After your visa is approved by USCIS your case enters consular processing (CS). Depending on the consulate this process can take 3-6 months in itself. Once the consulate approves and issues your visa, you will have 6 months to enter with that visa.
Upon approval of the I-526 petition, you must act on the second step (consular processing of your Immigrant Visa) within 1 year to avoid National Visa Center terminating your case. Once your consular interview is scheduled at the US embassy in your home country (takes on average 3-6 months), then you will receive an Immigrant Visa in your passport. This visa is only valid for 6 months to enter the US. It is recommended that you act upon the above process without delay, receive your conditional green card upon entry to the US, and then go back to wind up your affairs abroad. If you plan to stay outside the US for longer than 1 year, you must obtain a reentry permit; otherwise, you risk abandoning permanent residence in the US. Permanent residents are required to pay US income tax on their worldwide income.
They should not delay entering into the U.S. after they receive their conditional immigrant visa because the laws and investors'' circumstances may change (such as their child becomes aged out, etc.). They should come to the U.S., obtain their green cards, and they can literally go right back to their country and finish up their affairs. If they expect to be out of the U.S. for a long time (such as to close out businesses, to sell off assets, finish studies), they can apply for re-entry permits (Travel Documents) while in the U.S., which would allow them to stay outside the U.S. for up to 2 years at a time. By doing so, they have obtained their green cards, and don''t have to worry that laws and circumstances could change, which could possibly void their visas.
Once the investor''s I-526 petition is approved, the investor will need to complete the actual immigrant visa processing. If the goal is to delay issuance of the immigrant visa and entry in legal permanent resident status, then the investor may consider holding off on completing that immigrant visa process and time the second part to fall in line with what the ultimate goal is. The investor should take action and move forward with the second part within one year of the I-526 approval to avoid the National Visa Center closing out the file. If completing the immigrant visa process from abroad through consular processing at the U.S. embassy, once the investor moves forward with that part, it can take several months to complete the entire process and be issued the immigrant visa. Once the immigrant visa is issued, the investor has six months to enter the U.S. as a conditional legal permanent resident. The strategy with timing and delaying issuance of the immigrant visa and entry to the U.S. should include analysis of how this will impact when the 2 year conditional residence will start, the timeline of the investment project, and when you will have to file the I-829 removal of conditions and timelines for exit strategies.
The final step is an interview in the US embassy which is generally held in your country. Upon approval at the interview, your passport will be taken, your status as a US conditional permanent resident will be placed in it and will be returned to you within 2 weeks, generally. You can enter, and depart from, the U.S. as many times as you choose. Your status as a US permanent resident is good for 2 years. After 2 years you will file to remove the condition and, upon approval, will receive a 10 year permanent resident card. It is assumed that you will identify your place of residence in the U.S. upon arrival, if not before. If you choose to be absent from the US for more than 6 months at any time, you will need to obtain permission to return to your US permanent residence. If you are out of the US for more than 6 months and do not obtain the permission to return document, you will loose your permanent resident status by law. You must be present in the U.S. to file for permission to return.
In sum, if you do not enter the US for a period of more than 6 months, at any time, you will loose your US permanent resident status. In that regard, the delay may not exceed 6 months. Several of our clients have obligations outside the U.S. They enter, establish their permanent residence (for example: rental, with a relative, with an employer), file for the document permitting an absence of more than 6 months, wait for his or her fingers to be printed and then leave for some months. In some circumstances the wife and children remain in the U.S. to attend school. Sometimes the family leaves for an extended period of time because the children are in school in another country. There are many possibilities. I would enjoy working with you to see if your specific needs can be easily met.
Usually, once the I-526 is approved, USCIS sends the approval to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC then sends the investor a list of documentation that must be submitted. Once the evidence is received, the investor will receive his appointment to receive his residency at the US Embassy. Then, when the investor goes to his appointment at the embassy, he or she will get a stamp on their passport that will be valid for 6 months. The investor needs to enter the US within that 6 month window. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
There are really two approvals. The first is the I-526 petition approval. The petition approval does not grant any specific immigration benefit, such as conditional lawful permanent residency. That is the second part. Most investors will apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate in their home country. The I-526 petition approval is required first. Once the EB-5 visa is approved, it is valid for six months. So the investor has six months to immigrate to the United States. Upon completing that process, i.e., entering the U.S. with an immigrant visa, the conditional green card (valid for two years) is mailed to the investor''s U.S. residence address.
They must enter the U.S. within six months after getting the immigrant visa. They can then return abroad. If they intend to stay abroad for extended periods of time they need to consider obtaining a Reentry Permit and be sure to pay U.S. taxes on their worldwide income, which is required of Permanent Residents.
Assuming the EB-5 investor is applying for conditional Permanent Residency through a US consulate, the investor and family members will obtain a immigrant visa stamp in their passport for entry into the U.S. It is my recommendation that within 4 months you should make an entry into the U.S. and not delay entry as you have clearly indicated to the U.S. consular officer your intention to live permanently in the U.S. and be a Permanent Resident of the U.S.
Once your I-526 application is approved, then you must prepare a package for Consulate Processing by mailing the required documentation to the National Visa Center located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Additionally all visa fees are paid at the NVC. This process usually takes about 2-3 months. Once the case is completed by NVC then the file is forwarded to the Consulate and then scheduled for an interview. After the interview is completed and your case is approved, your passport will be stamped and you will be given a sealed envelope to travel to the United States. At this point, you have up to about 6 months to enter the United States. However, I always caution all my clients that their case is not yet completed until they have landed in the United States and processed the sealed envelope at the airport upon their entry. If you feel you need additional time once the case is scheduled for an interview, then the better option would be to request an extension or postponement from the Consulate instead of attending the interview. However, be aware that this may delay the final processing of your case for some time.
After obtaining the immigrant visas, the investor and his family members need to enter the US while the visas are valid. For investors from China, the immigrant visa is valid for six months. He/she must enter the US within that six-month validity.