What Is Form I-829 and How Does it Work?

What Is Form I-829 and How Does it Work?

An EB-5 visa is only valid for two years and cannot be renewed.  Form I -829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status,  is how you maintain lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This form must be submitted within 90 days of the two-year anniversary of receiving an EB-5 visa. Form I-829 is considered the last step of the EB-5 visa process. 

If your petition is accepted, your conditional permanent resident status will automatically be extended by 18 months. You will receive a receipt to carry with your conditional permanent resident status card to prove legal resident status.. 

The form is filed with United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).  If approved, the conditions on the investor’s status will be removed and they will be granted permanent residency. The form can be filed online or by mail and requires the payment of a filing fee. 

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program 

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (also called the Regional Center Program) was created for foreign investors in 1990 to stimulate the U.S economy through job creation and investment in U.S. enterprises. In 1992, Congress passed legislation allowing EB-5 visas for entrepreneurs from abroad who established commercial enterprises that promote economic growth in the U.S. 

What is an EB-5 Visa? 

To be eligible for an EB-5 visa, foreign investors must make a minimum investment of $1.5 million (or $800,000 if the investment is made in a designated “targeted employment area”) into a United States enterprise. This amount increased in 2022 under President Joe Biden; these updated requirements will be outlined in the following section. 

Additionally, foreign investors must demonstrate that their investment will create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Foreign investors who are able to meet these requirements may be eligible for permanent residency in the United States. To do so, they have to complete Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. 

2022 Changes to the EB-5 Program  

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022–one of the most extensive reforms in this program’s history. This Act reauthorizes the Immigrant Investor Program through 2027. 

Added Protections for Current Applicants 

The biggest impact is that immigrant visas can be authorized under the EB-5 Regional Center Program through September 30, 2027. It’s an important change because in June 2021 the program wasn’t reauthorized, which left EB-5 visa holders who had already made investments in limbo. 

This new legislation brings stability to the Regional Center Program and the investors who want to pursue citizenship through this path. Now, all EB-5 visa holders who file for permanent residency on or before September 30, 2026 are guaranteed to have their applications processed even if the EB-5 Regional Center Program lapses without being reauthorized again. 

Increased Investment and Reporting Requirements 

The Act also raises the minimum investment in Target Employment Areas (TEAs) from $500,000 to $800,000 (which includes infrastructure) and non-TEAs from $1 million to $1.05 million. 

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will designate TEAs instead of States and governments determining TEAs in order to reduce cases of fraud. There are also new auditing and reporting requirements for participants in the program. 

Flexibility for Job Creation 

There is an extended window for creating jobs. This means the applicant submitting Form I-829 for a green card can be in the process of creating jobs rather than being required to secure employees for all 10 positions before pursuing permanent residency. 

Priority Processes for Investment into Target Employment Areas 

To encourage increased investment in rural areas and areas with high unemployment rates, applicants investing in these areas will receive priority processing. If you are considering making an investment to achieve an EB-5 visa status, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the program. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the program and make sure that your investment meets all of the requirements.

I-829 Supporting Documents

To successfully file an I-829 petition, the applicant must present several supporting documents to USCIS as evidence that they have fulfilled the requirements for removing the conditions on their status in order to achieve permanent resident status. 

These requirements include:

  • A copy of your conditional permanent resident card and a copy of permanent resident cards for your spouse or former spouse and each child who is also applying to remove conditions. 
  • Any criminal history since becoming a conditional permanent resident
  • Audited financial statement of the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE)
  • Bank statements for all applicants
  • Federal and state tax forms
  • Investment agreements
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Contracts
  • Business licenses
  • Federal or State income tax returns or quarterly tax statements
  • Audited financial statements
  • Payroll records
  • Forms I-9

These documents should demonstrate that you established a commercial enterprise business within two years of receiving conditional permanent resident status, created or preserved full-time jobs for at least 10 qualifying U.S. workers, and you have been actively and continuously involved in the management of the business since obtaining conditional permanent resident status. 

Instructions for Completing Form I-892

Form I-892 consists of 12 parts: 

Part 1: You’ll provide the basis for your petition and identify whether or not you are associated with the Regional Center Program.

Part 2-5: These parts contain personal information for yourself and for any family members included in the petition. You’ll document names, addresses, biographic information, and criminal history if applicable. 

Part 6:  The section is for additional information about your New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) and the Regional Center Program. You will include your initial investment, the date of the investment, all subsequent investments, and the name and address of the business. 

Part 7: You’ll identify the job creating entities (JCE). Oftentimes, the NCE and the JCE are the same, but in some cases in a Targeted Employment Area, the JCE might be a different entity or entities.  

Part 8:  In this section, you’ll identify how many direct, indirect, or induced jobs were created as a result of the new commercial enterprise. And, if 10 full-time jobs have not been created, you’ll need to identify how many jobs will be created in a reasonable timeframe. As well as whether or not you’re investing in a troubled business. 

Part 9: You’ll provide your contact information, signature, and certification. 

Part 10: If relevant, this section is where the interpreter will sign and provide their contact information. 

Part 11: If relevant, this section is for the contact information, declaration, and signature of any preparer who helps with the petition. 

Part 12: The last section is for any additional information that you want to be included in the petition. 

What to Expect During Your Interview After Filing Form I-829 

The I-829 interview is conducted by an experienced USCIS officer who will ask questions about your business and your role in it. You will need to be able to provide detailed information about your business operations, employees, and customers. You should also be familiar with the financial records of your business. 

The approval rate for an I-829 application is about 95%. However, the process is complex and time-consuming. With the help of an experienced immigration attorney, you can be confident in your application for permanent resident status. 

Timeline and Filing Fees for Form I-829

It can take several years for USCIS to make a decision on your I-829 petition. However, after you submit your petition, USCIS will send a receipt of notice to you and every applicant included on the petition. This receipt will extend your status by 18 months (formerly 12 months) and allow you to continue to work and travel as a temporary resident. You must keep this receipt with your conditional permanent resident card to prove that you are lawfully in the United States. 

The filing fee for Form I-892 is $3,750. There is an additional $85 biometric fee. Any current or former spouse and children included on the petition will each have an $85 biometric fee. You can pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. USCIS provides a fee calculator to know your expected fees for Form I-892 and others. There is no fee waiver option available for a Form I-829 petition. 

Let Our Immigration Attorney Experts Help You

At Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C., we are well-versed in the latest updates USCIS has implemented for EB-5 visa holders. If you have any questions about your visa status, how to file your form I-829 or other immigration-related topics, reach out to us today. You can call us at 213.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form.

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