Which are the E2 Investor visa countries?
The owners of the foreign company must be nationals of a country that has a treaty of commerce with the United States, or a country designated by Congress as eligible for participation in the E-2 non-immigrant visa program.
If you are a national of another country, there may still be alternative entry options available to you, depending on the nature and required duration of stay. Take advice on your particular circumstances.
Even if you have satisfied the treaty investor visa requirements, the maximum possible duration of the E-2 visas will be dictated by your country of origin. For example – for UK citizens, the maximum is five years, but for Mexican nationals it is 12 months. Some countries operate under a maximum of 3 months stay (e.g. Egypt, Jordan).
Looking specifically at the treaty between the US and UK, E-2 classification requires that UK citizens reside in the UK at the time they apply for their E-2 visa. You will need to evidence that UK residence has been maintained through for example maintaining a job and home in the UK.
What evidence and documentation will I need to submit in the E2 visa application?
In order for a foreign company to be granted E2 registration as a treaty investor, it will necessary to gather documentation evidencing that each requirement has been met.
Such documentation would include, among others:
- evidence of the nationality of the foreign company;
- evidence of the trail of investment from the foreign company to the US company, and usage of such funds to develop the enterprise;
- evidence that the US company is, or soon will be, a real and operating enterprise;
- if the foreign company is investing in an operating business, evidence that the business is more than marginal; and
- if the foreign company is investing in a start up, evidence that the business will be more than marginal.
How long does it take to get an E-2 investor visa?
E-2 visa processing times are determined largely by the US Consular post where you filed your petition (usually in your country of residence). As a general guide, you could expect E-2 visa processing to take around one to two months.
Processing can take longer if there are issues with your application. For example, where you have received a request for further information. This emphasises the importance of ensuring your application is full and complete when filed.
Will there be an E2 visa interview?
4- 6 weeks after submitting your application and business plan to the US Embassy, you should expect to be invited to attend an interview.
You will be questioned on the information you have provided about yourself and the business in your application and business plan.
It will be important to prepare well for the interview, to be familiar with the detail of your submissions and to answer any general questions for example about your immigration history and education and work background. The business plan will also be scrutinized to ascertain the degree of economic benefit your business would bring to the US market.
Can I bring my family or other dependents with me?
The spouse and children of an employee granted an E2 visa may apply for E2 visas, which will allow them to reside with the employee in the US.
Dependent visa applications may be made at the time of the E2 employee’s interview, or by scheduling a separate interview at a US consular post following approval of the E2 employee’s visa application.
Once in the US in E2 status, an E2 employee’s spouse may apply for employment authorization which will allow them to work legally in the US for any employer.
Can my spouse work in the US?
E-2 spouses are permitted to work at any job (except for certain government positions) but should first apply for an employment authorization card (EAD) prior to taking up any employment in the US.
Can I renew my E2 visa?
E2 company registrations are renewable indefinitely (for up to five years at a time), provided the foreign and US companies continue to meet E2 requirements.
E2 visa applicants should apply to extend their E2 visa before expiry of their current grant of leave to maintain continuity of status in the United States. However they must demonstrate as part of their renewal their continued intent to return to their home country following completion of work in the US.
There are additional factors to take into consideration when applying to extend, including the requirement to provide specific documentation to accompany and support your renewal application. Take professional advice on your specific circumstances.
There is no limit to the number of times you can apply to renew your E-2 visa.
Each renewal is an application, requiring a petition and supporting documents to be submitted evidencing that you have met the requirements under the visa and that you continue to be eligible under the route e.g. creating at least two full time jobs for US resident workers.
What if my E2 visa application is refused?
If your application is rejected, you will be informed by letter.
The letter will identify the grounds for refusal. On this basis, you may wish to seek professional advice on your options to either petition or to reapply.
Can I apply for a US Green Card with an E2 visa?
An E2 visa does not provide a path to permanent resident status but options may be available to you depending upon a number of factors, including whether you continue to operate an overseas business or have extraordinary achievements, awards or recognition in your field. Seek advice on the options available to you.
Should I consider the E1 visa?
The E1 Treaty Trader visa is potentially open to individuals or businesses of treaty nations engaged in substantial trade activity with the US – as opposed to the E2 which is relevant where there has been and will be further significant investment in a US business in which the investor has at least a 50% ownership. Take advice on suitability based on your circumstances.