On Sept. 3, 2021, USCIS announced that it will issue new Form I-797 receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents whose Form I-829 was still pending as of Sept. 4, 2021. The new receipt notices would extend the status of a conditional permanent resident investor and his or her dependents for an additional 24 months following the expiration of the two-year green card. Previously, USCIS issued receipt notices that only extended the conditional permanent resident status for 18 months beyond the expiration of the two-year green card. Three months after announcing the policy change, USCIS started to issue new I-829 receipt notices for all pending Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.
USCIS appears to have started issuing the new receipt notices for both EB-5 investors and their dependents. However, they appeared to have issued receipt notices first to investors, and then to dependents. Each I-829 receipt notice is issued and mailed separately, so investors and their dependents may not receive new receipt notices at exactly the same time.
The issuance of new I-829 receipt notices has no adverse impact on the pending petitions. This change is due to the long processing times for I-829, currently at 38-63.5 months. With the extension, conditional permanent residents (CPRs) will be afforded an additional six months to use their original receipt notices for proof of status for work, school, or overseas travel. Moreover, investor and dependent family members can continue to obtain an I-551 stamp at the end of the 24-month receipt notice extension period instead of the 18-month period.
For CPRs who have just obtained I-551 stamps, whether they can use the new receipt notices as valid travel documents depends on the status of their green cards. Please note that the officers at the Infopass appointment have the right to retain expired CPR cards when issuing the I-551 stamps. If CPR green cards were retained, CPRs should continue using the I-551 stamps as proof of permanent resident status. If the CPR card is retained by the investor or the dependent, the new receipt notices along with the expired green cards can then serve as travel document for the remaining validity of the 24-month period.
USCIS also issued new receipt notices to investors and dependents with pending I-829s where the two-year green cards expired for more than two years ago. In this scenario, the new I-829 receipt notices can no longer serve as a valid travel document and proof of continuing permanent resident status. These investors and dependents should seek I-551 passport stamps for proof of status and travel. The new receipt notices can be retained for their records.
Finally, it appears that USCIS has been mistakenly listing the dependents as the Petitioner in the new I-829 receipt notices for dependent applicants. This should not affect the pending I-829 petition and dependents should still be able to use it for school, work and travel purposes.