Residence in United States:


U.S. permanent residence in United States is an immigration status that authorizes immigrants to permanently live and work in the United States. Foreign immigrants who obtain lawful residence in United States are given a permanent resident card, which is also known as a green card. EB-5 visa applicants become permanent residents after their I-526 application has been approved by USCIS. However, they become conditional two year permanent residents instead of full permanent residents at this step of the EB-5 visa process (See EB-5 Process Timeline Here). This enables the applicant to come to the United States to oversee their EB-5 investment for a two year period. At the end of this period, the investor then applies for full permanent residency by filing the I-829 application. Once this application is accepted, the investor, their spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21 can permanently live and work in the United States for the rest of their lives. They are also given the option to apply for full U.S. citizenship after five years.


Rights of those with Permanent Residence in United States (green card holders):


Those who hold permanent residence in United States, also known as green card holders, are afforded many rights. Permanent residents can permanently live and work anywhere within the United States, thus, permanent residents can choose to live and work in any U.S. state that they desire. Permanent residents are fully protected by all federal, state and local U.S. laws.


They also have access to one of the best higher education systems in the world and may be able to avoid international fees at colleges and universities. By living in the United States, permanent residents also have close access to world-class medical care. If they wish, permanent residents can also travel outside of the United States at any point during their permanent residency period. They also have the right to become U.S. citizens if they choose to do so, although this is not a requirement of permanent residency.


Permanent residency rights


  1. Ability to live and work anywhere in United States
  2. Full protection of local, state and federal U.S. laws
  3. Access to world-class higher education system
  4. Access to world-class medical care
  5. Ability to travel outside of the United States
  6. Option to obtain U.S. citizenship


Conditional Permanent Residence:


To ensure the job requirements are met a two-year conditional permanent residence status is given to EB-5 investors and their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children). Conditional permanent residents have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as permanent residents, but must apply to remove the conditions prior to the end of the two-year period.


The petition to remove the conditions must be filed within 90 days prior to the second anniversary of the EB-5 holder's lawful admission as a permanent resident. If the application is not submitted during this period the conditional resident's status will be automatically terminated and removal proceedings will be initiated.


The application to remove the conditions must include documents showing that:


  1. A commercial enterprise was established.
  2. The person invested the proper amount of capital.
  3. Ten (10) full-time jobs have been created as a result of the investment.
  4. The capital invested was lawfully gained.
  5. He or she "sustained the actions required for removal of the conditions" during his or her residence in the United States. An alien entrepreneur will have met this requirement if he or she has "substantially met" the capital investment requirement and has continuously maintained this investment during the conditional residence period.


The USCIS will examine the business to determine whether the investor has complied with all of the established requirements.


The entrepreneur's residence may be terminated at the end of the two-year period or earlier if it is found that the business was not established or was established solely to evade immigration laws, or that the requirements were otherwise violated. Otherwise, the foreign investor and his/her family will be granted full permanent residence.


Responsibilities of those with Residence in United States:


In addition to being afforded expanded rights, those with residence in United States must also fulfill many responsibilities. They must pay all applicable taxes, just as U.S. citizens must. This means that permanent residents must file income tax returns with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This taxation is based on the permanent resident’s gross worldwide income.


However, immigrants from countries that have a tax treaty with the United States can get credit for payment of foreign taxes. Green card holders must also pay all applicable state taxes. Like U.S. citizens, male permanent residents between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with Selective Service. Registering with Selective Service makes these men eligible to be drafted into the U.S. military in the event that the United States goes to war. Permanent residents must also be of good moral character.


Permanent residency responsibilities

  1. Pay applicable local, state and federal taxes
  2. Register* with Selective Service (males, 18-25)
  3. Demonstrate good moral character
  4. Fulfill physical presence requirements


*Registering with Selective Service does not mean that you have to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces


Permanent Residency vs. Citizenship:


U.S. citizenship and permanent residency are not the same. Those with residence in the United States (Permanent residents) are not permitted to hold U.S. passports. Rather, permanent residents remain nationals of their home country of citizenship. U.S. permanent residents are not permitted to vote in U.S. elections or run for office. Citizens may have an easier time bringing family members to the United States and have greater access to federal jobs. U.S. citizens are also eligible for more federal assistance and benefits programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Permanent residents are subject to physical residence requirements whereas U.S citizens are not.


For instance, permanent residents may lose their residency status if they remain outside of the U.S. for over a year without obtaining the proper reentry permit; if they obtain a reentry permit but do not get a returning visa after two years; if they move to another country with the intention of permanently living there; or if they fail to file federal tax returns while living overseas for any period of time. In order to enjoy the rights of full citizens, permanent residents must file for U.S. citizenship through USCIS. Permanent residents are typically able to file for full citizenship after being in the United States for a period of five years.