Through careful planning, an E-2 investor can convert his or her E2 visa into permanent residence in one of several ways. These methods allow the investment to serve as a pathway toward permanent residence status.
Obtain Employer Sponsorship
An immigrant with an E2 visa might obtain employer sponsorship to expedite the process. If the immigrant has qualifications that demonstrate exceptional ability, the immigrant may be able to receive a National Interest Waiver from a PERM labor certification. Even if this shortcut is not available, the immigrant may still be able to receive employer sponsorship that can eventually lead to permanent residency. The employer must be able to show that there were no workers in the United States available to fill the position.
The E2 visa requires the immigrant to make a substantial investment in an interest that he or she will be controlling in the United States. However, if the immigrant is able to invest at least $1 million, he or she may be able to obtain permanent resident status through the EB-5 process. Additionally, the immigrant would need to be able to create at least ten jobs to qualify for this option. To use this path, the immigrant must be able to substantiate where the investment funds came from and be able to trace these funds. These investment funds cannot be derived from the E-2 business unless the funds are paid to the immigrant who then turns around and pays taxes in the United States for them and then reinvests them into the business.
If the investor does not want to invest more funds into his or her own business, another option is to invest money in an EB-5 regional center project and act as a passive investor. The requirement for the ten jobs can still be fulfilled by indirectly creating them at the regional center project.
Family Member Sponsor
Another option to convert an E2 visa to permanent residency is to have a family member sponsor him or her while the immigrant continues to manage the E2 business. This may be possible when a close family member like a spouse, child or sibling is a citizen or has permanent resident status.
Create a Business Outside the United States
An investor may create a company outside the United States, manage it out of the country for at least a year and then return to the United States under the designation of an inter-corporate transferee.