- The E-2 is a temporary visa – however, an applicant may potentially continually renew their visa or classification, subject to USCIS or Consulate approval.
- Though an Immigrant Visa (Green card) application could be filed, the E-2 visa does not allow for dual-intent. This means that the E-2 itself or travel during the pendency of the Immigrant Visa could be affected by delays or denials.
- Applicant must be a citizen of eligible countries to apply.
- Generally, a large volume of supporting documentation required.
- There is no requirement that an Applicant maintain a business abroad (as for L-1 cases).
- A ‘Substantial investment’ is required. The investment must be substantial for the particular type of businesspurchased or initiated.
- Applicant are required to put their funds ‘at risk’ in the E-2 Enterprise prior to submitting the application.
- Applicant must be entering the S. to ‘develop and direct’ the business.
- The E-2 Enterprise’s business income should not be marginal – only sufficient for the E-2 visa holder and his family.
- The spouse of an E-2 visa holder is eligible for a work permit (and does not have to be a National of a Treaty Country), children may attend school until theage of 21.
- Currently there are no caps or quotas for the E-2.
|The E-2 visa category is for use by business owners, managers, and employees who wish to engage in business activities within the US through the creation or purchase of a business. Upon visa approval, an applicant may enter the US relatively quickly along with his/her spouse and children to begin operations for that business. The spouse of an E-2 Visa holder may obtain an EAD work authorization document which will allow him or her to engage in work anywhere. Subject to certain conditions, the E-2 Visa holder may obtain and renew his or her visa indefinitely, as long as they continue to maintain non-immigrant intent – meaning that the individual eventually plans to leave the United States.|
The Majority Ownership, “Substantial Investment”, and “Funds-At-Risk” Requirements
The E-2 visa applicant must create a company or purchase a company in the States and retain both majority ownership and ‘veto-power’ over operational decisions. The investment made in the company must be ‘substantial’, an amount not fully detailed by the USCIS, and one which is different for every type of business being created or bought. A professional services company, such as an Electrician Contracting business will necessarily cost less to set up and run than an inventory intensive business, such as a Clothing and Apparel store. The general rule of thumb is that for businesses you must invest at least 75% of the fair market value of a smaller business in that particular industry costs to purchase or set-up.
An important requirement to note – the USCIS requires that your personal funds be at risk, so you may not obtain loans secured by the business itself. You may obtain funds secured personally, such as loans from friends or family, but they should not make up the majority of the funds that you are investing. Finally, you must be putting your funds “at-risk”, meaning that you must already be in the process of investing in the company. This may include obtaining a lease with the sole condition “of E-2 Visa Approval” and beginning to purchase inventory for the business. The USCIS wants to ensure that the E-2 visa applicant is serious about investing.
Treaty Eligible Countries
“Marginal Income” and “Essential Role In Enterprise” Requirements
The E-2 Business cannot simply provide the E-2 visa applicant and his or her family with a level of income sufficient only to provide a living for the family. Further, the business cannot be the only source of income for the applicant and his family (minimal income from abroad is required). As well, the E-2 business must be able to earn, or have the future ability to earn enough to employ others in the business and make an economic contribution in the surrounding community. Throughout this period, the E-2 visa applicant must continue to play a key role in the enterprise by developing directing the operation.