How soon must an EB-5 investor enter the United States after gaining their green card?

After being granted a green card, an EB-5 investor must enter the United States before its expiration, which is typically six months from the date of the card’s issuance or the investor’s consular interview. Investors are advised to enter the United States for at least a brief period during this window, after which they are permitted to return to their home country if necessary.

However, investors should be mindful that they should try not to be absent from the United States for longer than six months, as this could lead United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to raise a rebuttable presumption on their intention for permanent U.S. residence and could ultimately jeopardize the status of their green card.

Of course, some EB-5 investors are obligated to travel extensively, for even longer than six months, due to work or business commitments. The best way to mitigate any chance of having their permanent resident status compromised is to obtain a reentry permit. The reentry permit can be acquired by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. It will allow the EB-5 investor to maintain their U.S. residence status while traveling abroad for up to two years. Upon expiry, if the EB-5 investor needs to spend more time abroad, they must return to the United States and apply for a new reentry permit.

The reentry permit notwithstanding, EB-5 investors should generally avoid spending too much time abroad, as this could, from the perspective of USCIS, cast doubt on their intention for permanent residence in the United States. For EB-5 investors who need more flexibility in terms of traveling, applying for U.S. citizenship will grant them the freedom to travel without any restrictions. EB-5 investors are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship five years after being granted permanent resident status, and seven years after being granted a conditional green card.