The path from an E-2 visa to a Green Card is an option many immigrants may choose to take to legally enter and remain in the United States. However, you do not qualify for a green card just because you possess an E2 visa; you can still get permanent residency through another method.
The E-2 visa offers investors the opportunity to work in the United States by making a substantial financial investment in a U.S. business; for those who meet the requirements, the visa is valid for five years and may be extended indefinitely.
Although the E-2 is valid for five years, you must be aware that the date on your I-94 arrival or departure record, which might differ from the dates on your visa, is only valid for two years.
Switching from an E-2 visa to a permanent resident can be a difficult and time-consuming process, especially when a large sum of money is at stake. You do not want to do it alone; working with an immigration attorney in NYC can help to lessen the difficulties and amount of time it takes. This blog post will discuss the different pathways to changing an E2 visa to a green card.
E2 to Green Card
If you are a treaty investor, you may be eligible for an E2 visa if you meet the following qualifications:
- Citizen of a U.S. treaty country
- Continued investment in the U.S. business
- Further business development and 50% ownership or a management position
An E-2 visa applicant may be accompanied by approved spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. If you’re interested in starting a business in the U.S., purchasing a franchise and applying for an E-2 visa is one option.
E2 Visa to Green Card Process
If you choose to request an adjustment of status for your E-2 visa to become a permanent resident, one common way to do it is to seek a PERM labor certification. To file your petition, you must find a sponsor who meets the requirements for your green card, obtain a PERM labor certification, and pay the filing fees.
There are several steps that need to be completed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) when an employer agrees to sponsor an E-2 visa holder; as one of these steps, the employer must advertise the job opening provided to the visa holder so that American workers can apply for it. The employer must be unable to fill the position with sufficient U.S. workers.
Under the DOL framework, the PERM labor certification process takes roughly 11 months. However, after this process is done, the employer has to begin the process with USCIS by filling out the required forms to prove that the foreign national is qualified for the required job position and that the employer can pay the prevailing wage.
In the second or third preference category, an employer can sponsor an E-2 visa holder, and applicants with advanced degrees, people with extraordinary abilities, those with bachelor’s degrees, and skilled workers fall into these categories. If your case matches this pattern, you should consult with our immigration attorney in NYC to better understand the process.
How Can I Change my E2 Visa to a Green Card?
Transitioning from an E2 visa to a permanent resident requires one of the following:
- Employer Sponsorship
- Family-Based Sponsorship
- EB-1 Green Card
- National Interest Waiver (NIW)
- Marriage-Based Green Card
- EB-5 Investor Program
Certain foreign nationals who are spouses, parents, or minor children of U.S. citizens with lawful permanent residency may apply to become permanent residents themselves through family sponsorship. Other close family members may also be eligible for green cards. However, this process might take a long time.
An EB-2 National Interest Waiver may be required to obtain an adjustment of status. Our immigration attorney in NYC can assist an immigrant visa holder in navigating the tough path to permanent residency.
When an employer is willing to hire and sponsor a foreign national’s visa, opportunities exist; though it can take several years to obtain a green card in this manner, the foreign national will have legal authorization to live and work in the United States during the duration of the green card application process.
Individuals with degrees and/or professional qualifications are encouraged to switch to an H1-B visa while their permanent residency petition is being processed. Applicants must know that before employing a foreign national for the role, their employer must undergo the labor certification process known as Program Electronic Review Management (PERM).
Consequently, the employer must first give U.S. citizens a chance to apply for the position; despite not requiring the labor certification process, some categories are extremely demanding.
Contact an immigration attorney in NYC if you think you might be eligible for the EB-1 or NIW classifications.
A family member who is older than 21 and a citizen of the United States may sponsor an individual’s petition for permanent residence. For example, if the U.S. citizen is the applicant’s sibling, the process may take up to twelve years; if the U.S. citizen is the applicant’s child, the process might only take one year.
Similarly, if a U.S.-based company sponsors the applicant’s spouse, he or she may be able to sponsor the applicant’s green card. Which normally has a waiting time of less than two years and up to three years.
Extraordinary Ability (EB-1 Visa)
Naturally, E-2 visa holders can change to an EB-1 employment-based visa with first preference; the applicant must prove that they have extraordinary abilities in their specialty. These fields include athletics, the sciences, the arts, education, and/or business. The EB-1 visa will be an ideal route to a green card for such people.
National Interest Waiver (NIW)
E-2 visa holders with advanced degrees or highly skilled in what they do are eligible to apply for an NIW; individuals seeking National Interest Waivers are those whose work is of national importance to the United States and whose employment benefits the country.
Fortunately, E-2 NIW individuals do not require employer sponsorship. As a result, the company is not required to go through the PERM process, which saves time. A waiver in this category signifies that the applicant has petitioned to have the requirements for employer sponsorship and labor certification waived.
Marriage-Based Green Card
An E-2 visa holder may legally sponsor their spouse’s green card application if they marry a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. This type of union must be legal, and the USCIS will want substantial evidence proving its sincerity.
An investor immigrant visa (also referred to as an EB-5 visa) is an additional option; this is a means for the investor, as well as the investor’s spouse and/or children, to get a green card. For the duration of the EB-5 visa, children are allowed to live legally in the United States as long as they are under 21 and unmarried.
The typical wait period for a green card after submitting the Instructions for Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status (Form I-829) application is six months.
Furthermore, the typical wait period for petition approval is 60 days from the filing date; while the requirements for the EB-5 category may appear simple, compliance can be difficult.
If you’re interested in applying to become a permanent resident under the EB-5 program, speak with an experienced immigration attorney in NYC to help with the application process.
Applying For A Green Card
An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant status, as was previously mentioned. The visa holder (or their sponsor) must either apply at a U.S. consulate from abroad or file an adjustment of status application with USCIS while within the country to become a permanent resident of the United States.
It is important to note that most employment-based visa holders may only apply for permanent residency in the United States from abroad. If the petitioner desires to retain any of their present E-2 visa rights. If he or she believes it is more beneficial to forego these rights by applying for a green card from within the United States, he or she can do so.
The petitioner must include the Request for Waiver of Certain Rights, Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities (Form I-508) with the adjustment of status application. If approved, the visa holder’s status will be changed from employment-based visa holder to permanent United States resident.
Green card applicants, like other visa applicants, must file all the necessary documents and supporting evidence, attend a biometrics appointment, and interview with an immigration officer.
Strategic and Trusted Immigration Guidance
If you are interested in mapping out your route from the E-2 visa to lawful permanent residency, our immigration attorney in NYC offers a wide range of U.S. immigration expertise, provides free consultations to potential clients, and helps foreign nationals from all around the world file successful green card applications.
We would be glad to thoroughly analyze the specifics of your case to ascertain your eligibility.