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Can I apply for an E-2 visa if I enter on a B-2 Visa? Can I Change status to E-2 if I am not in B-1 status? Can I change status to E-2?

By February 14, 2020May 13th, 2021E-2 Visa, Immigration, Investor Visas

While most E-2 visas are filed at U.S. Consulates abroad, there are some instances where an applicant may apply for a change of status while in the U.S.  For example, an applicant could enter the U.S. on B status and then apply for a change of status to E-2 status by filing a I-129 petition.  The petition must be filed before the I-94 expiration date and the E-2 visa requirements are similar to those of U.S. Consulate.

You can find out more about when to file a change of status to E-2 status by clicking here.

You can find out more about the E-2 visa requirements by clicking here.

As described in the E-2 visa requirements in the above link, an applicant must perform and/or complete some activities before applying for an E-2 visa including:

  • Setting up a bank account
  • Setting up a business entity
  • Creation of a website
  • Establish business prospects (sign letters of intent and/or contracts)
  • Lease premises
  • Interview and Hire employees
  • Attend meetings

All of the activities described above are considered permitted B-1 activities and until recently USCIS has not questioned these activities being performed while on different visa types. For example, in the past, when an applicant entered on a B-2 visa (tourism) and was on B-2 status and then later changed status to E-2, USCIS would approve these applications.  In a recent trend, USCIS has started to issue RFEs asking applicants to address how they were able to perform the permitted B-1 activities if they were for example in B-2 status. (Note, B-2 status does not technically permit these activities)   In order to file a change of status application in the U.S., you must also prove that you have maintained valid status while in the U.S. so these activities could lead to a denial of an E-2 visa change of status petition.

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