More Startups Seek E Visas, but Green Cards Remain Elusive

Law360

Pierre Georges Bonnefil, a Member of the Firm, and Catherine Flores Silie, an Associate, in the Immigration Law Group of the Labor and Employment practice, in the firm’s New York office, authored an article in Law360, titled “More Startups Seek E Visas, but Green Cards Remain Elusive.” (Read the full version — subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Growing worldwide economic instability has served as an impetus for some entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners to strategically review their business plans and objectives. To ensure business and/or professional viability, many explore opportunities in a foreign land. The United States has been a popular choice.

Over recent years, our immigration practice has noticed a dramatic increase in requests for assistance with E visas by small startup enterprises mostly from France, Italy and other Western European countries. This article will focus specifically on the E-1 Treaty Trader (“E-1”) and E-2 Treaty Investor (“E-2”) nonimmigrant visa classifications as a vehicle for businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals to secure a fresh start, expand their business, and/or explore other ways to meet personal or business objectives. This article also will review options to transition from E-1/E-2 to U.S. lawful permanent residence (“green card”) status, which can prove to be a rocky path due to the nonimmigrant intent requirement associated with E-1 and E-2 visas. But this is an important transition to consider because, after staying in the United States for a few years, the nonimmigrant may desire to remain here permanently.