • The investor can be retired

There are currently over 700 Regional Centers available for selection. EB-5 immigration attorney Mark Ivener is available to discuss the different centers when you schedule a free consultation.


Q: How Long Does it Take to Get an EB-5 Green Card?
A: The entire Immigration process generally takes about [EB-5-proctime] years, depending on where the Green Card processing occurs. Prior to filing the I-526 petition, time is required for the client to conduct a due diligence, obtain source of funds documentation, and make the investment. I-526 adjudication currently takes about 6-15 months.

Generally, after the I-526 is approved, if an individual is in lawful status in the U.S., he/she can apply for Adjustment of Status (I-485) to Conditional Permanent Residence which currently takes about 16-24 months. If out of the United States, will apply for an Immigrant Visa at a home country Embassy or Consulate, which typically takes about 4-8 months or longer depending on the country. Times may vary depending on the facts of each case.

For more details and an overview flowchart regarding processing times, please see our information on EB-5 services.

Contact us to talk about the best EB-5 option for you.


Q: How Much Needs to be Invested to Get an EB-5 Green Card?
A: The general investment amount is $1 million for the EB-5 program. Alternatively, $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a specially designated high unemployment or rural area. The money can be the investor’s own funds or in the form of a loan or gift, which would allow a parent to gift funds to a son or daughter. The investment may consist of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents.

Schedule a free consultation with immigration attorney Mark Ivener. Your total investment will vary with your investment choice, your due diligence, and other factors.


Q: What are the Steps to Getting an EB-5 Green Card?
A: Schedule a free consultation with Mark A. Ivener to discuss the following steps in achieving your immigration goals.

  1. Confirm the source and availability of funds available for your EB-5 business investment.
  2. Conduct due diligence on your preferred business investment.
  3. Once you approve the selected business, we will advise you regarding your capital investment.
  4. Now you are ready to file your petition as an alien entrepreneur with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). We help you petition the CIS to certify your eligibility for EB-5 status.
  5. Once you are approved, we help you file for an Adjustment of Status or Immigrant Visa.
  6. When you are granted conditional resident status, a wait period of 21-24 months commences to verify that the full investment has been made and 10 jobs created.
  7. We help you file an application (Form I-829) to remove conditional resident status at the specified time.
  8. A full Green Card is granted for indefinite permanent resident status and work permission in the U.S. once conditional resident status is removed.
  9. Ivener & Fullmer will assist you throughout the entire EB-5 application process. Schedule a free consultation to start today.


Q: How many EB-5 Green Cards are Available?
A: Every year 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards are available. There is no quota waiting list for EB-5, unlike H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification, and most EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant classifications where the demand far exceeds the supply.

A minimum of almost a third of the 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards (3,000) are set aside for qualifying immigrants who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center program that primarily targets designated high unemployment areas across the United States.


Q: How Can I Get Started with an EB-5 Application?
A: Don’t delay. Apply now to establish permanent U.S. residency.

The EB-5 and Business Immigration law firm of Ivener & Fullmer has helped many immigrants establish U.S. permanent residency through EB-5 investments. Schedule a free consultation with EB-5 immigration attorney Mark Ivener or contact us to learn more.


Q: What qualifies IVENER & FULLMER as a nationally recognized law firm for EB-5 Green Card applications?
*DISCLAIMER:

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each representation. Nothing on these pages should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice, please contact one of our attorneys.

  • Chambers Global 2014 and Chambers USA 2014:

“This full-service firm is highly regarded in the market, particularly in the EB-5 investor category and for representing companies and individuals in the entertainment industry.”

Mark Ivener advises clients on immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas and compliance. Market sources say he is “a legend in the EB-5 category” and that “his reputation is stellar.”Chambers USA 2014

“Mark Ivener is based in Los Angeles and has an excellent reputation particularly in the area of EB-5 investor visas.”Chambers Global 2014

  • Chambers USA 2013 states:

“Mark Ivener is ‘exceptional, very thoughtful, very inciteful and extremely knowledgeable,’ according to informants. He offers a range of immigration services and is deeply involved in work related to the EB-5 investor category.”

  • Chambers USA 2012 states:

“‘Personable, responsive and knowledgeable’, ‘Mark Ivener is noted for his work on the EB-5 investor scheme. He represents a number of regional centers which advise foreign investors.’”

  • Chambers USA 2011 states:

“Mark Ivener provides particular assistance to persons of extraordinary ability in the field of entertainment. He is described as ‘one of the premier immigration lawyers in the state; he operates at the absolute cutting edge and has the ability to provide highly creative solutions to the most complex of problems.’ Both Ivener and David Fullmer are highly skilled in the arranging of EB-5 investor visas. Sources single out Fullmer’s ‘proactive approach to client concerns; he is responsive, personable and really knowledgeable.’”

  • Chambers Global 2011 states:

“Mark Ivener of Ivener & Fullmer LLP is a ‘phenomenal lawyer who is not only technically brilliant, but someone who really cares about his clients.’ He has particular expertise in EB-5 investor visas and also advises corporate clients on compliance issues. He has obtained visas for multinational clients throughout China, Japan, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.”

  • Chambers USA 2010 states:

“Mark Ivener is one of the best immigration lawyers out there – proactive, enterprising and looking out for the best interests of his clients.” He is particularly skilled with EB-5 investor visas.”

  • Chambers Global 2010 states:

“According to sources, Mark Ivener of Ivener & Fullmer LLP is ‘phenomenal: responsive, creative and easy to work with.’ His investor visa practice receives most praise, with clients highlighting his ability to ‘always come up with solutions to difficult problems.”

Mark A. Ivener

Mark A. Ivener

EB-5 Presentations by Immigration Attorney Mark Ivener:

Mr. Ivener speaks frequently on EB-5 Green Cards and immigration investment programs. His past and future lectures on U.S. immigration law include presentations for the following organizations:

  • “International Investors and California Wineries GW”, Peninsula Beverly Hills, November 6, 2014.
  • “EB-5 Investor Green Cards”, Destination Los Angeles, Arcadia Association of Realtors, Pasadena, California, Thursday October 2, 2014.
  • “Advanced – Best Practices for Investor Filings”, panel at the Southern California EB-5 Conference, Newport Beach, California, Monday July 15, 2013.
  • “Joint – Overview of USCIS Policy Memo”, panel at the Southern California EB-5 Conference, Newport Beach, California, Monday July 15, 2013.
  • “EB-5 for Investors”, EB-5 Investment Visa Match-Making Forum, City of Industry, California, Friday April 19, 2013.
  • “The EB-5 Summit for Attorneys and Developers” for ILW.com, September 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Ivener gave a speech on “Ethics—How to Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Professional Liability Insurance Considerations”.
  • “ABIL U.S. Investment Visas and Green Cards for Foreign Nationals: SESSION 1: Visa options for individual investors” ABIL Webinar, Wednesday, April 13, 2011, Mr. Ivener gave presentation on Due Diligence for Regional Center EB-5 Green Card cases.
  • “EB-5 Investor Green Cards,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, EB-5 Seminar, March 20, 2010, Los Angeles, California, Mr. Ivener will give EB-5 investor Green Card presentation.
  • “EB-5 Regional Center Investments,” National Regional Economic Development Center Chinese Business Summit, January 4, 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada, Mr. Ivener was the main speaker.
  • “Investors for Experts,” ILW.com Seminar, Los Angeles, California, December 17, 2009, on a panel of speakers.
  • “EB-5 Regional Center Investments,” NREDC, July 23, 2009, Bangkok, Thailand. Mr. Ivener was the main speaker.
  • “Commercial Real Estate Purchases in the United States & the EB-5 Green Card,” Thai Appraisal Foundation, Monthly Forum, July 21, 2009, Bangkok, Thailand. Mr. Ivener was the main speaker.
  • “Immigration Law Practice Success – EB-5 Marketing,” American Immigration Lawyers Association Annual Conference, June 5, 2009. Mr. Ivener was a participant on a panel discussion.
  • “Interactive Multi-Jurisdictional Planning for Immigration and Expatriation Visas and EB-5.” The 2nd Annual STEP Pacific Rim Conference, May 8, 2009, Los Angeles, California. Mr. Ivener participated in discussion on immigration EB-5 residency and domicile changes.
  • “Growing Your Practice in a Time of Chaos: EB-5 Marketing Options,” American Immigration Lawyers Association 2009 Midyear Conference, January 19, 2009, Aruba.
  • “EB-5 Immigrant Investors: Here and Now,” ILW.com Seminar, November 20, 2008.
  • “Foreign Nationals Who Should Consider EB-5 Regional Centers” and “Due Diligence Compliance and EB-5 Legal Issues,” Florida EB-5 Foreign Investor Seminar, October 24-25, 2008, Orlando, Florida.
  • “Investor Visas Workshop EB-5,” ILW.com Seminar, New York, New York, December 7, 2007.
  • “Investor Visas Workshop EB-5,” ILW.com Seminar, Orlando, FL, June 13, 2007.
  • “Immigration For Investors: NIVs and IVs EB-5,” ILW.com Seminar, August 24, 2006.

Books and EB-5 and Business Immigration Articles by Immigration Attorney Mark Ivener:
The Los Angeles-based EB-5 Green Card attorney Mark Ivener is a prolific immigration law author. His books on immigration law include:

  • Handbook of Immigration Law, with David Fullmer
  • Doing Business in the USA under Free Trade
  • Get the Right Visa
  • A Complete Guide to Getting an American Visa (in Japanese)
  • Have You Thought about Immigrating to the U.S.? (in Spanish)

In addition, Mr. Ivener writes frequently on Visas and EB-5 investment immigration topics. Representative articles by Mr. Ivener include:

  • “EB-5 Investor Green Cards”, Mark Ivener, Partner, Sam Ngo, Immigration Attorney, Ivener & Fullmer and Gary Wolfe, International Tax Lawyer, The Wolfe Law Group, Los Angeles, USA, Offshore Investment Magazine, November 2014.
  • “EB-5 Investor Visa and U.S. Tax Issues”, Mark Ivener & Gary S. Wolfe, Article—The Practical Tax Lawyer, Fall 2013
  • “M&A and Immigration” – An article by Mark Ivener discussing how deals can affect key workers’ visa status and how immigration compliance remains an often overlooked aspect of M&A due diligence. (Acquisition International, August 2012)
  • “International Corporate Immigration Review” – Published in InterContinental Finance, September 2010.
  • “Lawyer, Know Thyself: Fundamental Tips for Building a Strong Brand and a Strong Practice” – Published in Law|Practice (Sept/Oct, 2010)
  • “Fast Track Green Cards through Investment” – An article by Mr. Mark Ivener published in Immigrant Magazine in February 2009.

To learn more about the EB-5 Green Card program, schedule a free consultation with EB-5 Green Card attorney Mark Ivener. Your total investment will vary with your investment choice, your due diligence, and other factors.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20-minute phone consultation (800) 251-8883