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EB-5 Question of the Week: What is a conditional Green Card and how is it different from a permanent Green Card?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign nationals to receive lawful permanent residency in the United States for themselves and their qualifying dependents, including spouse and children under the age of 21 with an investment of $800,000 in the U.S. The first stage in the EB-5 process is submitting Form I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After the initial I-526E petition is approved, USCIS will issue a two-year conditional Green Card for the investor and their qualifying dependents. 

During the two-year period, the investor and dependents must (1) ensure that they retain their investment in the EB-5 project, (2) show their intent to reside in the United States, and (3) fulfill all residency requirements. The conditions placed on the Green Card will not hinder the investor from obtaining employment, residency, or any other benefits associated with being a U.S. Green Card holder. Therefore, the conditional Green Card is not different from the permanent Green Card from the perspective of EB-5 applicants in the sense that they can live and work in the United States and travel internationally with both Green Cards.

EB-5 applicants must file Form I-829 (Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status) with USCIS to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status. Form I-829 must be filed with USCIS within the 90-day period before the expiry of the conditional Green Card. USCIS will send a Notice of Action (Form I-797) to conditional permanent residents who properly file a Form I-829. USCIS will extend your conditional permanent resident status for six months, or until they complete processing your Form I-829, whichever is longer. The receipt provided by USCIS will serve as evidence of the extension of the conditional permanent resident status, which together with the expiring or expired conditional Green Card may be used to prove employment authorization to work in the U.S. and travel authorization to return to the U.S. after temporary foreign travel.

A conditional Green Card cannot be renewed. If you do not file Form I-829 with USCIS as required and in a timely manner, you will lose your conditional permanent resident status as of the second anniversary of the date you were granted conditional status. As a result, you will become removable from the United States. Therefore, it is imperative to work with an EB-5 expert with a wealth of knowledge on the EB-5 process who will timely advise you and file the necessary petitions with USCIS to ensure you maintain your permanent resident status.

With over ten years of experience in the EB-5 industry, our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals at The American Legal Center are laser focused on assisting families in obtaining and maintaining their permanent resident status in the United States. We are ready to assist you with your migration journey to the United States. If you are interested in finding out more about the EB-5 program, contact our team today for a free consultation.

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