US Immigration News

How E-2 Visa Holders Can Adjust Their Permanent Residence Status

3 minute read
"The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows residents of certain countries that have an investment agreement with the United States to come to the US to establish their business. This is one of the most popular and easiest ways for investors to come to the US. The E-2 Visa is granted for 5 years and allows applicants to add their accompanying family members."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jul 15, 2021
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The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows residents of certain countries that have an investment agreement with the United States to come to the US to establish their business. This is one of the most popular and easiest ways for investors to come to the US. The E-2 Visa is granted for 5 years and allows applicants to add their accompanying family members. 

Spouses of E-2 Visa holders are eligible to apply for temporary employment authorization allowing them to work while staying in the US. Dependent children of E-2 Visa holders are also eligible for subsidized university tuition at certain colleges compared to foreign students. 

This visa can be renewed every 5 years. However, the only thing that discourages investors from applying for this visa is that E-2 Visa holders are not authorized to adjust their status to permanent residence while in the US. 

To Understand This, Let’s Look At the Requirements for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa:

  • You must be a citizen of a country that has a bilateral investment treaty with the US
  • You must have invested in the US or actively be in the process of investing
  • Your business must be operational and for-profit
  • Your investment in the business must be substantial
  • Your investment must generate enough income to sustain more than one person
  • You must be in a position to direct and develop the business
  • You must intend to depart the US once your E-2 Visa expires

Therefore, to be eligible for an E-2 Visa, your investment in the business must be substantial enough to ensure its success. The percentage of your investment for a low-cost business will be higher than the required percentage of your investment for a high-cost business. Your investment must be in an operational business.

Speculative or idle investments and uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar securities do not qualify. Also, your investment must be enough to generate income to not only support your living expenses but also to put a significant impact on the US.

You must also control your investment at risk for profit. Meaning, that your business must be for commercial purposes. Finally, your intention of coming to the US must be to develop and direct your business and leave once the visa is terminated.

Why the Authorization to Adjust Status in the US Is Required for E-2 Visa Holders?

As per the requirements for an E-2 Visa, the investment made by the applicant must be substantial and they must also be directly involved in the operations of the business. This requires a serious commitment on the part of the applicant and their family as they come to the US to make a substantial capital investment in a business, they also employ US workers and run the business. However, at some point, they will be required to leave as their visa expires. After establishing a life in the US, it seems very unfair to not be allowed to adjust status to permanent residence in the US.

So, What Can Be Done? The USCIS can consider allowing E-2 Visa holders to adjust their status to permanent residence in the US if:

  • They have lived in the US for at least 5 years
  • They have been approved for a renewed E-2 Visa after meeting all the requirements

This process will ensure that the primary applicant and their family members will be allowed to adjust their status to gain permanent residency. This will not apply to any L-1A Intracompany Transferee executive, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge.

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