Types of Green Cards

What is the difference between “conditional” and “unconditional” green cards?

Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 Immigrant Visa receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for a two-year period. An “unconditional” or permanent green card is valid for ten years; otherwise, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.

Who receives the permanent residency?

The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 petition filing, may receive a green card.

How long must an investor remain in the United States each year?

The first requirement of any investor after receiving the visa at the United States overseas Consulate office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance from the Consulate. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home.

May an investor live overseas during the waiting period?

The investor may work overseas, if required, based upon the nature of his/her business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the United States, as a permanent resident, thereby jeopardizing green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “re-entry permit”; this allows the investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status. Children may remain in school even if the investor leaves the U.S.

What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?

There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen: the first way is being born in the U.S. or being born to a U.S. citizen; the second is by naturalization. The first step to becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for five years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is for the candidate to be physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the five years prior to the naturalization application. Once naturalized as a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits, including the right to vote and to hold public office.