Can An E2 Visa Holder Apply for a Green Card?

The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that stops the visa holder from having an intent of immigrating to the United States at the time of visa approval or used for entry. Also, the E2 does not provide individual with a direct pathway to permanent residency (a green card). However, after entry the United States, the E-2 Visa holder is eligible to explore and proceed with options for permanent residency provided there is no violation of the E-2 status in the process.

Over the last 40 years we have assisted  numbers of E-2 visa holders transition from the temporary nature of E-2 Visa status to lawful permanent residency. The reality is that E2 investors have several indirect pathways to a green card and eventually citizenship available to them depending on their circumstances. Below we will address each of these alternatives along with the risks and opportunities inherent to each including one very successful option that has become popular among our clients over a few years. immigration attorney in houston reach out to us today for more information.

Employer Sponsorship Through the PERM Process.

One of the most common ways to obtain a Green Card for an E-2 Visa holder is through a job offer from a U.S-based employer either for the investor directly or for his spouse.  An Employer can  sponsor an E-2 Visa holder in either the second or third preference categories.The second preference (EB-2) category includes applicants who have either an advanced degrees, its equivalent, or foreign nationals with exceptional ability in fields like; sciences, art or business. The third preference category (EB-3) includes applicants who have a bachelor’s degree or who are skilled workers.

After an employer have agreed to sponsor the E-2 Visa holder, the first step in the process is the PERM/Labor Certification process with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The stage has multiple steps to accomplish including submission of a prevailing wage determination request to the DOL. Also its required  a recruiting period where the employer test the U.S. labor market by advertising the position offered to make it available to U.S. workers.

At the end of the recruitment effort there is a 30-day waiting period required before the employer can continue the process. It is so that the employer can continue to receive and consider applications for the advertised position. Finally, the Employer submits a request for the position to be certified by the DOL. Read visa eb 5 usa for detail.

Permanent Residence through the National Interest Waiver

For E-2 Visa Holders who are highly skilled or who hold an advanced degrees, one of the effective means of obtaining a green card also known as the EB-2 National Interest Waiver. While this option had been around  for many years the heightened required factors to prove eligibility made it exceedingly hard to qualify. However, in the late 2016. the United States Supreme Court substantially reduced the eligibility criteria, making it easier for foreign nationals to qualify.

Unlike the process described in above option, E-2 Visa holders can obtain residency through (a) without the sponsorship of an employer and (b) without having to undergo the difficult and time consuming PERM process.  Instead, under the National Interest Waiver, the applicant can request the Employer Sponsorship and Labor Certification requirements been waived because it is in the best interests of the United States to do so.

The United States Supreme Court has established a standard that, an applicant must provide these three criteria to be eligible for the Green Card through a National Interest waiver: 

  • The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  • The foreign national is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements of the EB-2 category.

Family Based Application for Residency

Another regular option to obtain a green card is by family member sponsorship. For spouses or parents of a U.S Citizens (over 21) your relative may sponsor you for immediate green card processing. For other close family relationships you may also be able to obtain a green card after your relatives file a petition on your behalf and the visa bulletin shows that your visa is current. However, there can be  longer waits for this type of process.

If you are interested in discussing your path from the E-2 Visa to lawful permanent residency, speak with abogados en houston tx for more information.

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