What is the difference between U.S. conditional permanent resident status and permanent resident status without conditions?

After successfully filing Form I-526, an EB-5 investor will be granted conditional permanent resident status. This conditional green card confers the same rights and privileges as permanent resident status: the EB-5 investor is permitted to work, live, and study anywhere within the United States. The primary differentiating feature of the conditional green card is that it is valid for only two years, after which the EB-5 investor must successfully file Form I-829 to remove the conditions from their status and be granted permanent resident status.

For EB-5 investors, a conditional green card can be acquired by receiving approval of Form I-526. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will assess the investor’s I-526 petition based on compliance with EB-5 regulations and whether all the necessary documentation has been provided to prove lawful source of funds, the eligibility of the new commercial enterprise (NCE) in which they are investing, and whether their investment capital will create the required number of jobs. If the EB-5 investor does not file Form I-829 within 90 days of the expiration of their conditional green card, their conditional permanent resident status will automatically expire, and they may face deportation.

To remove the conditions from their green card, they must file Form I-829. As with the I-526 petition, USCIS will adjudicate the investor’s I-829 petition based on continued compliance with EB-5 regulations, including evidence that their investment created the required number of jobs and that the investment remained at risk. If the petition is denied, the EB5 investor and their family may face deportation. If the petition is approved, however, the conditions will be removed from the EB-5 investor and their family’s status, and they will be granted permanent resident status.

Because most foreign nationals participate in the EB-5 program with the specific aim of obtaining permanent resident status, retaining an immigration attorney to help facilitate the process is highly recommended.