Will divorce affect the permanent resident status of an EB-5 investor’s spouse?
Provided the EB-5 investor and their spouse have already acquired conditional green cards, divorce will not affect the spouse’s lawful resident status or their ability to file Form I-829 for removal of conditions. Once lawful permanent residency has been attained, the spouse of the EB-5 investor is no longer tied to the EB-5 process and so divorce will not have any adverse consequences.
If the EB-5 investor’s spouse holds a conditional green card, they may choose to remain attached to the EB-5 investor’s I-829 petition after the divorce or file their own. Once an Permanent Resident Card has been obtained, it is important to remember to replace the card should it ever become lost or stolen. This can be done by filing Form I-90.
Filing Form I-829
After divorce, the EB-5 investor’s former spouse may remain attached to the principal applicant’s I-829 petition or file their own. If filing a separate petition, the former spouse must acquire the necessary documentation and information for the highest chance of approval.
While the required documentation for each I-829 petition is unique to each EB-5 investor’s situation, a general overview of expected evidential documents is as follows: proof of conditional permanent resident status, proof that the requirements of the EB-5 program have been in regards to the EB-5 investor’s qualifying investment, establishment of a new commercial enterprise (NCE) and creation of the required number of jobs, and up to date records if the applicant has a criminal history.
Applying for U.S. Citizenship
If the divorce occurs after approval of Form I-829, there are no repercussions as the former spouse’s permanent resident status is now independent of the EB-5 investor. After five years of maintaining lawful permanent resident status, the former spouse may apply for U.S. citizenship. To become naturalized, the former spouse must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and receive approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They must also attend an interview and biometrics appointment, pass an English language and U.S. civics test and provide evidence of a clean criminal record.