If the principal applicant abandons his or her I-829 petition, what happens to the immigrant status of derivative beneficiaries?

A principal applicant who abandons their I-829 petition loses the opportunity to renew their conditional green card and acquire permanent resident status. This consequence extends to any derivative beneficiaries on the petition, specifically the EB-5 investor’s direct family, including spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21. The primary petitioner’s abandonment of the I-829 petition would prevent any derivatives from applying separately, and their conditional permanent resident status would be terminated at the end of the two-year period, without the chance to adjust their immigration status. As a result, the petitioner and their family would either need to leave the United States or acquire a different visa to remain in the United States.

In some cases, the principal applicant deliberately withdraws their I-829 petition. However, there can be situations in which the applicant unintentionally abandons their I-829 petition. This is usually the result of an EB-5 investor being absent from the United States for too long.

A green card holder, whether conditional or permanent, must have the intent to permanently reside in the United States and be able to provide evidence of this intent. While EB-5 investors are permitted to have multiple residences outside of the United States, their US residence must be their primary home. In addition, they must have significant ties to the United States, such as family living in the United States, a primary residence, employment, tax returns, bank accounts, and so forth.

Though EB-5 investors are generally advised to avoid traveling abroad for longer than six months, sometimes being overseas is unavoidable due to work obligations. To avoid having their status compromised, the investor should obtain a reentry permit, which would allow them to travel abroad and prove they have no intention of abandoning their U.S. permanent resident status.

If a green card holder is unable to provide sufficient evidence of ties in the United States and their absences have been seen as unjustifiably lengthy, they risk being judged as having abandoned their status. Thus, it is critical for EB-5 investors with conditional green cards to take the necessary precautions to protect their permanent resident status.