Thousands of foreign investors have gone through the EB-5 investment process successfully and obtained U.S. green cards for themselves and their families. The EB-5 process takes several years, and investors must work closely with their immigration attorneys throughout every step of the process, especially when filing their visa petitions with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, is the final visa petition in the EB-5 process. The purpose of Form I-829 is to prove that an EB-5 investment and the EB-5 project have remained in compliance with USCIS regulations.
EB-5 investors are granted U.S. green cards only if USCIS approves Form I-829, so it is crucial for investors to compile their I-829 petitions carefully with the guidance of their immigration attorneys. In essence, investors filing Form I-829 must prove that an EB5 investment has been made and that the EB-5 project met the employment creation requirement.
Proving That an EB-5 Investment Was Made
Form I-829 is filed within the final 90 days of an EB-5 investor’s two-year conditional residency period. To prove that an EB-5 investment was made in a new commercial enterprise (NCE), investors must first gather evidence that an NCE was established. The evidence may include the NCE’s tax returns, contracts, legal permits, and similar documents.
Next, investors must submit evidence that they invested in this NCE. These documents can include bank or financial statements. The minimum EB-5 investment amounts are, as of June 22, 2021, $500,000 for targeted employment area (TEA) projects and $1,000,000 for non-TEA projects. All EB-5 funds must remain at risk—that is, investors must be open to profits or losses.
Proving Job Creation
Reducing unemployment is one of the main objectives of the EB-5 program. Every EB5 investment must be used to create at least 10 jobs, so Form I-829 must include documentation such as the NCE’s payroll records and tax documents. Investors should keep in mind that direct and regional center-sponsored projects have different job calculation methods: direct EB-5 projects can count only jobs that appear on the NCE’s payroll, but regional center projects can also count indirect and induced employment, which results from the EB-5 project’s positive economic impact on the community.
Besides proving that the EB-5 funds were invested and that the employment criteria were met, Form I-829 must also contain personal information. If an applicant has a criminal history or is filing as a former spouse or as the spouse or child of an investor who has died, this must be noted in the I-829 petition.
Enjoying U.S. Permanent Resident Status
Once USCIS approves Form I-829, the applicant and their qualifying family members receive permanent resident status, which allows them to live and work anywhere in the United States without restrictions. Moreover, EB-5 investors who have held permanent resident status for at least five years can apply for U.S. citizenship.
USCIS has strict evidentiary standards for EB-5 visa petitions, including Form I-829, but investors can increase their chances of approval by working with immigration counsel and an EB-5 consulting firm. EB5AN offers personalized consulting services for EB-5 investors and helps them embark on the EB-5 investment process with confidence.