The E-2 visa is a visa classification that lets business people from specific countries establish businesses in the US. With the visa, you can stay in the US to run your business. You can either choose to start a new business or purchase an existing one.
You should note that an E-2 visa is not the same with green card investment visas like the EB-5. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it is temporary. Although it can be renewed indefinitely. On the other hand, a green card is permanent. Also, green card investment visas require a minimum investment of $500,000 while an E-2 visa doesn’t have a minimum investment sum.
Features of the E-2 Visa
With an E-2 visa you can work in the US as long as the treaty your country has with the United States remains. You can also bring workers from your own treaty country to work in the U.S. However, this worker has to be a skilled employee or one in a managerial role. While in the U.S, the employee is restricted to working for only the E-2 visa company.
The duration period for a visa ranges from two to five years. The length of the validity period depends on the viability of the business in question. You can renew the validity period of the E-2 visa for an indefinite period of time. This is usually the period during which you still have to manage the business.
If you get an E-2 visa, it can be extended to cover your spouse and your children under the age of 21. While your spouse can get a work permit, your children can’t. However, your children will be entitled to a free public education from pre-school to high school. They can also go to college in the US without using a student visa.
Criteria for getting an E-2 Visa
There are six major requirements you need to meet in order to be qualified for an E-2 visa:
- You must be a citizen of a country that has an existing treaty of friendship with the United States.
- You must either be coming to work for a company that you own, or a company with majority shareholders from your country.
- You can either be the owner or a skilled employee of the company in question.
- The investment has to be substantial. Although there is no official threshold for determining substantial investment, it has to be a huge proportion of the total cost of establishing or purchasing the business in question.
- You should intend to leave the United States when your business in the U.S is complete. You will have to show the immigration officials your plans to leave the US when your business is done.
The application process for an E-2 visa is one that has its own specific series of complexities and documentation. Trying to do this on your own is sure to leave you making some costly mistakes that might jeopardize the whole process. This is why you need the legal guidance of experienced immigration attorneys throughout the process.