EB-5 Permanent Resident Status

Permanent Resident Status through the EB-5 Investor Program

Foreign nationals who choose to participate in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program have obtaining permanent resident status in the United States as their primary goal. Approval of the I-526 petition, which is submitted towards the start of the EB-5 process, grants conditional permanent resident status to EB-5 investors for a period of two years, and investors and their families receive their green cards.

As the two-year period draws to a close, Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, must be filed before the conditional status terminates. Once the petition is approved, the conditions are removed from the permanent resident status, and the investor becomes eligible to apply for citizenship along with his or her family after a five-year waiting period.

U.S. Permanent Resident Rights and Responsibilities

Like U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents are granted many rights along with many responsibilities. Some of those rights include the following:

  • The ability to live and work anywhere in the United States
  • Full protection under all U.S. laws
  • Freedom to travel abroad. However, they must stay physically in the United States for a certain portion of the year to remain permanent residents.
  • Access to higher education and health care within the United States

Permanent residents have certain obligations that accompany their rights. These include the following:

  • Paying relevant state and federal income taxes
  • Filing income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including income obtained in other countries. Certain countries have tax treaties with the United States which allows credit to be given to immigrant investors to reduce the amount of foreign tax that has to be paid.
  • Registering with Selective Service (all males ages 18-25)
  • Maintaining good moral character
  • Meeting the physical residence requirement, which requires residents to live in the United States for at least six months out of every year. A Re-entry Permit must be obtained to return to the United States if this requirement is not met, and a returning resident visa is necessary for re-entry to the United States if travels outside the United States extend beyond two years.

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship Compared to Permanent Resident Status

While permanent residents are offered many rights and privileges as residents of the United States, there are additional opportunities available for those who have obtained citizenship status. For example, permanent residents are unable to vote or run for elected office and cannot obtain a U.S. passport. In addition, many federal jobs require citizenship, so employment opportunities for permanent residents are more limited. Government benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare are only available to U.S. citizens.

The EB-5 program provides a fast track to U.S. citizenship, as permanent residents who have gained their status from the EB-5 investor program are permitted to apply for citizenship once they have undergone a waiting period of five years from the time they first receive conditional permanent resident status.

The Rights of Permanent Residents and U.S. Citizens Side by Side

Permanent Residents

  • May live/work anywhere in the U.S.
  • Protected by U.S. laws
  • May receive higher education
  • Have access to healthcare
  • Are permitted to travel abroad
  • Cannot receive a passport
  • Cannot vote or run for office
  • Cannot receive federal benefits
  • Must meet requirements for residency

U.S. Citizens

  • May live/work anywhere in the U.S.
  • Protected by U.S. laws
  • May receive higher education
  • Have access to healthcare
  • Are permitted to travel abroad
  • Can receive a passport
  • Can vote and run for office
  • Can receive federal benefits
  • Must meet requirements for residency