USCIS Updates EB5 Section of Policy Manual28 May 2018
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated the section of its online policy manual that discusses the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) immigrant investor visa program. The update clarifies that, once a petition by an entrepreneur to remove the conditions on permanent resident status (form I-829) is timely filed, the USCIS will continue to issue evidence of conditional permanent resident (CPR) status to the EB5 investor and the investor’s qualifying dependents until the I-829 is adjudicated or a final order of removal is issued.
Background on I-829 Process
After an immigrant petition by an alien entrepreneur (form I-526) is approved, the EB5 investor, the investor’s spouse, and any qualifying children can apply to become CPRs (i.e. conditional “green card” holders). The conditional green card is issued with a validity period of two years. In order to remove the conditions (i.e. be granted a permanent green card), the EB5 investor must file the completed form I-829 approximately 90 days before the conditional green card expires.
Extension of CPR Status
Once an I-829 is timely filed, CPR status generally is extended indefinitely for as long as the I-829 remains pending. For the first year, the I-829 receipt notice may be presented in conjunction with the expired conditional green card as evidence of valid CPR status. This is useful for issues like demonstrating work authorization and the ability to reenter the U.S. following a trip abroad. But, until this recent update to the policy manual, there was some ambiguity about the ability to evidence CPR status after the first year.
The Adjudicators Field Manual (AFM) included a provision that clarified that the USCIS could issue documents of continuing CPR status for cases in which the I-829 remained pending for more than one year. However, this portion of the AFM was replaced by the online policy manual in November 2016, and the policy manual was silent regarding issuing the evidence of continuing valid CPR status. This recent update reaffirms the new policy that “within 30 days of the expiration of the automatic 1-year extension, or after expiration, a conditional permanent resident with a pending form I-829 may take his or her receipt notice to the nearest USCIS field office and receive documentation showing his or her status for travel, employment, or other purposes.”
Current processing time for I-829 petitions is approximately two years, so it is helpful that the USCIS finally has updated the policy manual to clarify this matter and provide some stability to EB5 investors and dependent family members. Foreign nationals interested in learning more about the EB5 program may read the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Overview of the EB5 Immigrant Investor Category (31.May.2017). Those who require assistance with filing an EB5 petition may contact the Murthy Law Firm at EB5@murthy.com to consult with an attorney who can help guide and file the petition for the investor.
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