E-2 Visa: A Professional Guide to the Investor Visa Process

Understanding E-2 Visa

If you are an investor looking to start a business in the United States, the E-2 Visa may be the right nonimmigrant visa for you. This visa is designed for individuals who want to invest in and run a business in the US. Here’s what you need to know about the E-2 Visa.

What is an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to invest in and run a business in the United States. To be eligible for this visa, you must be a national of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US. You must also be coming to the US solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.

How to qualify for an E-2 Visa?

To qualify for an E-2 Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a national of a treaty country
  • Invest a substantial amount of capital in a US business
  • Be in a position to develop and direct the business
  • Demonstrate that the investment is not marginal
  • Prove that you intend to leave the US when your E-2 status ends

What is considered a substantial investment?

There is no set amount that qualifies as a substantial investment. The amount required will depend on the nature of the business and the investment needed to start and run it. However, it is generally accepted that the investment should be enough to ensure the success of the business.

What is considered a marginal investment?

A marginal investment is one that is not sufficient to generate more than a minimal living for the investor and their family. To be eligible for an E-2 Visa, the investment must be more than marginal.

How long can you stay in the US on an E-2 Visa?

An E-2 Visa is usually granted for two years. However, there is no limit to the number of times you can renew the visa, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Can your family come with you on an E-2 Visa?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can come with you to the US on an E-2 Visa. They can also attend school in the US and your spouse can work.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. This section will cover the nationality and investment requirements.

Nationality Requirements

To be eligible for an E-2 visa, you must be a national of a treaty country. The United States has signed treaties with several countries, and citizens of those countries are eligible for the E-2 visa. Check with the U.S. Department of State to see if your country has a treaty with the U.S.

Investment Requirements

To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must make a substantial investment in a U.S. business. The investment must be more than a marginal investment and must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business. The investment must also be at risk, meaning that you could lose your investment if the business fails.

The investment must be made in a business that is active and operating. Passive investments, such as real estate investments, do not qualify for an E-2 visa. The investment must also be made by the same nationality as the E-2 visa applicant.

The investment amount required for an E-2 visa varies depending on the business and the industry. The investment must be substantial, but there is no minimum investment amount required by law. However, the investment must be proportional to the total cost of the business.

In summary, to be eligible for an E-2 visa, you must be a national of a treaty country and make a substantial investment in a U.S. business that is active and operating. The investment must be at risk, and the investment amount must be proportional to the total cost of the business.

Application Process

The E-2 Visa application process consists of three phases: the Preparation Phase, the Submission Phase, and the Interview Phase. In this section, we will discuss each phase in detail and provide you with the necessary information to successfully apply for an E-2 Visa.

Preparation Phase

During the Preparation Phase, you will need to gather all the necessary documents and information required for the E-2 Visa application. This includes completing the DS-160 form, which is an online non-immigrant visa application form. You will need to provide personal information, travel plans, and other details.

You will also need to prepare a photo that meets the requirements set by the U.S. Department of State. The photo must be taken within the last six months and should be in color, with a white background. The photo should be 2 x 2 inches in size and your face should be in the center of the photo.

In addition, you will need to have a valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.

Submission Phase

Once you have completed the Preparation Phase, you can begin the Submission Phase. This involves paying the visa application fee and scheduling an appointment for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country.

During the Submission Phase, you will need to provide all the required documents, including your passport, DS-160 confirmation page, and other supporting documents such as proof of your investment in the United States.

Interview Phase

The final phase of the E-2 Visa application process is the Interview Phase. During this phase, you will attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The interview is an opportunity for the consular officer to ask you questions about your business, investment, and intentions in the United States.

It is important to be prepared for the interview by reviewing your application and supporting documents, and practicing your responses to potential questions.

In summary, applying for an E-2 Visa requires careful preparation, submission of required documents, and attending an interview. By following the steps outlined in this section, you can increase your chances of a successful application.

Role and Responsibilities

As an E-2 Treaty Investor, you have certain responsibilities to fulfill in order to maintain your visa status. Additionally, as an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure that your employees are also meeting the requirements of their visa status. Here are the roles and responsibilities for both investors and employees:

For Investors

As an E-2 Treaty Investor, you have the following responsibilities:

  • You must be actively involved in the management of the U.S. business that you have invested in.
  • You must invest a significant amount of capital in the U.S. business.
  • You must ensure that the U.S. business is not solely for the purpose of earning a living for you and your family.
  • You must maintain your nonimmigrant intent and plan to depart the U.S. when your E-2 status ends.

For Employees

As an E-2 employee, you have the following responsibilities:

  • You must work solely for the E-2 employer who sponsored your visa.
  • You must work in the position that was approved by USCIS.
  • You must maintain your nonimmigrant intent and plan to depart the U.S. when your E-2 status ends.
  • You must have the necessary qualifications and skills to perform the job.

As an employer, you have the following responsibilities:

  • You must ensure that your E-2 employees are working in the position that was approved by USCIS.
  • You must ensure that your E-2 employees are maintaining their nonimmigrant intent.
  • You must ensure that your E-2 employees are not working for any other employer.
  • You must ensure that your E-2 employees are being paid a fair wage for the work they are performing.

In addition to the above responsibilities, as an executive or supervisor, you have the responsibility to oversee the day-to-day operations of the U.S. business. As an employer, you have the responsibility to ensure that the U.S. business is complying with all U.S. laws and regulations.

Rights and Limitations

For Principal E-2 Visa Holders

As the principal E-2 visa holder, you have certain rights and limitations. You have the right to work and live in the United States for a period of up to two years, which can be extended indefinitely as long as you maintain your E-2 status. You can also travel in and out of the United States freely during this period.

However, it is important to note that the E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means that it does not provide a direct path to permanent residence or immigrant status. Additionally, your E-2 visa is tied to the specific business or investment that you used to qualify for the visa. If you want to change your business or investment, you will need to apply for a new E-2 visa.

For Family Members

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can also accompany you to the United States on an E-2 visa. Your spouse is eligible to apply for work authorization, which will allow them to work in any job in the United States. Your children are eligible to attend school in the United States.

It is important to note that your family members are only eligible for E-2 visa status as long as you maintain your own E-2 status. If you lose your E-2 status, your family members will also lose their status.

Other Considerations

There are some additional considerations to keep in mind as an E-2 visa holder. For example, if you want to apply for permanent residence in the United States, you will need to do so through a different visa category. Additionally, while you are eligible to work in the United States on your E-2 visa, you cannot work for any employer other than the business or investment that you used to qualify for the visa.

It is also important to maintain your E-2 status by ensuring that your business or investment continues to meet the requirements for E-2 visa eligibility. If your business or investment no longer meets these requirements, you may lose your E-2 status and be required to leave the United States.

Overall, the E-2 visa provides a valuable opportunity for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to work and live in the United States. However, it is important to understand the rights and limitations that come with this visa category in order to make the most of your time in the United States.

List of Treaty Countries

If you are considering applying for an E-2 treaty investor visa, it is important to know which countries have treaties with the United States that allow for this type of visa. The E-2 visa is only available to citizens of countries that have signed a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. Currently, there are over 80 treaty countries that have signed such treaties with the United States.

Here is a list of some of the treaty countries that have signed treaties with the United States:

  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Grenada
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Honduras
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liberia
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Sweden

Note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other countries that have signed treaties with the United States that are not listed here. Additionally, it is important to note that the terms of each treaty may vary, so it is important to consult with an immigration attorney to determine whether you are eligible for an E-2 visa based on your country of citizenship and the terms of the treaty between your country and the United States.

USCIS and Consulate Services

When it comes to obtaining an E-2 visa, USCIS and consulate services play a crucial role in the process. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is responsible for adjudicating E-2 visa petitions filed by investors who are already in the United States. On the other hand, the consulate services are responsible for processing E-2 visa applications filed by investors who are outside of the United States.

If you are already in the United States and wish to change your status to an E-2 visa, you will need to file Form I-129 with the USCIS. This form is used for non-immigrant workers and is used to apply for a change of status. You will also need to provide supporting documentation such as a business plan, financial statements, and evidence of your investment.

If you are outside of the United States and wish to apply for an E-2 visa, you will need to submit your application to the consulate services. You will need to provide supporting documentation such as a business plan, financial statements, and evidence of your investment. The consulate services will review your application and conduct an interview to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for the E-2 visa.

It is important to note that the consulate services have the final say in whether or not you are granted an E-2 visa. If your application is denied, you can file an appeal with the consulate services or try again at a later time.

In addition to USCIS and consulate services, it is also important to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the E-2 visa process. An attorney can help you prepare your application, provide advice on how to present your case, and represent you if your application is denied.

Overall, USCIS and consulate services play a critical role in the E-2 visa process. By understanding their roles and working with an experienced immigration attorney, you can increase your chances of obtaining an E-2 visa and successfully investing in a U.S. enterprise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for obtaining an E-2 visa?

To obtain an E-2 visa, you must be a citizen of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. You must also invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business, and the investment must be made with the intention of developing and directing the business. Additionally, you must be coming to the U.S. to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.

Can an E-2 visa holder work for a company other than the one that sponsored their visa?

No, an E-2 visa holder can only work for the company that sponsored their visa. However, if the E-2 visa holder wishes to work for another company, they must apply for a new E-2 visa sponsored by the new company.

How long can an E-2 visa holder stay in the US?

An E-2 visa holder can stay in the U.S. for up to two years. However, the visa can be renewed indefinitely as long as the E-2 visa holder continues to meet the requirements.

What is the difference between an E-1 visa and an E-2 visa?

The E-1 visa is for individuals coming to the U.S. to engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and their home country, while the E-2 visa is for individuals coming to the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Additionally, the E-1 visa does not require the applicant to be an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee, while the E-2 visa does.

What types of businesses are eligible for E-2 visas?

Any type of business can be eligible for an E-2 visa, as long as the business meets the requirements for substantial investment and development.

Is it possible to convert an E-2 visa to a green card?

Yes, it is possible to convert an E-2 visa to a green card through the process of adjustment of status. However, the E-2 visa holder must meet the eligibility requirements for a green card, such as having a qualifying family relationship or an approved employment-based petition.

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