Can I apply to renew from within the US?
It is possible to apply to extend your E-2 visa from within the US, but this does not grant the holder a new visa.
This means when they leave the US, to gain reentry they would need to go through the standard renewal process at the local Embassy, which could take up to three months to complete.
What documents will I need to supply?
Your visa renewal application will need to be supported with extensive documentary evidence..
The specific documents will be determined by whether you are a business owner or an employee.
Examples could include for business owners:
- Tax returns
- W-2s and 1099 forms
- Copies of contracts and agreements
- Bank statements
- Company organogram
- Color copy of passport biography page
- Latest annual report
Examples could include for employees:
- Letter from your employer justifying the renewal requirement
- Color copy of your passport biography page, US entry stamps, US visas and I-94
- Your résumé
Note these examples are far from complete or exhaustive. We can advise on the documents to be compiled and submitted based on your specific circumstances.
What will I be asked at the interview?
It is a thorough exercise to assess the actual progress of your company against the parameters and goals you set out in your original business plan.
The business must demonstrate it has achieved what it set out to achieve and made the requisite contribution to the US economy.
Have the business and financial projections been achieved? How many employees have been hired in the US over the course of the E-2 visa period?
What if your E-2 visa extension has been refused?
If your extension application has been refused, in most cases this is because you have been deemed to no longer be eligible for this visa category as you have failed to meet at least one of the visa requirements, such as the E-2 company becoming ‘marginal’. Your extension application will need to show that the company is succeeding and has made progress in line with the initial E-2 visa business plan.
If you have received an E-2 extension denial, take professional advice straight away to understand your options. Refusals are a complex area of immigration law, and your next steps will largely depend on your circumstances and the reason for refusal.
If you apply to renew your visa from a US Embassy and your visa application is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States using your previous visa, even if time remains on this visa.
If you apply to renew your E-2 status from within the United States and your application is denied, you will need to prepare to depart the United States. Overstaying, ie remaining in the US after the expiry of your status, could result in deportation and restrictions placed on future visa applications.
Any dependents including spouse will also have to depart the US.
Can an E-2 Visa lead to Green Card?
Put simply – no. The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, meaning there is no path to permanent US residence.
At the point when you ‘complete’ your work or exit the business – eg to retire, disposal, acquisition – no longer meeting the E-2 visa eligibility criteria, the visa is no longer valid, and you must return to your home country, provided no other alternative visa could apply should you wish to remain in the US.