Are you looking to get an E-2 Visa for yourself or your employees? Then we can help you. We have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and businesses to obtain their E-2 visas to enter the United States in a fast and stress-free way. We can do the same for you. Contact us at (305) 921-0976 to obtain your E-2 visa in the fastest manner!
Below, find our complete guide about the E-2 Visa. You will learn all about the requirements, processing time, and why you should hire an immigration lawyer from Jurado & Associates, P.A. to help you.
What is the E-2 Visa? – Full Explanation
As provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows eligible foreign nationals to be admitted to the United States upon investing a substantial amount of capital in a US-based business.
The E-2 classification applies to foreign investors from treaty countries, which are countries:
- With which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- With which the US maintains a qualifying international agreement
- Which have been deemed qualifying countries by legislation
Additionally, non-investor employees of E-2 businesses may apply for an E-2 visa, provided that the applicant shares the same nationality as the E-2 investor and will occupy an executive or supervisory position that is essential to the business’s operation in the United States.
The term “substantial amount” is not fixed by USCIS. The amount of investment considered eligible by US Immigration varies according to the proposed business plan. Typically, the investment must be at least $100,000 considering a startup or small business.
Plus, the investment in a new business enterprise must be sufficient to start and operate the company. Accordingly, an investment will be deemed as “substantial” if it is not sufficient to capitalize and materialize the applicant’s proposed business plan. To determine whether an investment amount is substantial, USCIS utilizes an “Inverted Sliding Scale.” This technique permits USCIS to assess the investment’s substantiality in proportion to the proposed enterprise’s total cost.
When applying for an E-2 visa, the applicant must also hold a controlling interest in the business. In most cases, it translates to at least 50% of business ownership. It is worth noting that many E-2 investors prefer to use the required substantial amount of capital to buy a franchise or an existing business for sale. This approach is a good option for entrepreneurs who want to take the first step into the US market using an already established business model.
How long is an E-2 visa?
E2 visas are valid for five years. One of the E-2 requirements is that investors must return to their countries of origin or change their immigration status once they conclude their business activities. In this sense, the E-2 visa is not “dual intent,” which means treaty investors can neither apply nor adjust their status while being under E-2 status. Yet, there are no limits on the number of extensions treaty investors can apply for. It is possible to renew an E-2 visa with a two-year extension – as long as the applicant maintains the eligibility criteria established by USCIS. E2 visa extensions are granted in two-year increments.
What are the E-2 Visa Requirements for Investors?
Remember that this guide is an overview, and hence, if you want to get a professional answer then you can contact us, in order to let you know if you qualify for this type of visa or what options might be more suitable for your case. You can read more about entrepreneur visas here to explore additional options.
Applicant must a National of a Treaty Country
As its name suggests, the E-2 Treaty Visa is available for legitimate citizens of treaty countries. It is worth noting that it is not enough to maintain legal permanent residence in one of these countries, as citizenship is a primary requirement. Plus, the applicant’s current passport must be from a treaty country as well.
In case you are not a national of a treaty country, you can refer to our article that talks about this topic. We bring you answers and solutions in order to help you obtain your E-2 Visa. It is possible but it requires an extra step, and at Jurado & Associates, P.A, we know exactly what to do. Get in touch with us by calling (305) 921-0976 to assist you.
The Amount Invested Must Be Considered Substantial
As the E-2 visa does not have a minimum investment amount, applicants must guarantee that the amount invested is sufficient to cover the business’s expenses and ensure a successful operation. USCIS will require evidence that the amount was obtained through a legitimate source. Plus, applicants should provide documents such as personal/business bank statements, itemized lists of materials purchased for the E-2 company, financial accounting documents, amongst other crucial requirements.
The Amount Invested Must be Put at Risk
USCIS determines that E-2 investors must be irrevocably committed to their business proposals. Accordingly, the amount invested must be put “at risk” – if the applicant steps back from investing without losing anything, he/she will not likely qualify. Notice that applicants pursuing an E-2 visa must have already spent the amount towards the US-based enterprise.
The Applicant’s Investment Must Be a Real Operating Enterprise
Although the E-2 visa is an “investor” visa, this classification will not allow applicants who plan to invest passively to qualify. To qualify for E-2 status, applicants must demonstrate their business proposal is a real operating enterprise that offers tangible goods and services. No speculative investments qualify for E-2 classification, such as:
- Real estate investments
- Stocks, bonds, derivatives
- Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security
The Applicant’s Investment Cannot Be Marginal
If the applicant’s proposed business will generate only enough income to sustain him and his family, this E-2 application will likely fail. USCIS provides that successful E-2 applicants cannot propose a marginal enterprise. Instead, the proposed enterprise must generate significantly more income than just enough to provide the applicant and his/her family a living in the United States. Plus, the proposed enterprise must have a positive economic impact on the country.
The Investor Must Be Coming to the US to Develop and Direct the Enterprise
One of USCIS requirements for E-2 applicants is that the investor must “be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.” Overall, applicants can establish it by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or operational control through a managerial/ executive position.
E-2 Requirements for Employees
First, non-investors willing to enter the United States to work as employees within E-2 companies must pay attention, as:
- The applicant must be a citizen of the same treaty country that the E-2 employer maintains citizenship
- The applicant must qualify as an “employee” as qualified by US Law
- The applicant must prove that his/her employment is crucial to the E-2 business
Commonly, only employees in managerial or executive positions manage to obtain E-2 visas, followed by professionals with specialized knowledge that makes them irreplaceable to the operation or development of the E-2 enterprise.
Is it hard to get an E-2 visa? – Why You Need an Immigration Lawyer
Since 2017, the E-2 visa is one of the most sought-after options in USCIS. Accordingly, statistics show an approval rate of 80% associated with E-2 Treaty visa applications.
However, it is crucial to assess which problems led the remaining 20% to fail during the application process. Each application is different, but most applications rejected by USCIS involve some issue associated with the applicant, the investment, or the proposed business. Overall, a large number of E-2 applicants fail because they do not have proper legal guidance. However, solving this issue is easy by calling Jurado & Associates, P.A. at (305) 921-0976.
Many applicants fail to demonstrate the required level of competence in the segment that the proposed E-2 company will operate. In this sense, professional degrees and provable professional experience may help applicants to meet the established requirements. Several E-2 applications are denied by USCIS based on factors such as investments considered too low, failure to provide proper documentation to prove the legitimacy of the funds/assets applied, etc.
Although regulations do not establish restrictions regarding the type of business that may qualify for an E-2 visa, some types of businesses will influence the USCIS officials on whether the applicant’s petition will succeed or not.
Contact Us Today If You Want to Apply for an E-2 Treaty Visa
If you are a citizen of a qualifying E-2 treaty country and want to enter the United States legally, feel free to contact us to improve your chances of obtaining an E-2 visa. Wait no more and call us at (305) 921-0976 or email us at Romy@juradolawfirm.com for a professional consultation.