The E2 visa is an excellent way for foreign citizens to obtain a US visa by investing a substantial amount of money in a US-based business. However, E2 visa holders do not have a direct pathway to a green card and permanent residency in America.
Upon their entry into the United States, E2 visa holders can explore other possibilities and find feasible options to stay in the country legally while preserving their E2 status as provided by Immigration law.
In this article, you will discover the possibilities to obtain a green card as an E2 visa holder.
How Do I Convert My E2 Visa to Green Card? – EB-2 and EB-3 Visa Categories
Over the years, many foreign citizens under E2 status have succeeded in obtaining a green card by obtaining an employer sponsorship. It is possible when an E2 visa holder receives a job offer from a US employer.
In this context, US-based employers can sponsor an applicant in either the EB-2 category or the EB-3 category.
The EB-2 category encompasses applicants who either have advanced degrees or their equivalent, or who excel in the fields of science, art, or business. Meanwhile, the EB-3 category encompasses applicants with bachelor’s degrees and/or skilled workers.
After accepting an official job offer, the applicant must go through the Labor Certification process – popularly known as PERM – with the US Department of Labor (DOL). Typically, this process takes 8 to 11 months to complete.
Once the applicant has succeeded in the PERM, the employer can file an Immigrant Petition on his/her behalf with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Normally, the complete time frame for obtaining an EB-2 or EB-3 visa takes at least 18 to 24 months.
How Do I Convert My E2 Visa to Green Card? – National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a type of visa that belongs to the EB-2 category. Still, while the regular EB-2 visa requires a PERM/Labor Certification process, NIW can self-petition and waive the labor certification requirement.
Although an NIW is much easier to apply, as it does not require a job offer, the requirements for applicants are harder to meet. In terms of eligibility, NIW applicants have two different options, as they can either:
- Demonstrate to have an advanced degree or any equivalent degree (e.g., a master’s degree, a doctorate, or a bachelor’s degree) with at least 5 years of experience in the field; or,
- Demonstrate have an exceptional ability in a specific field of expertise (e.g., arts, sciences, entrepreneurship, technology, etc.)
Plus, applicants must demonstrate that waiving their requirement for a labor certificate would be beneficial for the United States. Ultimately, it is not the easiest option in terms of eligibility, but it remains a possibility for some E-2 visa holders.
How Do I Convert My E2 Visa to Green Card? – Family-Based Green Card
An E-2 visa holder can obtain a green card via family-member sponsorship. In such a case, spouses, or parents of US citizens (over 21) have the preference, so they can initiate a green card processing immediately.
Other close family relationships also may be able to obtain a green card but processing usually takes much longer.
How Do I Convert My E2 Visa to Green Card? – EB-5 Investor Visa
Currently, many foreign citizens living in the United States under E-2 status opt for an alternative pathway to residency with the EB-5 program.
In the EB-5 program, individuals under e-2 status with their spouses and unmarried children (under 21) can apply for an EB-5 green card if they meet the EB-5 criteria. This way, applicants must invest a specific amount in a US-based commercial enterprise while planning to create or preserve ten permanent full-time jobs in the United States.
Currently, the standard minimum investment for EB-5 applicants is $1 million, while applicants who prefer to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) must pay at least a minimum investment of $500,000.
In terms of criteria, the EB-5 program is a much accessible option for E-2 visa holders, although it may be far more expensive for most applicants.
Are You Interested in Converting Your E-2 Visa? – Work with Jurado and Farshchian, P.L.
Waste no time with uncertainty – get in touch with an expert immigration attorney in Florida to find the ideal strategy for your case. Call Attorney Romy B. Jurado today at (305) 921-0976 or send an email to [email protected] to schedule a consultation.