How to Change From E2 Visa to Green Card
Becoming a resident in the United States is not an easy thing to do; but it isn’t impossible either. One way of doing it is by changing the status from the E2 Visa to a Green Card. This can be done in four different ways. Before we dig deep in that part; let’s explain the E-2 Visa and how you can obtain a permanent residency through it.
Also known as the Treaty Investor Visa, the E-2 Visa is given to a person who wants to invest between $100,000 and $200,000 in the economy of the United States.
This can be done through a new or existing U.S business. Moreover, the investor must create at least 3 to 4 jobs within that business. In this context, you be:
- An individual with enough funds and wants to invest in the U.S economy
- A foreign employee who wants to travel to the US to oversee the investment
The Requirements to Qualify for This Visa Are:
- Place the investment funds in a bank account until your visa is approved
- As the investor, you must have the goal to generate more profit than just to make a living
- You must have the intention to return to your home country once the work is completed in the U.S.
- You must develop the business more through this investment
- If a company is sending you with an E-2 Visa, you must be from a treaty country and in a supervisory, managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position
- Either the company or you must be from one of the 80 countries which have an investment treaty with the U.S. or have 50% ownership from one of the treaty countries
The application process is very straight forward. In fact, either you or the company can self-petition to USCIS and prove that you meet the eligibility criteria.
Important! The E-2 Visa is valid for 2 years, but you have unlimited extensions
This means that as long as you can prove that your investment is still ongoing, you can stay in the U.S. Nonetheless, the E-2 Visa isn’t a dual intent visa, so you have to prove that you have strong ties with your home country and that you plan to return once your work is done. That is why it is very difficult to go from an E-2 visa to Green Card.
You have to demonstrate during your interview that you intend to return home, however; at the same time, due to your business and investment, you also have to prove that you need to stay permanently in the U.S. But remember, it is not entirely impossible. This article will go through a few ways you can achieve this objective.
Difference Between an E-2 Visa and a Green Card
Even though the E-2 Visa doesn’t have a deadline for when you must return to your home country, it’s still a nonimmigrant visa. You can’t consider it as a dual intent visa since you can still be deported.
It’s true, as an investor holding an E-2 Visa, you can work at the business you invested in and live in the U.S. However, you have to continuously renew your visa – you’ll never be allowed to apply for U.S citizenship.
A Green Card, on the other hand, is a US immigrant visa. You can not only live and work in the U.S permanently and get U.S issued documents, but also you can eventually apply for U.S citizenship. And that’s the main reason why you should upgrade your E-2 visa to a Green Card.
Which Green Card Can You Apply for With an E-2 Visa?
As mentioned earlier, there are four different ways you can use to change your status from an E-2 visa holder to a Green Card holder allowing you to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) of the US:
- Get an EB-5 Visa for Investors
- Petition for an EB-1 Visa for people with extraordinary abilities
- Get an Immediate Relative or Family Based Visa
- Change status to a Nonimmigrant Dual Intent Work Visa
How to Change From an E-2 Visa to a Green Card?
Each of the four ways to get a Green Card with an E-2 visa has its own procedures. Let’s explain these four ways in details:
Getting an Eb-5 Visa for Investors
The EB-5 visa is the next step to the E-2 Visa. It’s an immigrant visa (Green Card) for investors. Although, anyone can actually get the EB-5 visa, the investment amount required is quite large.
As an investor looking to get an EB-5 visa, you must invest between $500,000 and $1 million in a commercial enterprise and create at least 10 jobs. However, since you have already invested around $200,000 to get the E-2 visa, adding more money to your investment pool is something natural. if you create 6 or 7 extra jobs, you can get an EB-5 visa.
Applying for this Green Card is quite straightforward.
First, make the petition to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which will process it and decide whether you are allowed to apply for the EB-5 visa or not.
If you get your EB-5 visa, you are allowed to apply for a U.S citizenship after 5 years of successfully maintaining it. Nonetheless, only 10,000 visas are issued per year, so they are very limited in number.
For more details on how to apply for this Green Card, visit the EB-5 visa article.
EB-1 Visa is for People with Extraordinary Abilities
You can make a petition for an EB-1 visa. This is a Green Card for people with extraordinary abilities in business, education, arts, science, and/or athletics. Also, if you have been in a managerial or executive position at a foreign branch of a U.S company for the past 3 years, you can also apply to this Green Card.
If you have been working at a foreign branch of a U.S company, the best way is letting your employer petition for you. Another way is to file the petition yourself to USCIS.
Of course, you have to demonstrate to USCIS that you have extraordinary skills that are of national interest since you can contribute to the country. The application procedure for this Green Card is explained in detail in the EB-1 visa article.
The EB-1 visa, just like the EB-5 visa; has an annual limit. Only 40,000 EB-1 visas are issued each year by USCIS. So, apply when the wait time is minimum to get faster processing.
Getting a Family Member Petition
This is one of the most common and easiest ways to get a Green Card from an E-2 visa. Just keep in mind which visa category could adjust your status in a better way: the Immediate Relative or Family-Based Immigrant Visas.
These visas are only given to spouses, children, parents, and siblings of either U.S citizens or U.S Lawful Permanent Residents. If you have a grandparent, cousin, uncle or other relative living in the US, you do not qualify for any of these visas.
But, if you meet the requirements, you must follow the instructions of the application outlined in the Immediate Relative or Family-Based Visa article.
- The family member will have to request it for you
- If approved, you must request one of the category visas
Applying for Immediate Relative Visas is better because they do not have annual limits.
Change Status to a Dual Intent Visa
There is a less direct way to obtain a green card for an E-2 visa which is to change the status to a dual intent visa. A dual intent visa is a nonimmigrant visa of the United States that allows you to apply for a green card without the need to show that you intend to return to your native country. Examples of dual intention visas are H-1B, L-1, and O-1 Visa.
The way you can change the status of these visas is to get a job in the United States, and that your employer is willing to be your sponsor. You can find more details on how to apply for these visas on the H-1B visa, L-1 visa or O-1 visa articles.
How Long Does It Take to Go From an E-2 Visa to a Green Card?
Everything will depend on the option you choose, if you decide to move from an E-2 visa to a Green Card, this can take a long time; on the contrary, if you decide to do it with an EB-1 or EB-5, the process can take between 6 months to 1 year. And with the dual intention visas, this process can take several years.
How to Adjust Status From an E-2 Visa to a Green Card?
Once you have had the approval for an E-2 visa for any of the immigrant visas, you will have to adjust your status. The right way to do it is: