When an eligible foreign individual obtains lawful permanent residence (green card) in the United States, heor she is allowed to live indefinitely in the country with no travel restrictions or limitations on work, study, or retirement.
In many cases, applicants that cannot directly apply for a green card may decide to apply for a non-immigrant visa and then file a petition for lawful permanent residence. However, not all types of temporary visas permit this type of strategy.
Is it possible to apply for a green card while living in the US under E-1 status? Keep reading to find out.
Can I Apply for a Green Card While on E-1 Visa? – An Honest Overview
As described by the United States Citizenship and Immigration services, the E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows “a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.”
In this context, a treaty country is a country:
- With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or
- Which has been deemed a qualifying E-1 country by legislation
In certain cases, an employee of an individual under E-1 status or working for a qualifying organization may also meet the eligibility criteria to obtain an E-1 visa. Besides being a national of a qualifying country, the other essential E-1 requirements established by USCIS include:
- The applicant must carry on substantial trade, and
- The applicant must carry on principal trade between the United States and the E-1 treaty country
USCIS defines the term “trade” as “the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country.”
Although an E-1 visa is a good option for foreigners who want to engage in trade with the United States, individuals interested in settling permanently within the country must be aware that an E-1 visa will not offer a direct path to lawful permanent residence.
Can I Apply for a Green Card While on E-1 Visa? – Feasible Solutions
Although an E-1 visa offers no direct path to US citizenship, it may be possible to stay in the United States under E-1 status for years considering there are no limits on the number of extensions one can apply for.
Nonetheless, renewing an E-1 visa requires remaining active in trading, which means the E-1 business must be engaged in relevant trade activities. Hence, if someone under E-1 status ceases the trading activities, it is not possible to remain living in the United States.
E-1 visa holders may apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) in two different scenarios – by marrying a US citizen or finding a US employer to sponsor an employment-based visa.
If an E-1 visa holder marries a US citizen, it is possible to apply for a marriage-based green card. It is worth noting that the applicant would not automatically receive lawful permanent residence but rather apply for lawful permanent status as the immediate relative of a US citizen.
Also, finding an employer to sponsor and filing an application with USCIS on his or her behalf is another possible solution for E-1 visa holders.
Are You Interested in Attaining US Lawful Permanent Residence on E-1 Visa? – Immediately Contact an Expert Attorney at Jurado & Associates, P.A.
Although an E-1 visa does not provide a direct path to a US green card, it is possible to find alternative solutions. Immediately contact an experienced immigration attorney by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com for an individual assessment.