How do I stay in the U.S. after I Graduate?


How do I stay in the U.S. after I Graduate?

For those who have attended or are attending college in the United States, the question of what happens after graduation is always looming. Of course OPT is available to allow for work for 12 months or more, but what happens next?

For many students, the reality is that there will be no job offer or job sponsorship once OPT is complete.  Therefore, it’s on you, the student, to take your future into your own hands.  The E2 visa may be the best option you have in order to continue to live and work in the United States after graduation or OPT.  This article explores the advantages of the E2 visa and may help you decide if the E2 visa is right for you after you graduate and/or complete OPT.


No sponsorship needed

Sponsorship is, of course, the biggest hurdle to employment after graduation.  Within the last several years, and likely into the future, work visas are increasingly difficult to get – not only has the government tightened approvable work visa applications but employers are typically less likely to sponsor someone.  It’s an additional expense and an additional hurdle to employing someone.  The E2 visa is self-sponsored.  No one needs to hire you or “file for you.”

No need to prove “extraordinary” ability

One of the visa options available for those who wish to work in the U.S. is the O visa.  This visa is for those with extraordinary ability within a certain industry.  Unfortunately, most recent graduates don’t have the work history to show extraordinary ability, so this visa may not be available.  With the E2 visa, you don’t need to show any specific experience or extraordinary ability.  You only must prove that you can develop and direct the business you own.

Any business or industry is eligible

The E2 visa will allow ownership of nearly any business or industry.  The requirements are that the business must be legal, for-profit and should have customers or clients.  Other than that, there are no restrictions. In addition, the E2 visa is available for those who buy existing businesses and for those who start their own businesses.

It’s renewable indefinitely

The E2 visa is renewable every two to five years for as long as you and the business still meet the E@ visa requirements.  Some investors have lived in the United States on E2 visas for 30 years or more.

No per-country limit

Unlike some of the green card options, the E2 visa doesn’t have a per-country limit each year.  This means that no matter which treaty country you’re from, you can apply at any time and be approved at any time.


“Substantial” investment required

One of the main requirements for the E2 visa is that you invest a “substantial” amount of your personal funds into the business.  As a recent graduate (or current student), you may not have a substantial amount of money.  That said, many students are able to get a gift from their parents in order to invest in this business.  We have had success with this type of source of funds.

Some work/business experience may be needed

Although no particular type of experience, and no particular length of experience is required, you must be able to convince a U.S. consular officer that you have what it takes to “develop and direct” a business.  Now is the time to start looking at your resume to determine how you can prove that you can be a successful business owner even without decades of experience.  After discussing their work/education history, we have found that many students and recent graduates have experience that could be helpful for the E2, but that the students haven’t considered as work experience.

When comparing the e2 visa to the other work-related visas, many students and recent graduates have determined that the E2 visa is right for them.  Could the E2 visa be right for you?  Contact Angie today with additional questions to find out if the E2 visa may be the best option you have to stay in the U.S. after OPT.

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