Although the E2 visa is an excellent option for foreign citizens from treaty countries to enter the United States legally, it does not provide a direct pathway to lawful permanent residency (green card).
In this article, you will discover feasible alternatives to obtain a green card while living in the United States under E2 status.
Can E2 Visa be Converted to Green Card? – Feasible Alternatives
Applying for an EB-2 or EB-3 Visa
There are many successful cases of E2 visa holders that became lawful permanent residents in the United States by obtaining an employer sponsorship. Accordingly, US employers can sponsor E2 visa holders by applying for the EB-2 or EB-3 visa category.
As provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, foreign nationals eligible for the EB-2 visa are those who are members of a profession and have an advanced degree or its equivalent or have an exceptional ability in science, art, or business.
Similarly, the EB-3 visa category encompasses foreign applicants with bachelor’s degrees and/or skilled workers. These two categories require applicants to pass the Labor Certification process (PERM) with the US Department of Labor (DOL), which usually takes 8 to 11 months.
Once the PERM is completed, the US employer can file an Immigrant Petition on the applicant’s behalf with USCIS. Typically, the total amount of time involved in the process requires 18 to 24 months.
Applying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) offers an alternative pathway for foreign citizens with exceptional abilities to waive the PERM requirement and self-petition with USCIS to obtain an employment-based green card.
Nonetheless, the level of scrutiny involved in the review and approval of NIW applications is extremely demanding. In terms of eligibility, applicants can either demonstrate to have an advanced degree (or its equivalent), or an exceptional ability in a specific field of expertise.
Most importantly, the national interest waiver requires applicants to demonstrate that waiving the PERM requirement would be beneficial to the United States.
Applying for a Family-Based Green Card
Another feasible option for E2 visa holders is to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States through a family-based green card. The USCIS permits certain foreign nationals who are family members of US citizens or green card holders to obtain a green card based on specific family relationships.
In this context, unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of US citizens, as well as spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of US citizens have the preference in terms of processing.
Applying for an EB-5 Investor Visa
Considering the E2 visa is an excellent option for entrepreneurs, applying for an EB-5 visa provides an alternative pathway to lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Created to boost capital influx into the US economy and generate jobs for US workers, the EB-5 program permits foreign investors to obtain a green card upon investing a specific amount of money in a US-based commercial enterprise to create or maintain ten full-time jobs for US workers.
As provided by the USCIS, “the required standard minimum investment amount of $1 million and the minimum investment amount for investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) of $500,000.”
While applying for an EB-5 visa may be an expensive option, it is certainly accessible for successful E2 visa holders with sufficient capital for investment.
Do You Want to Obtain a US Green Card? – Work with an Expert Immigration Attorney Today
Immigration law is a complex matter, so make sure to work with an experienced immigration lawyer. Waste no time – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or email Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.