New Investor Visa - E-2 CNMI Investor Visa

January 2011 - By Shahzad Ahmed with NeJame Law

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted a final rule in the Federal Register that creates a nonimmigrant investor visa classification in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The "E-2 CNMI Investor Visa" permits long term investors to reside in the CNMI through December 2014. USCIS will begin receiving petitions for the "E-2 CNMI Investor" classification on Jan. 18, 2011.

The E-2 CNMI Investor Visa will be issued for two years. The investor's spouse and child can be included as dependents. Further, the investor may apply for an extension of the visa.

Long-term investors are individuals with certain CNMI-issued investor permits that required a fixed minimum investment amount and whose permits can be renewed

The E-2 CNMI Investor status will be available to long-term business investors, foreign investors and retiree foreign investors. In order to qualify for this investor status, the investor must:

  • Have been admitted to the CNMI with a long-term investor visa under CNMI immigration law before Nov. 28, 2009;
  • Have continuously maintained residence in the CNMI with long-term investor status;
  • Currently maintain the investment(s) that formed the basis for the CNMI long-term investor status; and
  • Otherwise be admissible to the United States under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.

Under the current rule, the Investors must have an initial petition filed before Jan. 18, 2013. After the initial petition is granted, extensions are available until Dec. 31, 2014.