Everything You Need to Know About E-2 Visas

What is an E-2 Visa?

Investors know the power of the American dollar, and gaining a foothold on American soil is not easy as a non-citizen. One foolproof way to navigate the confusing United States immigration and visitation laws is to apply for an E-2 visa, also known as an investor visa, in order to establish your status as a lawful nonimmigrant and be allowed to freely enter and leave the country as you wish.

While there are several types of E visas that allow you to use your wealth and finances to gain entry to the United States, the E-2 visa generally applies more to business owners and investors than other types of nonimmigrants.

There are many benefits to obtaining an E-2 over more traditional visas, including the option of allowing your employees to apply for this visa should they meet certain qualifications for entry to the United States. E-2 visa holders are also allowed to bring along family members as dependents, which makes this type of visa crucial to families looking to stay together whilst one party participates in enriching the US economy.

Along with those benefits also come restrictions–E-2 visa holders are only allowed to stay in the US for a maximum of two years initially, but the number of extensions granted to each party does not have limits, meaning that if you keep up with your visa, you can stay in the United States indefinitely should you apply for extensions.

Likewise, extensions can be granted to employees and dependents of the E-2 visa holder as long as they are applied for in a timely manner.

The main restriction, however, is those that qualify for an E-2; those applying must have citizenship to a country that the United States currently holds a trade treaty with, which severely limits those who are able to obtain this visa.

As such, the beneficiaries of this visa program are typically called “treaty investors”.

Who Qualifies for an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 visa program is generous and can be used by a variety of different investors, but there are quite a few restrictions and qualifications asked of those who participate in becoming a treaty investor. Depending upon whether you are applying as an investor, an employee, or a dependent/family member of an E-2 holder, different restrictions will apply.

It’s important to be aware of whether you meet these qualifications before you apply–and our talented E-2 visa lawyers is always standing by to assist you on that.

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Investor Qualifications for E-2

In order to become an E-2 visa holder or treaty investor, applicants must meet the following qualifications, which are defined in detail by USCIS:

        • Be a national/citizen of a treaty-holding country with the United States
        • Have or currently are in the process of investing in a business in the United States
      • Only seek to enter the country to develop the above mentioned business, proven by a 50% or more stake in the business

Of course, these qualifications must be factual and meet the legal standards for investing a substantial amount of money in a business. Shams, scams, or fake businesses will not pass by the eyes of USCIS investigators.

Employee Qualifications for E-2

Those seeking E-2 visas as an employee of an E-2 visa holder must meet the following standards:

        • Share the same nationality/country of origin with your E-2 holding employer
        • Be able to prove that you are an employee by US law
      • Work in a supervisor or executive role, if not, must have special qualifications that make you necessary for the functioning of the business

For more advice on meeting these qualifications, contact our expert attorneys to find out how we can help you qualify under the scrutiny of USCIS officials.

Family/Dependent Qualifications for E-2

Family members or dependents of E-2 visa holders also may qualify for a treaty investor visa, and the following restrictions apply:

    • Must be a spouse of or dependent under 21 years of age to qualify
    • Need not share the nationality with E-2 holder
    • Must not be looking for work in the United States

If you’re unsure whether your family members meet these qualifications, let us know and our E-2 treaty investor lawyers will help you to meet these qualifications and obtain your E-2 visa for both yourself and your family members.

What Are the Benefits and Disadvantages of an E-2 Investor Visa?

There are several different types of visas that nonimmigrants who decide to work and invest capital into the United States can apply for, and each come along with their own pros and cons.

The E-2 investor visa offers a set of its own special benefits that will appeal to some investors and business owners more than others. As with all things, there are also a few disadvantages that can come along with the E-2, so it will be better for some investors over others.

Benefits of an E-2 Visa

  • No Set Investment Requirements: There is no dollar amount that you must invest in order to qualify for this visa–the law states only that the investment must be enough to develop a non-marginal business.
  • Spouse and Dependents Are Covered: Many visas only cover the visa-holder, however with an E-2, holders will be able to extend their visas to spouses and dependents under 21. Children under 13 also do not generally have to go through the interview process like adults do.
  • E-2 Holders Do Not Have to Stay in the US: Although the E-2 will grant holders a period of two years to stay in the US before expiration, there is no obligation to visa holders to stay in or reside in the United States.
  • Endless Extensions: While the period of two years is generally the longest length the E-2 visa will apply, visa holders can apply for an unlimited number of visa extensions, which will generally be granted as long as the business or investments are showing financial returns.

Disadvantages of an E-2 Visa

  • Dependents Do Not Qualify for Work Visas: If you are an E-2 holder, your dependents may go to school in the United States, but they may not qualify for work visas.
  • E-2 Visa Extensions May Be Denied: Should you find yourself in the position where you business is unsuccessful or your investments have failed, you may find an extension to your E-2 will be denied for not providing sufficient investment into the US economy.
  • After 21, Dependents Must Apply for Another Visa: Once your dependents turn 21, they must apply for other visas as they no longer qualify under the E-2 visa program any longer.
  • Do Not Lead to Long-Term Residency: If you are not looking to reside in the United States for the rest of your life, an E visa is a good idea. However, if you want the freedom to become an American citizen, E-2 visas provide no pathway to permanent residency. For immigration and other concerns, look to getting a green card or other paths to citizenship.

If you’re having trouble deciding what type of visa you’d like to apply for, feel free to contact our experienced E2 lawyers to set up a consultation.

We will recommend the type of visa that is right for you and your business interests and help you through every step of the application process, from the correct forms to fill out to the final interview stages.

Your Best Bet for Obtaining an E-2 Visa: An Experienced International Law Firm

Navigating the ins and outs of nonimmigrant visas is an intentionally-confusing maze. United States Immigration typically wants to weed out those who do not have the resources to follow through on their investments or to trick their officers, and as such, the process to obtaining a visa can be onerous and take much too long.

An easy way to slim down the fat on obtaining an E-2 or other types of visas is to hire an experienced team of attorneys who have dealt in international law for their entire careers. While no one can put undue pressure on federal officers, formulating a plan of action to obtain your visa quickly and without hassle can only be done by those who have dealt with these officers in the past.

Call our offices today to schedule your consultation and speak to one of E-2 visa attorneys about visas, immigration, or other issues concerning international law.

We can offer you important advice that will limit your time spent on bureaucratic paperwork and allow you to focus on what’s really important: taking care of your investments.

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