USA and the UK
What is an E2 Visa?
The E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant permit designed for foreign investors from one of the treaty countries that have signed a trade agreement with the U.S.
To be eligible, you must intend to invest substantial funds in a bona fide U.S. business. Once you get your E2 Visa, you will be allowed to work only within your approved enterprise. You can bring with you your employees and colleagues as well.
If you have a significant financial asset that you wish to invest in a U.S. business, this may be the best option for you to enter the country. Call us on +1 844 290 6312 to learn more.
What are the E-2 Visa requirements?
To be eligible, you must meet the following E-2 Visa requirements:
- You need to have at least a 50% stake in the business. Otherwise, you must have a managerial or leadership position to prove your “operational control”;
- You must intent to invest “a substantial amount of capital” in a business located in the U.S.;
- Your investment must be made to generate a profit within five years;
- You must commit to “successfully develop and direct the enterprise”;
- Your business must employ U.S. workforce;
- Your company must be actively engaged in trade relations with other U.S. enterprises;
- You already have a business plan detailing the strategy of your new business.
What is an E-2 Visa processing time?
The first step of your E2 Visa application is to submit a DS-160 Form (Non-immigrant Visa Form). If you are traveling with your employees or colleagues, each applicant needs to file a separate DS-160F.
The USCIS will then require access to further documentation. You must provide proof of a stable source of income and evidence of your intent to return to your country of origin at the end of your authorized stay.
Each U.S. Consulate may have additional application requirements.
For example, in some cases, you may be asked to fill out the Non-immigrant Treaty Trader (also known as Treaty Investor Application).
What is the legal definition of “investment”?
The primary E2 Visa requirement is to invest a certain amount of money in a U.S. business.
To legally qualify as an “investment”, your funds must not have been generated through illegal means. You must also demonstrate that you are aware of the risk of loss of capital.
At the same time, your investment must not be marginal. This means it must be able to generate adequate income to provide for you and eventually your family within five years of you entering the U.S.
You can put your investment into a new company or an existing business. Since this visa cannot be used to create a job entirely for the applicant, your chosen enterprise should employ at least a few other people.
Besides, the business must have some proper dedicated premises. Companies run from home are not eligible for an E2 Visa.
On the other side, there are virtually no restrictions on the type of business you can start as an E2 Visa applicant.
What is the difference between E-1 and E-2 Visas?
Both E1 and E2 are intended to welcome foreign traders or investors in the U.S. However, only nationals from some distinct eligible countries can benefit from these permits
The E-1 Visa is opened to “substantial” traders that can offer benefits to both their local and U.S. organizations. On the other hand, E2 applicants must have access to a “committed and irrevocable” amount of money. This sum must be enough to cover any potential trade transaction, as well as any business-related risk.
E2 Visa holders are expected to generate a higher return from their international engagement. Conversely, E1 Visas can carry on their business without necessarily develop their company’s revenue.
If you are more interested in undertaking an import/export enterprise, you should check your eligibility to an E1 Treaty Trader Visa.
Additionally, if you have a higher sum to invest ($500,000 or more), it may be worth considering a different route. For example, you can go directly for an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Green Card. However, this permit cannot grant you the same flexibility as an E-2 Visa, since you will then need to meet different presence requirements.
What documentation do you need to apply for an E-2 Visa?
The most relevant part of your application consists of proving that your business meets the E2 Visa requirements. The following evidence are requested:
- Proof of where your funds originated;
- Your resume with details of your business experience;
- A recent tax return:
- Organizational charts and job descriptions for your employers;
- A complete business Plan;
- Have documents filed by the IR (such as paid bills, invoices and sales slips).
What is the E2 Visa processing time?
If the USCIS can adequately review your documents, the average E2 Visa processing time is 2-4 weeks.
Obtaining the visa for your employees usually takes another two weeks.
However, you can pay for a premium processing service. In this way, you may receive your response within 15 calendar days.
To apply for it, you must submit an I-907 form and pay an additional fee of $1,225.
What is the Treaty Investor Visa validity?
Eligible treaty investors and their employees are generally allowed an initial stay of two years. Before your visa expires, you can submit your request for an extension of stay.
As a general rule, you and your employees can stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your intention to go back to your home country when your immigration status expires or is terminated.
If you wish to travel abroad while holding an E2 Visa, you may be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission. During this timeframe, you can return to the U.S. without filing a new Form I-129.
How can I get an E-2 Visa renewal?
An E-2 Visa holder is initially admitted in the country for up to two years. Since each of the E-2 Treaty countries has different agreements with the U.S., the length of your authorized stay may vary.
Your permit can be extended indefinitely, as far as your business rationale is still relevant. Every E-2 Visa renewal grants a period of two more years in the country.
It is advisable to request your visa extension before your I-94 card expires. However, while you wait for your E2 Visa renewal approval, you may be granted an additional stay of 40 days in the U.S.
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- Your E2 Visa application can also be extended to your employees as long as they:
- Are considered indispensable to run the business;
- Are from the same nationality as the leading applicant;
- Will occupy supervisory or executive positions;
- Possess proven skills not readily available among U.S. workers.
You must file a separate petition form for each of your co-workers.
You E2 Visa status may cover your immediate family members, that is your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21. The only requirement they must meet to relocate in the U.S. is to be citizens of one of the E-2 eligible countries.
Once in the U.S., your spouse may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to seek the right to work in the country. Likewise, your children will be able to attend public school in the U.S.
Since it has a non-immigrant intent, the E2 Visa does not lead to a Green Card. To change your status, you need to apply for a new permit and then seek permanent residency.
After receiving your application, the USCIS will most likely check if your business can offer any economic benefit to the U.S.
You should be able to prove that your enterprise does not merely provide a basic living for you and your family. It is therefore essential to build an extensive portfolio to support your application.
The most effective way to get an E-2 Visa is seeking legal advice. Our qualified immigration lawyers have already helped several applicants on their route to this visa. Our service includes:
- Take control of your E-2 Visa application forms and submit them to the USCIS;
- Check if you have adequate documentation about your business;
- Follow the E-2 application process for your employers as well;
- Liaise with your local U.S. Consulate and the USCIS.
For more information and advice, please contact us on +1844 290 6312 or use our online enquiry form.