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How to Transition from an E2 Visa to Green Card

Updated on March 25, 2024

Congratulations on your successful E2 visa journey! As an E2 treaty investor, you’ve had the opportunity to live and work in the United States while growing your business. But what happens when you’re ready to take the next step and establish permanent roots in the U.S.? In this blog post, we’ll explore the various pathways to transition from an E2 visa to a green card and secure your permanent residency in the United States.

30 Second Recap:

The E2 visa, a nonimmigrant option for nationals of treaty countries investing in U.S. enterprises, doesn’t directly offer a path to a green card, but several alternatives exist. Transitioning to permanent residency can occur through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, requiring a substantial investment and job creation in the U.S.; employment-based green cards, for those in managerial or specialized roles within their E2 business; family-based green cards, leveraging relationships with U.S. citizens or permanent residents; or the Diversity Visa Lottery, for individuals from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. Each option has distinct requirements and processes, necessitating thorough consultation with an immigration attorney to navigate the potential paths from E2 visa status to obtaining a green card.

 

Understanding the E2 Visa

Before we dive into the green card options, let’s quickly recap the E2 visa. The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows nationals of countries with a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise and work in that business. While the E2 visa offers many benefits, it does not directly lead to a green card. However, there are several ways to transition from an E2 visa to permanent residency. Here’s a quick overview of the green card options for E2 visa holders:

Shows green card options for E2 visa holders.

Option 1: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

One of the most popular paths from an E2 visa to a green card is through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. This program allows foreign investors to obtain a green card by investing a minimum of $900,000 (or $1.8 million in some cases) in a U.S. business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers.

If your E2 business meets the investment and job creation requirements of the EB-5 program, you may be eligible to apply for a green card through this route. Keep in mind that the EB-5 program has more stringent requirements than the E2 visa, so it’s essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to determine your eligibility.

Option 2: Employment-Based Green Cards

Another path to a green card for E2 visa holders is through employment-based categories. If you’re working in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity for your E2 business, you may qualify for an EB-1C green card for multinational executives and managers or an EB-2 or EB-3 green card based on your skills and experience.

To pursue this option, your E2 business would need to sponsor you for the appropriate employment-based green card category. This process involves filing a labor certification (if required) and an immigrant petition on your behalf.

Option 3: Family-Based Green Cards

If you have family ties to U.S. citizens or permanent residents, you may be eligible for a family-based green card. For example, if you marry a U.S. citizen while on an E2 visa, you can apply for a green card through the family-based sponsorship process. Similarly, if you have a U.S. citizen child who turns 21, they may be able to sponsor you for a green card.

Family-based green cards have specific eligibility requirements and quotas, so it’s important to understand the category that applies to your situation and any potential waiting periods.

Option 4: Diversity Visa Lottery

The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery is an annual program that provides green cards to individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. If you’re an E2 visa holder from an eligible country, you can enter the DV lottery and, if selected, obtain a green card through this program.

Keep in mind that the DV lottery has strict entry requirements and a limited number of visas available each year, so it’s not a guaranteed path to a green card.

Final Thoughts

Transitioning from an E2 visa to a green card requires careful planning and an understanding of the various pathways available. Whether you choose to pursue an EB-5 investment, employment-based sponsorship, family-based sponsorship, or the DV lottery, working with an experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process and determine the best strategy for your unique situation.

Remember, each path to a green card has its own requirements, timelines, and considerations. By exploring your options and taking proactive steps, you can turn your E2 visa into a permanent residency and continue to grow your business and life in the United States.

We wish you the best of luck on your journey to a green card!

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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