What documents will an EB-5 investor with a pending I-485 need at a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoint?

EB5 investors residing within the United States at the time of I-526 petition approval can file Form I-485 to apply for a conditional green card. Investors planning to travel within the United States with a pending I-485 petition are advised to check with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure they will have the proper documentation. This can include the investor’s passport, I-485 receipt notice, employment authorization document (EAD), and travel document.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses numerous types of Form I-797, Notice of Action, to communicate with petitioners or convey an immigration benefit. Form I-797 is not a form that investors can fill out; it is issued solely by USCIS to notify investors of certain actions regarding their case. After USCIS receives an investors I-485 petition, it will generally issue a receipt notice 2-3 weeks later.

When filing Form I-485 to apply for a conditional green card, an EB5 investor can also concurrently apply for an EAD and a travel document. To apply for an EAD, one must file Form I-765. Also known as a work permit, investors use EADs to prove to potential employers that they are eligible for employment. To apply for a travel document, an investor must file Form I-131. A travel document allows an investor with a pending I-485 petition to travel outside of and re-enter the United States without risking their conditional residency status. Form I-765 and Form I-131 both have filing fees, but these are not required if an investor files them with their I-485 application.

It is beneficial for an EB5 investor to obtain their EAD and travel document as soon as possible. These allow them to travel and work before receiving their conditional green card. However, these applications can take months to fully process. If an investor needs to travel through a CBP checkpoint before they receive any of the aforementioned documentation, it is still possible they will be approved. An investor may only need their I-485 receipt notice and I-526 approval notice.