U.S. Investment-Based Immigration Process
In order to qualify for an investment-based U.S. green card, a foreign national invest either $1,000,000USD or $500,000USD into an American commercial enterprise, and this investment must create 10 new full-time employment positions.
After the investment is made, the investor files an application called the I-526 Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application contains detailed information about the investor, the source of the investment funds, the commercial enterprise, and how the investor will create the necessary 10 new jobs.
Once USCIS approves the I-526 Petition, the investor and qualifying family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old) will receive their green cards.
What Happens After I Receive My Investment-Based Green Card?
A foreign national who obtains an investment-based green card receives a conditional green card that is valid for two years. With this green card, the investor can work and travel without restrictions while the card is valid.
During the 90-day period before the card expires, the investor must file an I-829 Petition with USCIS and ask USCIS to remove the conditional basis of the green card, thereby making the investor a permanent resident of the United States. It is very important to file the I-829 Petition during the aforementioned 90-day period because at the end of that period, the investor’s green card automatically expires and the investor could be deported. (However, the investor cannot file the I-829 Petition early. USCIS must receive the petition during the 90-day period).
What Does the I-829 Petition Include?
The I-829 Petition must include proof that the investor sustained the investment throughout the two year period. This aspect is typically proven by submitting the commercial enterprise’s tax returns, audited financial statements, and bank account statements.
Additionally, the petition must also include proof that the investment created the necessary 10 new jobs for U.S. workers. This part of the petition is very important and must be documented clearly and carefully. Investors usually include copies of employees’ tax documents such as Form I-9s, Form W-2s, as well as payroll documents and paystubs.
What Happens After USCIS Receives the I-829 Petition?
After USCIS receives the I-829 Petition, the petition is assigned to an officer for review. Reviewing a petition usually takes several months. During this time, USCIS will provide the investor with a receipt notice that proves the investor filed the petition. The receipt notice automatically extends the investor’s green card for one year (to give USCIS time to review the petition) and allows the investor to continue to work in the country and travel outside of the United States.
After USCIS approves the I-829 Petition, the investor becomes an unconditional permanent resident with no conditions and may continue to live and work in the United States. After three years, the investor may apply for citizenship
What Does an Attorney Do for the I-829 Petition?
Because the I-829 Petition is the last step to obtaining unconditional permanent residence, the majority of investors hire an attorney to prepare and file the petition. Attorneys are experts in the laws that govern what is needed for the I-829 Petition, and they are able to organize and explain the included documents to make sure USCIS knows the investor met the requirements for the unconditional green card.