The E-2 visa, while being a non-immigrant investor visa, can also be considered a US business visa. The E-2 visa USA scheme permits both UK business proprietors and their UK National employees to secure long-term US visas.
UK Nationals can apply for two categories of E-2 visas:
– E2 Treaty Investor Visa E2 Investor Visa
– E2 Essential Worker Visas
An E2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables the holder to enter the United States with the intention of establishing or purchasing and subsequently “managing and overseeing” a U.S. business.
It’s crucial to understand that a holder of a U.S. E-2 visa can only be employed in the E-2 business for which the visa was granted. If the E2 business is properly structured, it can diversify into various other businesses, but the E-2 visa holder is only permitted to work in those businesses.
An E-2 visa holder is not permitted to participate in formal studies that are not related to their E-2 work or work for unrelated organizations. However, if a degree or study program is relevant to the petitioner’s E-2 visa work, part-time study might be feasible.
An E-2 essential worker visa permits a U.K. citizen to enter the United States to be employed in a business owned by a UK citizen.
Although there is no legally defined minimum investment, your investment should be “significant” relative to the business. The definition of “significant” can vary depending on the business. For instance, an investment of USD 100,000 might be considered “significant” for a small coffee shop, but it probably wouldn’t be deemed “significant” for a factory with over 500 employees.
US consular officers are typically guided to look for a minimum investment of USD 100,000, however, investments of a lesser amount are often approved.
Rather than applying for an E2 visa at a US consulate, one can achieve “E2 status” from within the United States without the need to secure an E-2 Visa.
Assuming you have pinpointed the business you intend to utilize for E-2 visa purposes, there are several stages to an E-2 investor visa application:
The business plan is arguably the most crucial component of the E-2 visa application.
A significant part of achieving E-2 success is persuading the consular officer that the applicant owns a legitimate business that is either already functioning or ready to start operations immediately.
Yes, you can bring your spouse and children who are under 21 years old to the United States as E-2 derivative visa holders.
Unlike the main E-2 visa holder, an E-2 derivative visa holder can secure general work authorization and work for any business or pursue a course of studies. This often requires thoughtful planning when determining which spouse should be the primary E-2 visa applicant.
There isn’t a specific limit on the total duration a U.K. National can possess an E2 visa. UK nationals are typically issued multiple entry E2 visas in increments, with a maximum limit of five years.
Despite other companies reporting shorter approval periods, all but one of our firm’s U.K. E-2 visa applicants have been granted an initial E-2 visa term of five (5) years. The sole exception was a case involving a very small business at a US consulate in Sydney where a U.K. National was issued an E-2 visa for an initial term of two (2) years.
Yes, there is a distinct requirement that mandates U.K. residency.
The prerequisites for a national of any country to secure an E-2 visa are determined by the treaty stipulations between the concerned country and the United States.
The treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom includes a clause that imposes a residency limitation on UK E-2 visa applicants. This limitation mandates that UK E-2 visa applicants must reside in mainland United Kingdom. Consequently, this brings up an issue regarding UK passport holders who do not live in the United Kingdom.
Our firm has processed E-2 visa applications for UK Nationals residing globally, but the stringent conditions of the U.K./U.S. treaty prohibit the granting of an E-2 visa to individuals living outside the United Kingdom. Based on our experience, U.S. consulates appear to interpret this clause as necessitating previous residency in the UK, along with an intention to return to their UK home and the legal entitlement to live in the UK. British Citizens abroad and other individuals holding UK Passports without the right to reside in the UK are unequivocally ineligible for E-2 visas.
Initiating a business in any US State necessitates having a business address within that State. This address must be a physical one. For E2-visa purposes, we advise businesses to either possess or rent suitable business premises.
Various types of businesses are utilized in E2-visa scenarios. The appropriate corporate entity largely depends on the business specifics, but the use of a limited liability company (LLC) is quite prevalent. It’s also prudent for a business to have a properly drafted employment agreement and fundamental corporate documentation.
Although not mandatory for US E2 visa purposes, as a US business proprietor, you might want to contemplate having a registered agent for your business.
Once you’ve set up a business in the US, it’s necessary to open a bank account and register for tax with the US Internal Revenue Service.
Our firm’s corporate and tax lawyers, who are well-versed in handling crucial business establishment and documentation matters, also support our Global Immigration attorneys.
You CANNOT acquire ANY visa while inside the United States.
It’s quite usual for individuals to visit the United States to explore business opportunities. This opens up the potential of transitioning to an “E2 Status” while already in the United States.
You can transition from another visa status to an E-2 status while in the United States. For instance, an applicant who comes to the United States on a B-1 visa to explore establishing a business may later be eligible to switch to an E-2 status and legally run a business that has been set up.
The visa waiver, also known as ESTA, is NOT a visa, hence it’s impossible to switch from an ESTA to an E-2 status while in the United States. This explains why many UK Nationals secure a B1/B2 visa prior to their arrival in the United States, instead of depending on the ESTA/visa waiver program. Although “changing status” to E-2 status provides you with the same privileges as those admitted to the United States with an E-2 visa, it doesn’t equate to being issued an E-2 visa. When you leave the United States, your E-2 “status” will be lost and you’ll have to apply for an E-2 visa at a US consulate to re-enter the United States.
If an individual with “E-2 status” chooses to stay in the United States indefinitely and renews their E2 status biennially, they would never require an E-2 “visa”.
Although it’s not uncommon for UK Nationals to stay in the United States under E-2 status without ever leaving the country, most individuals with E-2 “status” eventually travel outside the United States and apply for an E-2 visa.
An E-2 business and its proprietors typically pay tax in the United States on revenues generated within the country. The degree to which tax may or may not be due on other income should be investigated by one of our firm’s tax attorneys on an individual basis.
We have proficient E-2 visa attorneys stationed in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Our team in London is well-versed in the distinct processes at the US Embassy in London .
US E2 Global Immigration Partners PLLC, a prominent US law firm specializing in E-2 visa applications for UK Nationals, is headquartered in the United States and boasts a team of US-based professionals.
Our resources spread across the US, encompassing a team of expert E2 visa corporate attorneys and E2 visa tax attorneys, are at your disposal to aid you in establishing or acquiring your US business and applying for an E2 visa.
Our London-based team is ready to guide you through every stage of your E2 Visa process.
Global Immigration Partners PLLC is a specialized immigration law firm. Through our international presence we have specialist knowledge of the specific procedures in multiple embassies and consulates around-the-world.Book a free consultation