E-2 Treaty Investors and their employees may have their spouses with them while working in the United States. The spouses either can accompany the principal visa holder or follow to join them at a later time. The period of stay of the spouses is the same as the principal E-2 visa holders. If the spouses are already in the United States, they can file a Change of Status or Extension of Stay to an E-2 family member classification. The E-2 spouses are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document to work, either full- or part-time, without any restrictions.
An E-2 is not a “dual intent” visa. This means that an E-2 visa holder cannot have intentions to permanently immigrate to the U.S. They can only work temporarily as a nonimmigrant worker.
A spouse of an E-2 visa holder also cannot have “dual intent;” therefore, the spouse cannot apply for a “green card.” However, since a spouse of an E-2 visa holder can legally work in the United States, the spouse, like the E-2 principal visa holder, can change their status to an H1B or L-1 visa if an employer will petition them and if they meet the educational and/or work experience requirements. Both the H1B and the L-1 visa are “dual intent” visas and the visa holders can apply soon after their arrival in the U.S. for either a family or employment base “green card.”
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