Understanding the E2 Visa: Requirements and Benefits

Global Immigration Partners, PLLC
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The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs to enter and work in the United States. It is a popular option for individuals who want to start or invest in a business in the US. In this article, we will discuss what an E2 visa is, its requirements, and its benefits. We will also delve into the process of applying for an E2 visa, the role of an E2 visa lawyer, and the potential advantages of obtaining this type of visa.

What is an E2 Visa?

An E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that is available to citizens of certain countries who have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. This visa is specifically designed for entrepreneurs and investors who want to enter the US to develop and direct their own businesses. It is not a permanent visa, but it can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business remains operational and meets the visa requirements. The E2 visa is a unique opportunity for business-minded individuals to expand their operations into the US market, offering a chance to contribute to the US economy while also benefiting from the country’s resources and opportunities.

E2 Visa Eligible Countries

Not all countries have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US, which means that not all citizens are eligible for an E2 visa. As of 2021, there are 80 countries that have a treaty with the US, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. A full list of eligible countries can be found on the US Department of State website. It’s important to note that the list of eligible countries can change, so it’s always a good idea to check the current list before starting the application process.

E2 Visa Lawyer

Applying for an E2 visa can be a complex and lengthy process, which is why many individuals choose to hire an E2 visa lawyer to assist them. An E2 visa lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in immigration law and has experience in helping clients obtain E2 visas. They can guide you through the application process, ensure that all requirements are met, and increase your chances of approval. In addition to guiding you through the application process, an E2 visa lawyer can also provide valuable advice on how to maintain your visa status and renew your visa when necessary.

E2 Visa Requirements

To be eligible for an E2 visa, there are certain requirements that must be met. These requirements include:

  • Citizenship: As mentioned earlier, the applicant must be a citizen of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US.
  • Investment: The applicant must have invested, or be in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a US business. The amount of investment required varies depending on the type of business and its location.
  • Ownership: The applicant must have at least 50% ownership of the US business.
  • Business Purpose: The US business must be a legitimate enterprise that is actively engaged in trade or services.
  • Intent to Depart: The applicant must have the intent to depart the US once their E2 visa expires.

In addition to these requirements, the applicant must also meet the general eligibility criteria for a non-immigrant visa, such as having a valid passport and not having any criminal or immigration violations. It’s also important to note that the E2 visa is not a dual intent visa, which means that the applicant must not have the intention to immigrate permanently to the US.

Investment Amount

The amount of investment required for an E2 visa can vary greatly depending on the type of business and its location. Generally, the investment must be substantial and sufficient to ensure the success of the business. The investment must also be at risk, meaning that the funds cannot be secured or guaranteed by any means. The investment should be enough to cover the startup costs of the business and its operational expenses until it becomes profitable.

Business Purpose

The US business must have a legitimate purpose and be actively engaged in trade or services. This means that the business must be involved in the exchange of goods or services with the goal of making a profit. Passive investments, such as buying stocks or real estate, do not qualify for an E2 visa. The business should also have the potential to create jobs for US workers, which can be a significant factor in the approval of the visa application.

Renewal Requirements

E2 visas can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business remains operational and meets the visa requirements. However, the applicant must continue to meet the eligibility criteria and provide evidence of the business’s ongoing operations and success. This includes financial statements, tax returns, and other documents that demonstrate the business’s profitability and positive impact on the US economy.

Benefits of an E2 Visa

There are several benefits to obtaining an E2 visa, including:

  • Flexibility: E2 visa holders have the flexibility to travel in and out of the US as needed.
  • Spouse and Children: The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an E2 visa holder can also obtain dependent visas to accompany them to the US.
  • Work Authorization: E2 visa holders are authorized to work in the US for the US business they have invested in.
  • No Cap: Unlike other non-immigrant visas, there is no annual cap on the number of E2 visas that can be issued.
  • Path to Permanent Residency: While the E2 visa itself is not a path to permanent residency, it can be a stepping stone to other visas, such as the EB-5 investor visa, which does lead to permanent residency.

In addition to these benefits, E2 visa holders can also enjoy the high standard of living in the US, access to quality education for their children, and the opportunity to expand their business in one of the world’s largest economies.

Conclusion

The E2 visa is a great option for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who want to start or invest in a business in the US. It provides flexibility, work authorization, and a path to permanent residency. However, the application process can be complex, and it is important to meet all the requirements to increase your chances of approval. If you are considering applying for an E2 visa, it is recommended to consult with an E2 visa lawyer to guide you through the process and ensure a successful application. With the right preparation and guidance, the E2 visa can open up a world of opportunities for you and your business.

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