How to Convert an E2 Visa Into a Green Card
The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa which prohibits the visa holder from having an intent to immigrate to the U.S. at the time the visa is issued or used for entry.
However, depending on their circumstances, E2 investors have several indirect pathways to permanent residency after their entry in the U.S.
At SG Legal Group, an immigration law firm in Towson, Maryland, we assist foreign nationals from all over the world file successful green card applications. We are always happy to provide a thorough analysis concerning the specifics of your matter to determine if you are qualified to apply. Below we will address the alternatives an E2 holder has to apply for a green card.
Have a family member sponsor you
If one has a close relative in the U.S. that is a permanent resident or citizen, that relative can sponsor the investor for a green card while the E2 investor continues to direct and develop their business. If the petition is filed by a U.S. Citizen spouse, child over 21, or parent, one can expect to become a permanent resident faster than if the petition is filed by a U.S. citizen brother/sister, or permanent resident spouse/parent.
Have an employer sponsor you
One could find an employer that could sponsor you, or perhaps your spouse, for a green card. Needless to say, the employer can’t be the company that petitioned for the E2 visa. The employer has to undertake a recruitment campaign to show there are no native U.S. workers capable of filling the position. This would entail obtaining a “prevailing wage determination” from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and advertising the offered position in a newspaper. The labor certification process is difficult and lengthy, but it can be done.
Permanent Residence through the National Interest Waiver
In some instances, if one has good enough qualifications to show exceptional ability, one could even get an exemption from PERM labor certification through the process known as the EB-2 National Interest Waiver. This would significantly speed up and simplify the path to a green card. Unlike the process described above, E2 visa holders can obtain residency (1) without the sponsorship of an employer and (2) without having to undergo the difficult and time-consuming PERM process.
An applicant must demonstrate the following three criteria in order to be eligible for the Green Card through a National Interest waiver: 1) The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; b) The foreign national is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and c) It would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus the labor certification.
Invest more money and get an EB-5 green card
If an E2 visa holder has more money to invest, they could apply for an EB-5 investment green card while they continue to operate their business in the U.S. under their E2 visa. The EB-5 immigrant category confers permanent residence to foreign nationals who invest a significant amount, from US $500,000 to US $1,000,000, in a U.S. business or venture that will employ at least ten U.S. workers (citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees) on a full-time basis. The required amount depends on the unemployment rate for the particular geographic area in which the business or venture exists. It’s important, however, that the money used for this investment be traceable. If invested from abroad, the source and path of funds needs to be documented and be clean. The extra funds cannot have been generated inside the U.S. by the E2 business unless they are paid out to the investor and the investor pays U.S. taxes on the amounts taken before reinvesting them so as to qualify for the $1 million direct investment EB-5 green card.
Successfully mapping your immigration journey from E2 to permanent residency is our business!
If you are an E2 Visa holder and are interested in obtaining permanent residency in the U.S., email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to answer your questions and help you.
SG Legal Group is a Towson, Maryland based immigration law firm focused on helping professionals and entrepreneurs get visas to the U.S.
This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Each legal case is different and case examples do not constitute a prediction or guarantee of success or failure in any other case. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.