The E1/E-2 visa is an attractive option for foreign nationals to do business in the United States. While E1/E-2 visas can be indefinitely renewed as long as the foreign country remain the treaty agreement with the US and the business continues to function, the E1/E2 visa does not directly lead to U.S. Permanent Residency (Green Card). However, there are some great ways to get from an E1/E2 visa to a green card:

  1. EB-5 Green Card:You may obtain a green card while under EB-5 program if you can make an investment of $1.8 million (or $900,000 in a rural area or area of high unemployment) in a business that creates a certain number of jobs in the US (usually more than 10 positions). The rules for these positions area as follows:
  • The jobs must be created directly by your enterprise rather than an indirect result of your enterprise. Your enterprise must be the employer of these employees. This only applies to enterprises not located in regional centers (designated organization that sponsors EB-5 projects).
  • The positions must be considered full-time.
  • If the business that you are investing into is considered a “troubled business” (i.e. a business that has seen a net loss over the previous two years), then you simply need to maintain the number of employees that previously worked there for the next two years.
  1. Sponsorship by a family member:You may obtain a green card if you have close relatives in the United States. Your relatives may sponsor you and file a petition on your behalf in this case.
  2. Sponsorship by a US employer:If you can find an employer who is willing to file a PERM Labor Certification form with the Department of Labor, then you may qualify for a green card through the employment-based immigration process. Keep in mind that the PERM requires your employer to go through an extensive recruitment process to ensure that no U.S. workers are available for your position.
  3. EB1C Green Card:The EB-1C petition for multinational managers and executives allows international companies to transfer their managerial-level employees to the U.S. as permanent residents. If you have worked for a qualifying foreign business entity in a managerial position before coming to the U.S. for at least one continuous year in the three years prior to filing for the EB1C or before admission, EB1C may be and option for you.
  4. Self-sponsor Green Card:If you are an “alien of extraordinary ability,” you can petition for EB1A without employer’s sponsorship. Please note the EB1A can also apply to alien with extraordinary ability in the business field, who may not have significant citation records or national awards.

If you are an “alien of exceptional ability” or have an advanced degree or an equivalent level of experience, and can show that your services will greatly benefit the United States, then you may file a National Interest Waiver (NIW) and skip applying for PERM Labor Certification