E-2 VISA IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2015 - Treaty Investor Green Card?

Florida Congressman David Jolly is introducing a Bill into Congress that could have important positive effects on E-2 Treaty Investors Visa holders interested in pursuing permanent residence. 

Under current law, the E-2 Visa is what is known as a "nonimmigrant" visa, meaning that to remain eligible, an E-2 visa holder must maintain an intent to return abroad following the conclusion of their stay in the U.S.  Additionally, the E-2 investor visa does not always easily parlay into an EB-5 Investor Green Card, given the additional requirements of the EB-5 program to meet a minimum investment threshold of between $500,000 and $1 million in a new commercial enterprise and the requirement to create and/or sustain 10 U.S. jobs.  Thus, an E-2 visa holder who has invested a much smaller sum (typically around $100,000) and who do not meet the requisite job creation requirements, could not use their E-2 company as an EB-5 investment vehicle.

The new bill is expected to provide a new option to E-2 Treaty Investors and, thus, the entrepreneurs who frequently use this visa category to start companies in the United States.  More specifically, the bill would grant permanent residence to E-2 Treaty Investors who have resided in the U.S. for at least 10 years in E-2 status and whose businesses have created at least 2 full-time jobs during this period.  Children of Treaty Investor green card applicants would be permitted to remain in the U.S. as dependents on their parent's visas up until the age of 26 and could apply for employment authorization after turning 18.

While certainly a positive step for pro-entrepreneur immigration reform, it is important to note that existing law will remain in effect and the Treaty Investor Green Card would only become available if and when Congress passes the Bill and the President signs it into law.