In the U.S. immigration law, circumstances change rapidly, interfering with the current nonimmigrant status or providing the foreigner with the opportunity to obtain a lawful permanent resident status or a green card.
While there are many other nonimmigrant visas for international students (such as J-international exchange visitor, F-1 , or M1), and employment based visas, etc., here we will talk about E-2 change of status.
If you have an E-2 status as an alternative to the green card, you are probably looking for more information on how to change status with the other visa category. The good idea is to think about getting an E-2 visa change of status to H-1B.
Let’s first discover what are E-2 and H-1b visa, and their advantages, and if you have any questions, please contact us and request a consultation with a lawyer.
What is the E2 Visa?
The E-2 visa is intended for treaty investors that want to invest in an existing or new business in the U.S.
If you think about using the E-2 visa to obtain a green card eventually, here is a breakdown of the requirements. To qualify for the E2 visa, an investor has to be eligible:
Treaty Country Citizen
Only applicants coming from a country that has a valid treaty with the U.S. (also includes individuals with dual citizenship with one of these countries) are eligible to submit their applications for E2 visa.
Intention to Invest
If not yet invested in an enterprise, the investor must provide evidence to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS that the process has started and is close to consummating the investment.
Business’s ability to support the investor
The investor has to demonstrate that it has the potential to operate and produce a profit and present a 5-year detailed business plan.
Substantial investment requirements
There is no minimum investment required, but the regulation states that it must be “substantial.” This means that it must constitute a significant portion of the business owner, usually deemed to be over $100,000.
Having the ability and being in a position to manage actively (“develop or direct”) – playing a significant role in daily business operations, for example, as the CEO or board chairman of a corporation.
Note: It is recommended to use consular processing for filing the application at an U.S. embassy or consulate abroad since, in that case, E-2 status will probably be granted for longer period of time in your passport.
H-1B Visa – Specialty Occupation Positions
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements to get the E-2 visa renewal, you may not be able to renew your status, and you may need to request an E-2 visa status transfer. In such a situation, foreigners like you usually choose to apply for the H-1B visa.
The H-1B is en employment based visa that appears to be an ideal path for many immigrants. It has relatively low eligibility requirements, but it has certain limitations.
The H-1B is valid for a maximum of six years, and, unfortunately, the status cannot be renewed after your priority date becomes current. To get the H-1B status, you will have to find a sponsoring employer. Moreover, it doesn’t guarantee the approval of your application form since it is subject to an annual limit of available visas.
Secure the H1-B By Meeting the Following Requirements:
• Have an employment offer from a U.S. employer who will sponsor you;
• The job offer must qualify as a “specialty occupation” related to your field of work or study;
• The employer has to pay wage for your position meeting the prevailing wage according to the industry standard (or higher);
• At the time of filing the petition, there must be an available visa number (or the petition has to be exempt from numerical limits).
Applicants who provide services of exceptional merit and ability applicable to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability” are also eligible to apply for H-1B.
Reasons For Change of Status- E-2 Transfer
The E-2 has plenty of advantages, such as no requirement of a higher degree or having a sponsoring employer. Additionally, the E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely, as long as your enterprise operates in the U.S.
The main advantage of the E-2 visa is that it allow you to legally pursue legal permanent residence (or a green card status) while under this status because of its dual intent characteristic.
If you can demonstrate you have extraordinary ability in businesses, the arts, sciences, or education, you may qualify for the EB1-1, or get the EB-3 for bachelor’s degree holders as well as skilled and unskilled workers. These visa types are route to a green card.
How to Change Status – Change E-2 to H1B?
There is no official change of status process for E-2 to the H-1B. To change status, you will have to apply for the H-1B from the start and pass several steps.
Practice Specialty Occupation
The first step is to make sure that you are eligible and that:
- You have at least a bachelor’s degree or relevant experience in the field you want to work (one year at a university equals three years of work experience)
- The job offer relates to a specialty occupation according to USCIS standards.
Have A Sponsoring Employer
You cannot self petition H1B as you could do for E-2 visa status. So this is why you will have to find an employer to sponsor your visa. This sponsoring employer must offer you a job in the specialty position within the company, file the I-129 petition on your behalf and pay the prevailing wage for the position. The application process starts on April 1st of the year you plan to start working.
Besides, your employer also has to file a Labor Condition Application form.
Win the Lottery
To get the H1B, aplicants will have to “win the lottery.”
Due to the popularity of the H-1B, it is common for more people to file application than the number of visas available per year.
Your chances to be selected and get the H-1B are higher if you have a master’s degree or work for a nonprofit organization, an institution of higher education, or a governmental research center since those petitions are subject to the cap-exempt.
Get The Approval for Change of status
If USCIS selects your petition, they will evaluate it first to ensure that you are qualified for the E-2 transfer to H1B.
Once your petition is approved, you can start working as an H1B worker no earlier than October 1st.
Remember that due to strict dates, you should be sure to plan your visa status remain valid between your E-2 expiration and your H1B start date. Otherwise, if you fail to maintain valid status and remain in the country, it can result in you being considered “out of status” and severe consequences, preventing you to get entry visa as well. Talk to a lawyer to prevent any potential consequences.
Immigration Attorney-Client Relationship Secures Winning the Case
If you are in the process of getting a visa or change status, anxiety is a huge distraction, but a consultation with the immigration attorney can bring peace to mind.
When starting the visa process, it is essential to seek competent and right lawyer to give you advice and help you uncover the winning strategy.
You are not alone. You can contact the Herman Legal Group, an award-winning law firm experienced in all areas of immigration law.
To ensure you feel safe, motivated, and on the right path, we nurture an outstanding attorney-client relationship by analyzing the facts and developing the best legal strategy.
You can set up a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys. Contact us at 1-216-696-6170 or booking online through the form.