A bill introduced in the House last week would allow foreign business owners in the U.S. on E-2 treaty investor visas to apply for permanent residency after 10 years.

E-2 visas allow foreign citizens of countries that have a treaty with the U.S. to invest in or start a U.S. business. E-2 visas are initially granted for two years and may be renewed in two-year increments. While the number of renewals is unlimited, E-2 visa holders must maintain an intent to leave when their visas expire and may not apply for a green card. Additionally, children of E-2 treaty investors must leave the U.S. or apply for another type of visa when they turn 21.

H.R. 1834, introduced by David W. Jolly, R-Fla., would allow E-2 visa holders to apply for permanent residency after 10 years and permit their children to remain in the U.S. until age 26 and apply for work when they are 18.

“Those who enter our country legally on a nonimmigrant E-2 visa come from all over the world to start a business in our country, bringing with them the entrepreneurial spirit to start businesses and fully integrate into our communities,” Jolly said. “Without an opportunity for permanent residency these visa holders cannot take the next step in carrying out the American dream that initially brought them to the United States.”

The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., and Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif.

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