There are many ways that you might be able to obtain lawful permanent resident status in going from your E2 US investor visa to a green card. This process is a matter of being creative and working closely with your immigration attorney to discern the pathway that is best suited to your circumstances. In this blog post, I will mention three of the many pathways that might be a proper method for you to get your E2 visa green card, meaning something much more permanent than the E2 non-immigrant visa.
3 Options for Transitioning From an E2 US Investor Visa to a Green Card
Possible Option 1
Option 1 is the EB1 visa category. If you are able to show to the U.S. immigration service that your business has grown to such an extent that you are in fact a top leader in your particular field, then the EB1 might be the way to go. This category is available for individuals who are exceptional in their field, which must be either research business, arts, athletics, sciences or certain other categories such as outstanding researcher or professor.
In order to show this to immigration you must either have won an award of international acclaim or be able to show that you fit into 3 of 10 distinct categories that prove that you are indeed an exceptional performer or that you have exceptional ability in your particular field. This visa type is also available for multinational executives.
Possible Option 2
A second option that might be an excellent pathway to your E2 visa green card, or lawful permanent residence in the United States, is an EB2 Visa with a national interest waiver. If you don't qualify for an E1 visa for example but you can show that nobody else is able to take your place in your business and this is something that is of significant benefit to the United States then you may qualify for this level of EB2 Visa, which is a definitive pathway to obtaining lawful permanent residence in the U.S. without needing the sponsorship of an employer.
Possible Option 3
The final option is the EB5 Visa, which requires that an individual invest $500,000 or 1 million dollars in a business in the United States that will generate 10 new jobs. Now, people often ask whether or not you can transition your E2 investor visa business into a EB5 business - in other words, whether the business you are currently operating under the E2 Visa is going to be able to satisfy the requirements of the EB5 visa.
It is important to consider here that the vast majority of EB5 residency cases are done using a regional center and not an individual, private business. This is precisely because it is extremely difficult to in two years grow a business to the point of employing 10 full-time workers and meet all of the other onerous requirements of the EB5, for example that the initial purpose of a “new” business operates according to its initial business plan at the point it is filing for EB5 approval (I-526 Petition/I-829 Petition) particularly when being new in the country. However, if you are running an E2 Visa business and you can invest $500,000 (or 1 million dollars) simultaneously in an EB5 regional center, that might be a great option for you.
None of the advice contained in these materials serves as a substitute for individualized legal representation by a licensed attorney with experience in the practice area.