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E-2C Nonimmigrant Category Expires on December 31, 2014

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The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 created the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Investor (E-2C) nonimmigrant visa classification.  This allowed eligible foreign, long-term investors and their spouses and children to remain lawfully present in the CNMI from November 28, 2009 through December 2014 while they resolved their immigration status. This classification was intended to help as the CNMI transitioned from the CNMI permit system to U.S. immigration laws. Unless Congress takes legislative action to extend it, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Investor (E-2C) nonimmigrant visa category will expire on December 31, 2014.

If you have E-2C investor status

If you have E-2C status, you must depart the CNMI after December 31, 2014 or qualify for and obtain another nonimmigrant or immigrant status in order to lawfully remain in the CNMI.

Depending upon your particular circumstances, you may wish to consider other family-based or employment-based categories. These include, but are not limited to:

  • E-2 treaty investor.
  • The CNMI-Only Transitional Worker (CW) program.

If you do not obtain another nonimmigrant or immigrant status and do not depart the CNMI after December 31, 2014, you will begin to accrue unlawful presence on January 1, 2015. 

E-2 treaty investors

Certain foreign investors may obtain a nonimmigrant treaty investor (E-2) visa to enter the United States or may change from another status to E-2 treaty investor nonimmigrant status within the United States.

To qualify for E-2 treaty investor status, treaty investors must:

  • Invest, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
  • Seek entry solely to develop and direct the enterprise
  • Be nationals of a country with which the United States has a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation or its equivalent
  • Intend to depart the United States when their treaty investor status ends

For additional requirements to qualify for the E-2 treaty investor status, please refer to the E-2 Treaty Investors Web page.

Spouses and children of E-2 investors can obtain E-2 nonimmigrant status. In some cases, employees of E-2 investors also can obtain E-2 status. 

CW status

In June 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor extended the CW program for an additional five years.  Although the Department of Labor action did not extend the E-2C program (only Congress can do that), E-2C investors may be eligible to change to CW-1 status if an employer will sponsor them and they meet the conditions of the CW immigration category. Spouses and minor children of CW-1 workers can obtain CW-2 status. Unlike derivative children of E-2C or E-2 children (who must be under 21 years of age), children of CW-1 workers must be under 18 years of age to obtain CW-2 status.


E-2C nonimmigrants are not eligible for parole in the CNMI. Anyone who has had a nonimmigrant status is not eligible to apply for or to receive parole in the CNMI, regardless of whether or not their nonimmigrant status has expired.

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