The EB-5 program, also known as the Million Dollar Green Card, allows investors to obtain a Green Card if they invest either $900,000 or $1,800,000 in business or projects that will create 10 full time jobs. To learn more about the program, please click here.
The application process involves several steps. After the initial application, Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, is approved, the investor and any dependent family members on the application will receive a conditional Green Card. A conditional Green Card is only valid for two years. Within 90 days of the card’s expiration, the investor must file a Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. It’s only after the Form I-829 is approved will the investor receive the unconditional permanent residence status and a ten-year Green Card. If the investor fails to submit this before the conditional Green Card expires, their permanent residence status will be terminated.
The EB-5 program is currently retrogressed for China and Vietnam where nationals will have to wait years for a Green Card to become current. India is also expected to become retrogressed. As such, some have searched for other options. One of these options is for nationals to try to use an E-2 visa. You can find out more about an E-2 visa by clicking here.
What Happens After the Form I-829 is Submitted
After the Form I-829 is submitted, USCIS will issue a receipt. This receipt should include the names and information of the investor and the dependent applicants that are included in the Form I-829 petition. This receipt is very important as it is the only proof the investor has that application has been submitted.
On this receipt, USCIS has included language that states that the investor and their family’s permanent residence status has been automatically extended for one year and retain all of the rights and privileges given by the Green Card. Use the receipt and the expired Green Card along with a passport to travel internationally.
What Happens After the One Year?
Current, Form I-829 application are taking around 25 months to be approved. After the one-year extension that is granted by the receipt passes, the investor and their family must book an Infopass appointment at an USCIS field office to get a I-551 stamp. InfoPass, Information Services Modernization Program, is a free online service that allows individuals to schedule an appointment with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) immigration officer at any of USCIS’ field offices. For information on how to book an Infopass appointment, please click here.
At the Infopass appointment, the investor will present their passports, expired Green Card, and the I-829 receipt, and receive the I-551 stamp in their passports. The stamp will state that the permanent residence status of the holder of the passport will be extended and they can continue to reside and travel with the expired Green Cards. The length of extension given by the stamp is usually one year, although the USCIS officer in charge has the discretion to give less time. The investor must continually receive new stamps until the I-829 is approved and the Unconditional Green Card is received.
What Happens If You Don’t Receive the I-829 Receipt and the Green Card has Already Expired?
Currently, there is a system wide delay in mailing out receipts. The reported wait times for the I-829 receipt can be up to half a year. Given that the I-829 application can only be submitted within 90 days of the Green Card expiring, with a half year wait, the investor’s Green Card will undoubtedly expire.
In order to travel and work as normal without the receipt and an expired Green Card, the investor can still book an Infopass appointment with USCIS to receive the I-551 stamp. Evidence that the I-829 application has been submitted without the receipt can be found on the back of the check that was submitted with the application. When USCIS cashes a check, they will stamp the receipt number on the back of the check. When looking up the receipt number, USCIS officers will be able to find the name of the investor, the application type, and when it was submitted. This should be sufficient evidence to grant a temporary extension. However, this extension will usually be much shorter than the one year that is usually given, sometimes as short as 3 months. In this case, if you wish to travel in and out there is little else to do other than going back to the USCIS field office and continuously extending the stamp every time it is about to expire.
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