Filing the I-829 Petition to Remove Conditions

Updated: June 23, 2024

WRITTEN BY

EB-5 Insider Team

A group of professionals with years of experience helping people immigrate to the US

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. We are not providing legal advice or selling securities. The articles and content on this site are of a general informational nature only and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

The final step to acquiring your EB-5 visa is to apply for the removal of conditions to your permanent residency or green card. Your conditional permanent resident status expires after two years and cannot be renewed. EB-5 investors must submit Form I-829 to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status within the last 90 days of this two-year residency period.

EB-5 investors must submit the I-829 petition within this timeframe; otherwise, their green card may expire. Failure to file an I-829 promptly can jeopardize an investor’s permanent residency status and ultimately lead to deportation.

We’re breaking down the process of filing your I-829 petition to help streamline the EB-5 visa process and show you what to expect.

Purpose of the I-829 Petition

An I-829 petition is a document EB-5 visa investors are required to submit as part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. An EB-5 visa provides a path to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship through investment and job creation.

An EB-5 investor will complete their I-829 petition after a successful I-526 petition, providing them conditional residency for 2 years. The purpose of the I-829 petition is to remove the conditions of an EB-5 investor’s residency and make it permanent.

The I-829 petition is an 11-page form with questions regarding the investment and applicant, including the number of full-time jobs created through the investment project. An I-829 petition is only filed by the main applicant. EB-5 investors obtaining permanent residency for their spouse and children only need to mention them on their I-829 applications instead of submitting separate petitions.

An EB-5 investor must file their I-829 petition starting 90 days before the end of their two-year conditional permanent residence status. Their conditional residency will be extended while the I-829 petition is being processed. Failing to submit the I-829 petition within this 90-day timeframe could jeopardize the investor’s green card.

Required Documentation for Submitting an I-829

EB-5 investors must provide accompanying documentation as evidence that a new commercial enterprise has been established, which continued to exist during their two-year conditional residence.

The documentation must show that their capital remained’ at risk’ for at least two years after it was invested in the EB-5 project. This capital resulted in 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers for the two-year conditional residency period.

Investors must provide the following documentation to USCIS:

  • A copy of the front and back of the primary applicant’s green card, as well as that of their spouse and any qualifying children.
  • Proof of investment to show that they have made at least the required minimum amount (either $800,000 or $1,050,000). Investment agreements and bank statements can be provided as evidence.
  • Proof that the investment was ‘at risk’ throughout the conditional green card period. Tax returns, receipts, business licenses, and bank statements can be provided.
  • Proof that 10 full-time jobs were created because of the investment or will be created within a reasonable time. Investors can submit I-9 forms, tax records, and payroll documents as supporting evidence.
  • Any criminal record obtained while the individual was living in the U.S. with a conditional green card. Traffic fines do not need to be submitted if they are under $500 or only applied as points on their license.
  • Personal background information, including biometrics.

The USCIS filing fee for Form I-829 recently increased from $3,750 to $9,525 in April 2024. This fee covers the petition for the primary investor and their dependent family members. However, applicants aged 14 to 79 are charged an individual $85 fee for biometrics.

An EB-5 investor typically works with an immigration attorney throughout the visa process, particularly when preparing their I-829 application. This petition is submitted to a dedicated Service Center. When the petition is being processed, USCIS may request an in-person interview or additional information.

Timeline and Processing Times for I-829 Petition

The I-829 petition must be filed within 90 days of the investor’s green card expiration. You can submit your I-829 petition three months before the expiration date on your green card. We recommend submitting your I-829 petition as close to the start of the 90-day window as possible. Failing to submit your I-829 petition may automatically expire your green card, making you an illegal resident.

After the Form I-829 is filed, USCIS will send you a Notice of Action (Form I-797). I-829 petitions take longer to approve than the remaining validity of the conditional residency, so the receipt notice automatically extends the conditional green card’s validity for an additional 48 months or until Form I-829 is processed. EB-5 investors must carry the receipt notice with their expired conditional green card to prove their residency status.

The processing time for I-829 petitions is improving, but it can take 3 years to process. Once the I-829 petition is approved, the EB-5 investor will become a lawful permanent resident and receive a new green card that can be renewed indefinitely every 10 years. An EB-5 investor will be able to apply for U.S. citizenship five years after they first receive their conditional permanent resident status.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Several challenges can occur when submitting an I-829 petition. In 2023, 15% of I-829 petitions were denied.

These denials were because the EB-5 investor failed to create 10 full-time jobs. That’s why due diligence is crucial when choosing which project to invest in at the start of your EB-5 visa journey. You’ll want to choose a financially viable project that will likely create the necessary full-time jobs for your I-829 petition to be approved to obtain permanent residency without conditions.

Delays to I-829 Petitions

Many EB-5 investors are frustrated by the processing time for I-829 petitions. However, processing times are steadily improving due to RIA. Regulations around I-829 petitions dictate that USCIS must waive the interview requirement and adjudicate on the petition or arrange an interview within 90 days of the filing date.

USCIS will typically only issue an interview requirement if they have reasons to suspect fraud or inadmissibility. EB-5 investors should receive requests for evidence within three months of filing their I-829 petition. Submitting your I-829 petition as soon as the 90-day window opens will help speed up the process and your transition to lawful permanent residency without conditions.

Investors must maintain their investment for two years during the conditional residency period. Still, most EB-5 investors cannot redeem their contributions until their I-829 petition is processed. You’ll want to ensure you plan for potential delays, including keeping your capital at risk’ until the I-829 petition is adjudicated.

Expiration of Green Cards for Travel and Employment Authorization

One of the main challenges of the I-829 petition is that the processing time is longer than the remaining time left on an EB-5 investor’s conditional green card. Regulations mean that this scenario automatically extends green cards until the I-829 petition is adjudicated.

The USCIS will generate a receipt to prove this evidence for investors and their families. It must be carried alongside the expired green card to show evidence of lawful residency.

This receipt notice can be used on a Form I-9 to prove employment authorization. However, while it proves lawful residency, most HR departments don’t have experience reviewing such documentation, which can complicate the onboarding process. Working with an immigration attorney can help you streamline the process by explaining such documentation to your new employer.

Become a Permanent U.S. Resident with an EB-5 Visa

The easiest route to permanent residency and potential U.S. citizenship is through investment with an EB-5 visa. You can acquire a green card for a minimum investment of $800,000 into a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. citizens.

At EB-5 Insider, we work with high-net-worth individuals to simplify their path to U.S. residency and citizenship through investment. We strive to streamline the EB-5 Visa application process. Our team will help you obtain a permanent U.S. green card for yourself, your spouse, and any unmarried children under 21 for an investment of $800,000.

Start applying for an EB-5 visa today, or contact our team for more information.

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