How can I obtain permanent residency through the E-2 visa?

Is it possible to secure permanent residency through the E-2 visa?

There is no direct path to obtaining a permanent residency while on the E-2 visa.

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant category that requires you to intend to depart the U.S. once your visa status ends and does not lead directly to permanent residency. It is a treaty investor visa that typically has a validity of three months to five years, depending on the applicant’s nationality. E-2 visa holders have a duration of stay of two years, meaning they are allowed to direct their bona fide U.S. enterprise and stay in the U.S. in increments of two years, which can be renewed indefinitely for as long as the business remains profitable. While this can lead to a long-term stay, it will never result in obtaining a permanent residency.

If you want to stay in the U.S. permanently, you must change your status within the U.S. or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

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Here are two popular immigrant visa categories to consider:

1. EB-5 visa

An investment-based immigrant visa similar to the E-2. However, it requires investing a minimum of $1,050,000 or $800,000 for targeted employment areas in a new commercial enterprise (i.e., a rural area), creating or preserving ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers, engaging in managerial responsibilities, and having lawful source of funds at risk. You can invest more capital into your current E-2 business, start a new business, invest in a regional center, or an existing business you do not own.

Click here for the official EB-5 guide by the USCIS.

2. EB-2 or EB-3 visa

An employment-based immigrant visa. You or your employment-authorized spouse can obtain a U.S. job offer from a U.S. employer willing to sponsor you or your spouse and children. Your U.S. employer must get an approved labor certification through the Department of Labor. To be qualified for the EB-2 visa, you or your spouse must have an advanced degree or exceptional ability. As for the EB-3 visa, you or your spouse must be skilled workers, professionals, or unskilled workers.

Click these links to read the official guides by the USCIS: EB-2 and EB-3.

You can also apply for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) for the EB-2 visa, allowing you to self-petition and waive the requirement of a U.S. job offer and, by extension, the labor certification. Click here to read more about the NIW.

The process of transitioning from an E-2 visa to a permanent residency can be complicated. It is best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney and consultant. Our team of experts can help guide you with tailored advice. Message us for a free consultation.

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