E-2C CNMI Self-Petitioning Visa

This is a visa given to long term CNMI investors to keep their status while they make the transition from the CNMI Work Permit System to the full blown US Immigration Laws under USCIS and the various others agencies with jurisdiction over US Immigration Laws. The transition should be fully effective by December 2014 at which time this program will be phased out.

Who can File and What to File:

Any current CNMI investor desiring to maintain their status should file Form I-129 and I-129E with USCIS before January 18, 2013. They and their dependents will be granted E-2 CNMI investor status in increments of 2 years up to December 31, 2014. A new I-129 and I-129E will be required to apply for an extension.

CNMI Investor Statuses who were 1) in the sub-category of the retiree investor specifically limited to Japanese retirees; 2) who held Short-term business entry permits or 3) Regular-term business entry permits under CNMI Immigration law specifically do not qualify for E-2 Status

Mandatory Initial Evidence

As a starting point, all documentation previously submitted under CNMI Immigration Laws should be resubmitted to USCIS with the E-2 CNMI petition. However all applicants must provide evidence of CNMI-long term investor status received before November 28, 2009 as follows:

    • A valid unexpired foreign passport


    • A properly endorsed CNMI admission document (e.g., entry permit, entry certificate or foreign investor visa) reflecting lawful admission to the CNMI in long-term business investor, foreign investor, or retiree foreign investor status


  • An unexpired Long-Term Business Certificate, Foreign Investment Certificate, or a Foreign Retiree Investment Certificate

CNMI-issued Foreign Investor or Long-Term Business Entry Permit

Evidence that they maintained investment including all of the following, as applicable:

    • An approval letter issued by the CNMI government


    • Evidence that capital has been invested,


    • Evidence that the applicant has invested at least the minimum amount required,


    • A comprehensive business plan for new enterprises


    • Articles of incorporation, by-laws, partnership agreements, joint venture agreements, corporate minutes and annual reports, affidavits, declarations or certifications of paid-in capital


    • Current business licenses


    • Foreign business registration records, recent tax returns of any kind, evidence of other sources of capital


    • A listing of all resident and nonresident employees


    • A listing of all holders of business certificates for the business establishment


    • A listing of all corporations in which the applicant has a controlling interest


  • Copies of annual reports of investment activities in the CNMI showing that the certificate holder of a foreign investment is under continuing compliance with the standards required. Each report must be accompanied by an annual financial audit report performed by an independent certified public accountant

CNMI-Issued Retiree Investor Permit

    • Proof that the foreign applicant has an interest in property in the CNMI, such as a lease agreement


    • Proof of the value of that property, such as an appraisal


  • Proof of any improvements to the property, which could include receipts or invoices of the costs of construction, the amount paid for a preexisting structure, or an appraisal of improvements


USCIS has established criteria that allows certain individuals to obtain a nonimmigrant classification without having a prior nonimmigrant classification. If you are a CNMI worker with a valid CNMI work permit or parole status, immigration officials may consider you lawfully present in the CNMI for the purposes of obtaining a grant of initial grant of status. You must show that you:

    • Are lawfully present in the CNMI


    • Were present in the CNMI before November 28, 2009


    • Do not currently hold an nonimmigrant classification


    • Are not otherwise inadmissible.

For An Employee, do the Following:

    • A notation in bold capital letters at the top of the Form I-129 and/or the petition cover letterindicating this is a “Grant of Status” case


    • Check box “a” indicating “New employment” in Form I-129 Part 2


    • Check box “b” indicating “Change the person(s)’s status” in Form I-129 Part 2


    • Documentation establishing that the employee is lawfully present in the CNMI such as a copy of CNMI issued permit or parole authorization


    • An $85 biometrics processing fee

For Dependents E-2 Nonimmigrant Worker

    • A notation in bold capital letters at the top of the Form I-539 and/or the petition cover letter indicating this is a “Grant of Status” case


    • Check box “a” indicating “New employment” in Form I-539 Part 2


    • Check box “b” indicating “Change the person(s)’s status” in Form I-539 Part 2


    • Documentation establishing lawful presence in the CNMI unless filed
      concurrently with the principal’s I-129


    • An $85 biometrics processing fee

Travel Advisory
In order for an E-2 to travel abroad and return to the CNMI, a visa from the US State Department is required.

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