Are you a conditional permanent resident waiting for the approval of a Form I-829 Petition (for EB-5 immigrant investors) or a Form I-751 Petition (for spouses of U.S. citizens) to remove the condition from your permanent resident status but have not been able to return to the U.S. because of COVID-19? You may be wondering how you can prove you are still a conditional resident and how can you return to the U.S. if your Form I-551 “green card” has expired.
If you filed the I-829 Petition or the I-751 Petition during the appropriate filing period, you should have received a receipt notice that extends the validity period of your green card for 18 months. Your green card with your receipt notice allows you to reenter the U.S. during the 18-month period. However, you are still subject to the requirements that you can use your green card (and receipt notice) as a visa if you have been outside the U.S. for less than 1 year. If you have been outside the U.S. for more than one year, you will need another document to reenter the United States.
If you have already been waiting more than 18 months for approval of your petition, you may now only have a I-551 stamp in your passport. You will need to return to the U.S. within one year of your last departure, or before the expiration of your I-551 stamp.
If you are outside the United States and do not have a valid, unexpired I-829/I-751 receipt notice or I-551 stamp, and have been outside the U.S. for less than one year, you should file an I-131A application to apply for a new visa.
If you have been outside the U.S. for more than one year, you will need to apply for an SB-1 returning resident visa.
If you are still a conditional resident waiting for approval of your I-829/I-751 petition and are uncertain of what to do, contact us to talk with one of our U.S. immigration lawyers based in Asia.