With this visa, investors can remain in the US, working to direct and develop their business. It can also give the executive and management level employees to do the same. Moreover, employees with essential skills can also apply for an E-2 visa. The prerequisite in this situation is that the petitioner must belong to the same country as the investor who files for the E-2 visa on their behalf. How it works is that an investor — the principal applicant – registers for the E-2 visa. Then they obtain the same for their employees who satisfy the qualifications.
There is no cap as to how many E-2 visas get approval in a year. Neither is there a set minimum for the investment an applicant must make. That’s because the nature of their business defines the limit of the E2 Visa Investment Amount.
There are similarities between the E-2 visa and the EB5 Immigrant Investor Green Card. However, the latter requires that an investor must commit $900,000 or more. In the same way, the EB5 mandates the creation of at least 10 jobs due to the said investment. The E-2 visa doesn’t have these limitations.
This blog post will cover the important details about the E-2 visa. That will include the privileges it entails, how you can get one, etc.
E-2 Visa Privileges
With the visa, you can work in the US as long as you do it for the investment vehicle stated on it. You may also travel outside and extend your permit to longer than the two years allowed. Moreover, your dependents can come to the US with you via the E2 Business Visa.
E-2 Visa Restrictions
Of course, there are limitations too. One of them is that you can only work for the principal applicant. If you are that applicant, your work must involve the investment vehicle you stated in your application.
E-2 Visa Requirements
The E2 Visa Requirements mandate a substantial investment. And while some cases got an approval with an investment less than $100 000, they were the exception. Additionally, the investor must show they’re only in the company for business. One way of doing that is by owning 50% stake in it. Another is through the occupation of a significant leadership position.
While the investment can be into a new or existing company, it should be legal and carry a risk of loss. Also, it shouldn’t exist just to create a job for the principal applicant. Aside from that, cases that create 3-5 jobs and generate sufficient income for the visa holder within as many years are most successful. Finally, the business cannot be run out of the investor’s home.
E-2 Visa Eligible Treaty Countries
The petitioners must be from any of the following E2 Visa Countries E2 Treaty Countries to qualify:
Argentina, Yugoslav, Armenia, United Kingdom, Australia, Ukraine, Austria, Turkey, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Belgium, Tobago, Bulgaria, Trinidad, Cameroon, Togo, Canada, Thailand, Colombia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Czech Republic, Suriname, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Spain, Egypt, Slovak Republic, Ethiopia, Senegal, Finland, Romania, France, Republic of Congo, Georgia, Poland, Germany, Philippines, Grenada, Paraguay, Honduras, Panama, Ireland, Pakistan, Italy, Oman, Jamaica, Norway, Japan, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Korea, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Liberia, Mexico, and Luxembourg.
How Much Does It Cost?
You must pay $460 when you file I-129 from within the US. The filing of the Form DS-160 costs $205. A premium processing speeds up your application if you can pay $1 225.
E-2 Visa Application Process
Based on where you are when you apply for the E-2 visa, you can use one of the following ways:
How to Apply If You’re inside the US
Begin with Form I-129 and file it with the USCIS. For the employers, their company must be the one to file Form I-129. Pay the fee and submit documents as evidence of your nationality, your business, your role in it, and an intent to leave the US afterward.
When the USCIS lets you know your petition has their approval, they send you Form I-797 and a Written Notice. The US Consulate is your next stop for your E-2 visa.
How to apply if you’re outside the US
Begin with Form DS-160 online. When you see a confirmation page, save it. Pay the fee and save its receipt too. Next, get a date for your interview at the US Embassy. Bring the visa appointment letter they send you to notify you of the date.
Along with the letter, the confirmation, and receipt, don’t forget:
- Passport with regulation photo
- Form DS-156E
- Proof of your investment or your employer’s letter, which details your role in that investment venture
- Evidence, such as leases and property deeds, proving you will go back home
The scope and substance of your investment will need proving too. For that, you can enter these documents:
- Your business plans and licenses
- Tax returns & IRS documentation
- Bank statements
- Service agreements
- Charts that explain the hierarchy and jobs
E-2 Visa Processing Time
Just as with E-1 visa, you may have to wait for two to four weeks for your visa. But you may reduce the time to 15 days with premium processing.
How Long is an E-2 Visa Valid For?
You can live in the US on your Visa E2 for 2 years without extension. After that, you must go back or get an extension.
Can an E-2 Visa Holder Obtain an Extension?
An E2 Investor Visa can get unlimited extensions. So, if you want to get one, submit Forms I-129 and I-539. Besides that, send in your passport, visa, copies of the I-94 and I-797, and personal and US business tax returns for the last two years. Finally, submit a letter explaining the need for the extension.
More importantly, while the judgment’s pending, you may remain in the US for 240 more days. However, that is only if you apply before the visa expires. If you fail to do that, the duration shortens to 40 days. After that time and still no decision, you must leave the US.
What About Family Members?
While a designated dependent visa doesn’t exist for E2 visa holders, your spouse and children – if they aren’t older than 21 – can come with you. However, they must also hail from a trade treaty country to qualify. If they share a home country with you, they get to stay in the US as long as you do. If they don’t, their validity period may be different.
To apply, each must submit Form I-539 and pay the fee. They must also have proof of their relationship with you. Birth/marriage certificates can be that proof. They are okay to work or study while here, as well. However, they’ll need an EAD to do the former.
Can an E-2 Visa Holder Obtain a Green Card?
The path from an E2 Visa to Green Card is just as difficult as it is for an E-1 visa. As a visa holder, you are let in because you had no intention to settle in the US. But you may choose one of several options. Sponsorship from an employer can get you an H-1B visa, which makes getting a green card easy. To get an EB-5 green card, you will have to invest $1 million and create 10 jobs. You may also ask your family with permanent residency for help. The last two options are claiming an EB-1 status or filing a National Interest Waiver (NIW).
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