Citizens of certain countries with treaties of commerce with the U.S. might be eligible for E-2 visas if they want to invest substantial capital to develop and operate a business within the U.S. People can apply for E-2 investor visas directly at U.S. Consulates abroad, helping to make the process relatively fast. The E-2 treaty investor visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means that it will not lead to permanent U.S. residency. However, there is no statutory limitation on how many times an E-2 visa can be renewed. A New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates might help people through the E-2 application process.
What Are the Requirements for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?
There are several eligibility requirements for E-2 treaty investor visa applicants. Investors must be nationals of treaty countries, and entities must also have the same nationality. However, a U.S. business can qualify as an E-2 entity if treaty nationals have ownership stakes of at least 50%. The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of treaty countries on its website here.
The second requirement is that the investment must be large enough to ensure the business will continue its operations. While the EB-5 visa has a set minimum investment amount, the required investment for the E-2 visa does not have a specified minimum. To qualify, the investment must be substantial enough to fund the purchase or start-up costs for the E-2 business enterprise.
The business entity must be real, active, and currently operating or that will be able to start operating as soon as the visa is issued. If the enterprise is a startup, your New York E-2 visa lawyer can help you to collect the types of evidence that you might need to submit with your application. Some examples might include business leases, contracts, letters of intent, articles of incorporation, comprehensive business plans, and financial documents.
The investment you make must also be sufficient enough to provide for the employment of someone beyond just the investor. Self-employment will not be enough to qualify, and simply investing in real estate will likewise not be sufficient.
What Is the Application Process?
To get an E-2 visa, you will not file a petition with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service to initiate the process. Instead, you will submit your application directly with a U.S. Consulate in your home country. Different U.S. Consulates may have different requirements governing the application process. A New York E-2 visa lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates can help you to understand the requirements in your country. In most cases, people are required to attend in-person interviews before their visas will be issued.
Duration of E-2 Visas
The duration of an E-2 visa will depend on your country’s reciprocity with the U.S. for its citizens. The maximum allowed duration is five years. However, no matter how much time might remain on your E-2 visa, a single E-2 entry will authorize an admission into the U.S. and stay of a maximum of two years. An E-2 visa holder can leave the U.S. and reenter with a valid E-2 visa for a new admission of two years. This means that even if your visa authorization has time remaining, you will need to leave the U.S. and return before it expires. As an alternative, you can apply for an extension of your authorized stay with the USCIS. Once your E-2 visa expires, you will be required to leave the U.S. and submit a new E-2 visa application at a U.S. Consulate abroad.
Spouses and Children
If you are married or have dependent children, they can apply for E-2 visas based on yours. The spouse of an E-2 visa holder is allowed to apply for work authorization. Minor children cannot work, but they can attend school in the U.S. without securing student visas until they reach age 21.
Using E-2 Visas to Hire Non-Investors
An E-2 entity can use E-2 visas to hire non-investors from the treaty country to work in supervisory, executive, managerial, or essential employee positions. The E-2 visa process does not require any filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, unlike other visas like the H-1B employment visa.
E-2 visas are nonimmigrant visas and are designed to be temporary. However, there is no limit on the number of times an applicant can apply for and secure E-2 visas. Visa holders can apply for new E-2 visas at U.S. Consulates abroad or file petitions with the USCIS within the U.S. for an extension if international travel is not planned.
Securing an E-2 visa will not provide a path to permanent residency status in the U.S. However, you might be able to modify your investments and apply for a change of status for a direct EB-5 immigrant visa. Other alternatives might also allow you to become a permanent resident of the U.S. A New York E2 visa lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates can discuss the options that might be available.
Talk to a New York Immigration Lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates
The E-2 visa may provide a great option for nationals of treaty countries to develop or operate businesses within the U.S. A New York E-2 visa lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates can help you through the application or renewal process. If you need help with immigration services, contact us today at 212-944-9420.