E2 visa applicants should apply to renew their E-2 visa in advance of the expiry of their current visa, in order to maintain continuity of status in the United States.
The E-2 visa renewal process isn’t too dissimilar to the process for the initial E-2 visa application. You will again be required to collate and submit substantial documentation, which, will be subject to significant Embassy scrutiny.
We advise individuals and companies on the process for renewing an E-2 visa, including guidance on compiling on the required supporting documentation.
Depending on whether you are applying from within or outside the US, the renewal process and implications on your status will be different.
We can advise on your specific circumstances, exploring alternative visa options where necessary.
With exceptional knowledge and insight into US visa application processes, we advise non-US entrepreneurs and investors, their dependents and their employees on visa extensions to remain in the USA, providing full support when submitting applications to the relevant US authorities.
Contact our US immigration experts
For advice on any aspect of a US visa application, contact our US immigration attorneys.
Importantly, your status (not your visa) determines how long you can stay in the US at any one time.
If your E-2 visa is valid for 5 years, this does not mean that you can stay in the US for 5 years continuously. With an E-2 visa, you are typically granted a 2 year admission period by US Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) each time you enter the US.
So if you depart the US and return within the duration of your visa, you would generally be granted a two-year readmission period upon your return.
The length of time your E-2 visa is valid depends on the nationality of the applicant. The period of visa validity generally ranges from 1 year to 5 years.
It is advisable to start to look at your renewal process at least 6 months before your current visa expires.
Reach out to your legal representation and start the discussions about how the business is performing, and the type of documentation you will need to be collating for the renewal process.
It is advisable to file your visa extension application at least 12 weeks before visa expiry. You will be allowed to remain in the United States until the expiration of your I-94 admission date.
There is no limit on the number of times you can renew your E-2 visa, provided you and the E-2 business continue to meet the requirements under the category.
Something to note here – you will have to evidence with each renewal application your intention to depart the US when your visa expires. For example, that you have accommodation to return to (such as retaining your own residence) in your home country.
In your extension application, you will need to show that you have complied with the terms of your visa and the E-2 company continues to meet the E-2 visa requirements.
This include evidence that:
As with the original visa application, there will be a mandatory interview stage after you have submitted the documentation.
You will need to apply from within the country you made your initial application ie outside of the US.
For example where an investor has applied from the UK, they would have to return to the UK to submit the renewal application and attend the interview.
Where the Embassy requires that a company application first be submitted and considered, the investors and employees can continue to work and live in the US while the Embassy is considering the company renewal application, provided their immigration status remains valid.
When the Embassy is ready to interview the individuals, the applicants must return and attend the interview in person.
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.
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:
Examples could include for employees:
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.
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?
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 E-2 spouses will also have to depart the US.
Put simply – no. The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, meaning there is no direct path to permanent US residence.
At the point when you ‘complete’ your work or exit the business, for example, if you retire, or if the business is acquired by a direct owner, you will no longer meet the E-2 visa eligibility criteria and your visa will no longer be valid. Consequently, you no longer hold lawful immigration status and you must return to your home country, unless you have secured alternative permission to remain in the US under a different visa category.