The I-526 & I-829
Conditional Residency – I-526
An application for immigrant investor status is conducted through the completion and filing of a form called an I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Included in this filing are: extensive documentation recognizing the regional center or other commercial investment, the form I-526, and supporting documents, which are then submitted to the USCIS for review.
After submission of the file, three possible results may occur. Should the petition be approved, the investor and his family can then progress with filing with the embassy or consulate in their home country or with filing an adjustment of status if they are lawfully in the United States. If the application is questionable, the USCIS may issue a Request for Further Evidence (RFE) in which the investor will be required to submit further explanations and either an approval or a denial of the application will be issued. If the application is patently erroneous, it may be denied from the beginning.
Conditional residency, following consular proceedings or adjustment proceedings in the U.S., confers a two year conditional residency on the investor and the investor’s family. We like to say that it is akin to ‘marrying’ the USA and seeing if the parties like each other!
NOTE that the key to the lifting of the conditional residency will be the regional center sponsor job creation program which will demonstrate and prove the creation of ten direct and indirect employment positions filled by US employees.
Lifting of the Conditional Residency – I-829
Prior to the end of the two year conditional residency period, the investor must submit a form I-829 for the lifting of the conditional status. The primary purpose of this petition is to demonstrate that the requisite ten jobs have been created, both directly and indirectly.
NOTE that this initial two year period will count toward the five year residency period necessary for U.S. citizenship, should the bona fide residency requirements be met. Thus, it is essential that new investors ensure that they remain in the U.S. no less than six months per year in order to ultimately qualify for citizenship and to prevent re-entry problems at the border. It is highly recommended to maintain a log of entries and exits from the U.S.
The lifting of the conditional status will not require further evidence of source of funds. Rather, it will be necessary to demonstrate that the proposed project is either under development or is imminent. The government, in its review, does maintain some flexibility in this regard.
The decision to approve or deny an I-829 application may take several months. During this time, the investor will be deemed to be in status, so long as the application for lifting is submitted between the 21st and 24th month, after issuance of the initial conditional residency. It is essential that a receipt from USCIS is received prior to the expiration date to ensure a timely filing.