Investors participating in the EB5 visa program can expect to receive two green cards throughout the EB5 process. The first EB5 green card they will receive is a conditional green card that is valid for two years. If all program conditions are met during this period, the investor can apply to remove the conditions from their green card to gain permanent U.S. residency. Learning more about this process can help investors understand the differences between the two green cards, the conditions associated with them, and the steps they need to take to get each one.
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Understanding the Conditional Green Card
The first EB5 green card an investor can get is a conditional green card. After selecting an EB5 project and providing the required investment money, the investor can petition for a conditional green card. This process involves having an immigration attorney file form I-526E for the investor. If approved, the investor, their spouse, and any unmarried children under 21 are granted conditional permanent residency. This green card status is valid for two years.
The conditional green card allows investors to demonstrate that they have invested the required capital and created or preserved at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within the two years. The minimum investment amount is $1,050,000 or $800,000 if made in a targeted employment area. If the investor meets these requirements, they can petition to remove the conditions on their green cards.
Removing Conditions To Achieve Permanent Residency
To convert the conditional green card into a permanent one, investors must file form I-829. An immigration attorney can file this petition 90 days before the conditional green card expires. To file form I-829, the investor should provide the following documentation:
- Proof that the investment capital was sustained throughout the two-year period of conditional residency.
- Evidence that the investment created or preserved 10 full-time jobs.
- Documentation that demonstrates the fulfillment of program requirements. If the investor invested in a regional center, the regional center is typically responsible for providing this documentation.
If form I-829 is approved, the conditions of the green card are removed. This is the second EB5 green card that investors can receive throughout the process, granting the investor and their family unconditional permanent residency in the United States. The permanent green card is valid for 10 years. The holder can renew it when needed.
Maintaining Permanent Residency Status
Investors should maintain the following standards to keep their permanent residency status:
- Maintaining Continuous Residence in the United States: Maintaining a physical presence in the U.S. and avoiding prolonged absences can help you maintain your permanent residency status.
- Upholding Tax Obligations: Permanent residents must comply with U.S. tax obligations. This applies to their worldwide income.
- Avoiding Criminal Activities: Engaging in serious criminal activities can lead to loss of permanent residency status and possible deportation.
Once an investor has held their green card for five years, they are eligible to become a citizen through naturalization. The same standards that apply to permanent residents also apply to those who want to become a citizen.
Get an EB5 Green Card Through the EB5 Visa Program
Investors can receive two green cards through the EB5 visa program, the first being a two-year green card that grants conditional residency. If the investment was sustained and 10 jobs were created or preserved, then the investor is eligible to remove the conditions on their green card. This new green card grants permanent residency, and the investor can apply for citizenship after five years. Both green cards allow the investor to live, work, and travel freely from the United States. Contact a certified regional center today to learn more about the process of receiving an EB5 green card.