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5 Effective Ways to Change an E2 Visa into a Green Card

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Here are the most effective ways to change an E2 visa into a Green Card.  Many people want to come to the United States for a better life, a brighter career, and an improved lifestyle.  However, not many know how to achieve this and change their lives for good.  In this blog, we list five ways that people residing in the US on an E-2 investor’s visa can change their status and get a green card.  But first, let’s start with the basics – what is an E-2 visa?

What Is an E2 Visa?

An E2 visa is an investor’s visa that can be obtained by investing capital in the US. This visa allows you to:

    • Legally work full-time in the organization you have invested in
    • Travel in and out of the US without any restraints
    • Reside on a prolonged basis with uncapped two-year additional extensions, provided you maintain your E-2 visa eligibility requirements and qualifications
    • Bring along all your dependents aged 21 and under, as well as your relatives and spouse. This visa also allows your spouse to work full time in the US and your children can attend school without having to apply for additional work or student visas.

Now, let’s move onto how it can help you get a Green Card.

1. Invest Extra Capital and Apply for EB-5 Green Card

E-2 investors are required to invest a “substantial” amount of capital.  Even though there is no minimum investment amount set by law, our experience tells us that an investor should have enough money for the purchase of a business, working capital, and moving expenses.  This can be at least $100,000 US dollars.  The investor must also create a minimum of 2-3 new job for American citizens obtain the E-2 investor visa.

The E-2 investor can continue to invest foreign money into their business and eventually apply for a “direct” EB-5 green card.  However, this process is costly and takes a very long time.  As of November 21, 2019, direct EB-5 investments are $1.8 million US dollars.  The investor must create at least 10 new employment positions through the investment to change from an E-2 Visa to the EB-5 Green Card.  All the money being invested needs to be traceable.  The money must also come from outside the United States and cannot originate from the E-2 business.

2. Finance a Regional Center Project and Change from E2 to EB-5 Green Card

Instead of investing $1.8 million USD (after November 21, 2019) in the EB-5 direct,  you can instead, invest $900,000 USD (after November 21, 2019) into an EB-5 regional center project and become a passive investor of the said project, while you simultaneously continue to manage your own E-2 visa business as well.   Regional center investments enable you to create the required 10 new employment positions indirectly in the regional center project, allowing you to meet all the necessary requirements.

When compared to the other methods, this proves to be relatively cheaper and easier. However, you do need to be aware that you will need to invest this capital for a minimum of 5 years. Moreover, the condition of the funds being traceable applies to this scenario as well.

3. Look for an Employer Who Can Sponsor Your Change from E2 to Green Card

One of the most common yet difficult pathways to obtain a visa in the US is to look for a job where the employer is willing to sponsor you. Another way is where your spouse applies for a similar job and sponsors your stay as well. You will need an immigration lawyer to help you through the process, especially with all the documentation in order for your application to be processed on time and without any hurdles.
You can opt to do it yourself as well. However, such applicants often struggle with their documentation and end up having their submissions rejected. Moreover, the procedure is tricky, time-consuming, and almost an art, and finding such an employer is a challenge. Therefore, you should leave this task to the professionals and get an immigration attorney to do the documentation while you look for an appropriate sponsor.

4. Get Your Family to Sponsor You and Change from E-2 to Green Card

Sibling, parents, spouse or children who are U.S. citizens or even a green card holders can sponsor E-2 visa investors.  You or your spouse may self-petition under the National Interest Waiver.  The National Interest Waiver is hard to get because the applicant must be on top of the professional field.  However, it is not an impossible path towards a green card.  An immigration lawyer can determine if you are a good candidate.

5. Investors With Companies Outside of the U.S.

The L-1A Visa is a dual intent visa.  After one year, an L-1A Visa becomes eligible to get a green card.  E-2 visa holders may qualify for an L-1A visa under a very specific scenario.   First, an investor comes to the US to open a business with an E-2 visa.  One year later, the investor sells the E-2 business to the foreign corporation.  The foreign corporation can then send the investor to the US as a manager transferee with an L-1A visa.  The investor must be a minority owner of the foreign corporation and worked for it for a full year.   This can work well for companies whose minority owner is eligible for an E-2 visa.

Points to Remember When Attempting to Convert an E2 into an EB-5

The EB-5 green card comes with a few additional eligibility conditions that an E-2 investor’s visa does not demand.  You could risk losing your green card if you are abroad for more than six months at a time.
An investor can also submit an EB-5 petition while residing in the U.S. and can stay until it is approved.  Then, the investor can Adjust Status in the U.S. or go through Consular Process abroad.
There are different aspects of these pathways that need to be checked with an immigration lawyer.  Immigration attorneys know the legal requirements of these visas and can help you achieve the desired results, thus saving you money and time.

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