USCIS Extends Green Card Validity for I-829 Applicants

EB-5 investors who file Form I-829 can now live and work in the United States for 48 months after filing Form I-829.

On January 23, 2023, USCIS announced that it was extending the conditional permanent resident status of EB-5 investors who file Form I-829. This measure became effective for EB-5 investors on January 11, 2023.

Petitioners who file Form I-751 for permanent Green Cards through marriage will also have their resident status extended as of January 25, 2023. The receipt notices for both Form I-829 and Form I-751 have already been updated to reflect this change.

USCIS’s new policy for I-829 applicants is expected to have a positive impact on the EB- 5 market; now, EB-5 investors can rest assured that they will be able to retain their Green Cards while their I-829 petitions are processed and not have to suspend their professional or academic pursuits in the United States. They will be able to remain in the countries along with their dependent family members.

USCIS Acknowledges its Growing Processing Times

In the press release announcing this new policy, USCIS recognizes its limited processing capacity for immigrant petitions: “We are making this change to accommodate current processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829, which have increased over the past year.”

As processing data for Form I-829 show, this is indeed the case.

During the 2022 fiscal year, USCIS received only 1,270 filings of Form I-829—a significant reduction from the 3,301 receipts in FY2021. This represents a 62% decline in I-829 filings and the lowest filing volume since FY2013.

eb5 investment

However, despite the decline in I-829 filings, USCIS only processed 1,621 petitions during FY2022. At the end of FY2022, there was a backlog of 11,150 pending I-829 forms.

USCIS recently attributed its slow processing times to a funding shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing out that petition filing fees—the agency’s main revenue source—have dwindled considerably since 2020 and are yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.

An adjustment to USCIS’s filing fees is in the offing and may grant the agency the necessary resources to increase its processing capacity.

A Beneficial Adjustment for EB-5 Investors

Form I-829 removes the conditions on an EB-5 investor’s Green Card and grants permanent resident status. Investors can now be more confident during this crucial final step of the EB-5 immigration process.

However, investors who filed Form I-829 before these changes were implemented did not receive the 48-month extension on their receipt notices. USCIS will issue new receipt notices to pending I-829 applicants. Once their Green Cards expire, these EB-5 investors can present their receipt notice as evidence of their continued conditional permanent resident status.