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An E-2 Visa was created for countries in which the United States has entered into treaties with. An E-2 Visa allows businesspeople from those countries to work in the U.S. for a business in which they have invested in. This page is meant to be a resource for you around the topic of E-2 visas for treaty investors.
Benefits of an E-2 Visa
Some people call the E-2 visa the next best thing compared to U.S. permanent residence. Let’s review some of the benefits an E-2 Visa provides:
- A treaty investor and certain employees can work legally in the United States
- Initial visas may last up to 5 years with unlimited extensions
- The length of a visa depends on the visa reciprocity agreement between the U.S. and the visa holder’s country of origin
- Each time a E-2 visa holder (the holder, the workers, and the family members) enter into the United States, they receive a period of stay up to two years in length, which can be extended while still living in the U.S.
- Visas are available for the visa holder’s spouse and minor, unmarried children under age 21.
- The spouse of a visa holder may also apply for a work permit to work in the United States.
- Children of an E-2 visa holder may study in a public or private school until age 21 (whereupon they need an F-1 visa).
Other Important Notes About E-2 Visas
- An E-2 investor and their employees are restricted to working only for the self-owned business that is associated with the E-2 sponsor.
Requirements to Qualify for an E-2 Visa
There are 6 requirements to qualify for an E-2 Visa:
- The applicant must be a citizen of the country in which has a treaty with the U.S.
- The applicant must own at least 50% of the business, while the other owners reside in the country of origin.
- The applicant must be the owner or key employee of the business, such as an executive or a person with essential skills to the success of the business.
- The applicant or company must make a substantial investment in the U.S. business, which has been determined to be more or less between $100,000 and $150,000 for most businesses (there are some exceptions to this). This business must be trying to make a profit.
- The applicant’s U.S. company must be engaged in commercial activities while meeting the applicable state or regional legal requirements for doing business.
- The applicant must show the government they have plans to leave the United States once their business is completed in the U.S.
Steps to Apply for an E-2 Visa with a Lawyer
Above we discussed the 6 requirements to qualify for an E-2 Visa. However, you and your lawyer will need to file your E-2 Visa package exactly as the specific U.S. Consulate requests and present a strong case for E-2 Visa success:
1. Set up Business and Business Bank Account
Set up the corporation, limited liability company, S-Corporation, or entity of your choice for the E-2 Business. You can do this online for most states, but it is recommended that you consult with a business attorney to make sure you choose the appropriate type of business entity for your goals. Next, you will need to open a business bank account in the name of the business, and apply for an EIN for that business. Once this has been completed, you can move funds into this account. The money must be traced, so make sure that funds you move to this account were legitimately earned and can be documented.
2. Create an Immigration Business Plan
The third step is to provide a business plan outlining your future investments in the United States. This business plan is not a regular business plan in terms of what you learn in business school; it is one tailored to the immigration regulations for the E-2 Visa. Our company can recommend you to a great Business Plan writer who will help you meet the qualifications for this unique visa.
3. Collect Supporting Evidence
You and your lawyer will need to provide the following pieces of evidence:
- Passport with at least 6 months remaining before it expires
- 2 identical passport-style photos against a light background, 2x2 inches in size
- Copy of your resume or curriculum vitae with a summary of your career qualifications and educational background that qualifies you as a successful business owner
- Evidence that you’re either the owner, or employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or that you have highly specialized skills essential for making the operation a success, with at least 50 percent ownership in the business ((bank records, financial statements, loans, savings, or promissory notes).
- Evidence of remittance to the U.S., which includes bank drafts, transfers exchange permits, or receipts
- Evidence of establishment of business in the U.S., such as articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, shares, titles, contracts, staffing charts, licenses, leases, etc.
- Evidence of nationality of the investors and traders, such as passports, articles of incorporation of the parent company or stock exchange listings
- Evidence of your investment in the U.S., including receipts, contracts, tax returns, and financial statements
- Evidence of substantiality, which can include financial statements, tax returns, and audits
- Evidence that the enterprise is not marginal (IRS forms, payroll records, personal tax returns, evidence of personal assets and/or income)
- Evidence that your business is real. This can include annual reports, sales literature, news articles, and other evidence.
4. Fill out Forms to Schedule Interview at Consulate
Even though it is technically possible to apply to change your status to an E-2 inside the United States, it is not practical at this time considering extended wait times for the I-539 form to be adjudicated. Instead, it is best to apply for an interview at your U.S. consulate at your home by filing the DS-160 form. Your attorney will need to review these details for you before you submit it as well as prepare you for the interview. Lastly, your attorney will send you the E-2 Package that she prepared for you to bring to the U.S. Embassy appointment. Each embassy has very specific requirements about page number limits and sizes of margins, etc, so it is important to make sure these requirements are closely followed and that you follow your attorney’s instructions about how to answer the Consulate’s questions about your business.
Which Countries Qualify for E-2 Visas?
If you’re wondering which countries qualify for E-2 Visas, The U.S. government created a list of E-2 Visa Treaty countries you can view here. In total, 78 countries have E-2 Visa Treaties.
How Long Can I Stay In the United States with an E-2 Visa?
Initially, an E-2 Visa is issued for up to 5 years, however, you can obtain an unlimited number of extensions as needed. Each country has a different period of issuance, so please consult with an experienced attorney concerning your country of citizenship.
E-2 Visa VS. EB-5 Green Cards Through Investment
An E-2 Visa is an excellent non-immigrant visa to achieve many goals for you and your family, although it does not lead to a green card. However,an EB-5 visa is a permanent solution to staying in the United States after it is approved, although it takes several years before a green card is available and does not give you a valid status inside the United States while your case is pending. An EB-5 investment visa requires a dollar investment of at least $800,000.00, although it can take several years to be approved. While an E-2 visa has no set dollar amount required, it is most commonly at least $100,000, and the visa can be approved on the spot at your interview.
Hire a Top E2 Visa Lawyer in Miami, Florida
If you are looking to hire a top E-2 Visa lawyer to help you obtain a Treaty Investor Visa, also known as an E-2 Visa, in the United States, you’ve come to the right place. Immigration Lawyers USA are top immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida and are able to help you navigate the complexities of E-2 visas and help you throughout the process of winning your case. Give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or contact us here to schedule your consultation.