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How USCIS Policy Changes Could Affect Your Legal U.S. Residency 

While the ​​United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has always taken time to ensure the thorough review of its green card and visa applications, recent setbacks have pushed back the USCIS application processing time to a whole new level of lethargy. 

This major backlog has put many green card holders’ legal status in the United States in jeopardy, as the USCIS could potentially fail to process a green card holder’s extension application before the green card itself expires.

Fortunately for foreign nationals concerned about receiving their green card extension in a timely manner, the USCIS has made the move to protect current U.S. green card holders from falling victim to the continued delays that’ve become expected during the renewal process. Now, green card holders that properly file Form I-751 or I-829 with the USCIS ahead of their green card’s expiration will be granted an additional 48 months on their card’s validity date, a policy change officially in force as of Jan. 25, 2023.

This comes as good news particularly to EB-5 investors, the group of foreign nationals that earned their U.S. green card through specific investment requirements, and who begin their journey as permanent residents with a short, two-year, conditional green card. Instead of receiving the typical 10-year green card, EB-5 investors initially receive a two-year conditional residency, after which they must submit Form I-829 to confirm the validity of their investment and job creation into the United States to remove the conditions on their lawful status in the US.

Unlike other green card applicants, EB-5 investors must wait for their applications to be processed through a single USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office. As of January 2023, the average wait time for Form I-829 processing at the Immigrant Investor Program Office was a whopping 61 months – more than double the amount of time granted by an EB-5 investors’ two-year conditional U.S. residency.

With the USCIS extending the validity of applicable green cards by 48 months after their expiration date, EB-5 investors can now rest easy knowing they have sufficient time to finish the final step of their immigration process and receive their permanent residency without losing their current status as a conditional resident along the way. To ensure your U.S. immigration process continues without a hitch, don’t hesitate to consult with a legal immigration expert today.

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