What is the Process of Changing Status from an E1 Visa to a Green Card?

Operating your own business in the U.S. is a dream & aspiration for thousands of traders and employees worldwide. USCIS approves status to eligible candidates looking to start their firm in the U.S. and contribute to the U.S. economy.

E1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa category issued by USCIS to traders & employees of treaty countries, such as Mexico, Japan, Italy, and Israel. There are several E1 Visa Holders who intend to settle in the U.S. permanently after commencing their business in the country.

USCIS allows E1 Visa Holders to change their status to Green Card Holder to reside permanently in the U.S. and enjoy the rights of Green Card Holders.

In this blog, we will walk you through the process of changing your status from an E1 Visa Holder to a Green Card Holder.

Common Paths to Change Status

There are three possible paths to change your status from E1 Visa to a Green Card Holder through family-based Immigration by filing Form I-130 or immigration investment or employer Green Card sponsorship.

Family-Based Immigration permits a Green Card to immediate relatives of Green Card Holders & U.S. Citizens. Employment-Based Green Cards are issued to foreign employees willing to get sponsorship from a US-Based Employer. And Immigration Investment can be applied through EB-5 Visa Program.

It requires applicants to have a minimum investment to create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. workers. The candidate doesn't need to change their status from E1 Visa to Green Card Holder if applying through EB5 Visa Program, as it doesn't require sponsorship from family or a US-Based employer.

Let us walk you through the process of changing the status for all three routes.

Path 1: Family-Based Green Card

Petition for Family-Based Green Cards & Immediate Relatives is for Green Card Holders & U.S. Citizens, foreign spouses, fiancé, children, parents, and siblings. They can file for a Family-Based Green Card for E-1 Visa Holder. The following is the process for sponsoring Family Immigration Green Card:

  • Family Sponsorship Form (Form I-130) to be completed & signed by the U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder
  • Green Card Application Form (Form I-485) to be filled & signed by E1 Visa Holder via Adjustment of Status process
  • Online Form DS-260 if the applicant is residing outside the U.S. via Consular Processing

Note: For Consular Processing, the applicant must appear for a medical examination & attend an interview at the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate Office.

Path 2: Employment-Based Green Card Sponsorship

USCIS issues Employment-Based Green Card Sponsorship/Employer-Sponsored Green Cards to foreign employees permanently employed in the U.S.

There are three Employment Green Cards employers can apply for E1 Visa Holder:

EB-1 Visa applicable for:

  • An Employee with Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)
  • Highly Qualified Professors and Researchers (EB-1B)
  • Multi-National Managers or Executives (EB-1C)

EB-2 Visa applicable for:

  • Highly Qualified & Professionals with Advanced Degrees (EB-2A)
  • Individuals with Exceptional Ability (EB-2B)
  • Persons with a National Interest Waiver (EB-2C)

EB-3 Visa is applicable for

Skilled & unskilled workers and professionals

The following is the process to obtain an Employment-Based Green Card through Employment Immigration:

  • Search for U.S. employers offering Green Card sponsorship for Employment.
  • Acquire Labor Certifications from the Department of Labor, indicating no available qualified U.S. Workers for the vacant job position.

Note: EB-1A & EB2C don't require a labor certification or employer sponsorship. However, they are eligible for Self-Petitioning. Getting a National Interest Waiver (EB-2C) means your qualifications benefits & project to the United States offset labor certification need.

  • Green Card Application Form (Form I-485) if you are within the U.S.
  • Online Form DS-260 if you are outside the U.S.
  • Submitting Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien/Foreign Worker) to the USCIS

Path 3: Immigration Investment

EB-5 Visa is an Immigrant Visa issued by USCIS to foreign investors allowing them to obtain U.S. permanent residence. E-1 Visa Holders get an initial two-year Conditional Green Card through AOS from E1 Visa to EB-5 Green Card.

You can get conditions removed on your Green Card to become a lawful Permanent Resident of the U.S. for ten years. The following are the steps to change status from E1 Visa to EB5 Visa to acquire a Green Card:

  • Form I-485 if staying in the U.S. and Online Form DS-260 if residing outside the U.S.
  • Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition for Alien/Foreign Investor) to the USCIS
  • Form I-829 (Petition to remove conditions on Green Card for acquiring lawful permanent residence)

Are you looking for expert guidance on immigration matters in Houston? Salinas Law Firm is here to help. Our dedicated Houston immigration attorney are committed to providing personalized, effective legal assistance to navigate the complex landscape of immigration law with ease and confidence.

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Documents Requirements

The following are some of the documents required to change your status from E-1 Visa Holder to Green Card:

  • A Copy of your Valid Passport (must be valid six months beyond your stay in the U.S.)
  • Two Colored ID Photographs with your full face visible
  • A Copy of your resume & U.S. Job Offer Letter (if any)
  • Form DS-150 for Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants
  • Form DS-156E for Non-Immigrant Investor Applications
  • A Proof of your National Interest Waiver/Extraordinary or Exceptional Abilities and Achievements
  • A copy of the Approved PERM Labor Certification
  • A Copy of Form I-130/I-140/I-526
  • A Copy of your Signed Medical & Vaccine Documents
  • Details of EB-5 Minimum Investment, Evidence of Legal Funds Source, and Business Plan as Proof of one year's worth of Trading Activity
  • Evidence of Trade between the U.S. & the Treaty (you're) country
  • Evidence of U.S. Remittance (Bank Loans, Transfer Exchange Permits)

Note: You might not be required to submit all the documents mentioned above or required to submit additional documents from above mentioned ones. To know the documentation list you must submit, paperwork, and forms, contact us for a consultation with our highly qualified E1 Visa Lawyers.

They will assist you with documentation gathering and the process to change your status from E1 Visa to a Green Card. Also, our Immigration Attorney will guide you in removing conditions in the case of Path 3 (EB-5 Visa).


After reading the blog, you will have an understanding about the process & documentation required to change your status from E1 Visa to a Green Card Holder. You can opt for any of the three paths mentioned according to your requirements & eligibility. However, if you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

At Salinas Law Firm, our E-1 Visa Attorneys have assisted countless of individuals in changing their status from E1 Visa to Green Card Holder. We stay connected with you at every stage to ensure your Visa application is processed faster.

For a consultation with our Immigration Visa Attorney, contact us at 713.518.1711.