An alien in another valid non-immigrant status may apply for a change of status to E-2 classification by filing an application for change of status on Form I-129 and its E supplement with the immigration service center that has jurisdiction over the alien's intended place of employment in the United States.
The spouse or minor children of an applicant seeking to change status to that of treaty investor alien shall file concurrent applications for change of status to derivative treaty classification on the appropriate form(s). Application for derivative treaty status shall be approved only if the principal treaty alien is granted treaty alien status and continues to maintain that status.
The current filing fee is $130. There is currently a premium processing option for an additional $1,000, paid to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will process the application within 15 calendar days from receipt of the application. Processing the application does not mean that there will necessarily be a final decision after 15 days, but that there will be a response after this time. This response may be a visa approval; a denial or it may also include a request for additional documentation from the petitioner or the employer.
E visa applications can be filed with the USCIS California and Texas Service Centers. If the place of employment is within the jurisdiction of the Nebraska or California Centers, applications should be filed with the California Center. If the place of employment is within the jurisdiction of the Texas and Vermont Centers, applications should be filed with the Texas Service Center. (Note: Aliens who came to the United States via a Visa Waiver Pilot Program are not eligible to change non-immigrant status. For more information about Visa Waiver Pilot Programs, click here).
The alien may send form I-129 and supplement E to extend his/her stay in the United States for two years, or for the time requested on the petition, if less than two years. Each accompanying family member who filed an I-539 application will also be granted the change of status for the same period as the principal applicant.
As in the case of an alien entering on an E-2 visa, if the alien desires an extension of stay, he or she would file a request for an extension with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); extensions will be granted in increments of two years. For more information about extension of stay, click here.
E-2 Provisions Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
The North American Free Trade Agreement that went into effect between the United States, Canada, and Mexico on January 1, 1994 provides for reciprocal availability of E-2 Treaty Investor and E-1 Treaty Trader status for Canadian or Mexican citizens who want to enter the U.S. as Treaty Traders or Investors, and for U.S. citizens who wish to enter Canada or Mexico for those purposes. NAFTA applies only to native born or naturalized citizens of Canada or Mexico, and not to "landed immigrants" or permanent residents of those countries. While in most cases, Canadian citizens do not need to obtain nonimmigrant visas to enter the U.S., a different rule exists in the case of "E" visas. Both Canadian and Mexican citizens must apply for nonimmigrant E-2 or E-1 visas at a U.S. consular post, and be issued an E-2 or E-1 visa before being admitted to the United States in such status. Therefore, Canadian citizens must obtain nonimmigrant visas for entry into the United States in E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant status.
For more information on the E-2 category, please click one of the following links:
Duration of E-2 visa, Stay and Extension
Terms and conditions of an E-2 visa
U.S. Port of Entry
Change to E-2 classification in the United States
USCIS Processing Time
The timescale for us to prepare for an E-2 application
Change to Other Non-immigrant Status
Frequently Asked Questions About E-2 Visa