On this page, we will explain who qualifies for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa in the United States, the requirements which must be met, and the application process. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers, and solicitors in London, on 020 3744 2797 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The United States is a natural choice for many business investors from treaty countries (countries with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation). In order to look after their interests in the United States, foreign business investors often need to be present in the country for a period of time to steer the business or businesses in which they have invested substantial sums of capital. This allows them to have a direct impact on how such businesses are set up and run. In order to spend time in the US for this purpose, investors require an E-2 Treaty Investor visa. On this page, we will explain who qualifies for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa scheme in the United States, the requirements which must be met, and the application process.
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa is for business investors who are nationals of countries with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. Applicants must be intending to develop and direct the operations of a business in which they have invested.
This visa scheme was put in place to make it easier for investors from treaty countries to manage their interests in the US. The E-2 visa does not, however, provide a way of retiring or residing in the US, it must be used to “develop and direct the operations of an enterprise” in which they have invested.
Because the E-2 visa is issued on a temporary basis, it can be renewed or extended on the condition that the applicant continues to invest in the US and they meet the applicable visa rules.
A list of the countries with which the US has a treaty can be found online.
To qualify for an E-2 visa, applicants must be classed as a genuine treaty investor; this means that they:
The USCIS clarifies, “investment is the treaty investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(12) for more information”.
‘Substantial’ means that the investment is:
The investment must also be in a bona fide business; this means it must be a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial business entity producing services or goods for profit. Furthermore, to be considered genuine, the business must meet any legal requirements for doing business within the US jurisdiction.
E-2 visas are available to investors (owners) and their employees; however, the application process varies depending on who is applying.
Investors must first register their company with the USCIS’s E-Visa Unit. This process is as follows:
Several documents must be provided to register a company with the E-Visa unit, these can be found online.
The E-Visa Unit will then contact the investor to arrange an interview.
Employees of registered companies need to make an appointment using the Visa Appointment Service. There is no requirement to send evidence/documents at this stage, as these will be checked during the interview.
Yes, treaty investors and employees may be joined by their spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age. To gain the necessary permission to join you (or follow you at a later date), your family members will need to apply for an E-2 visa as a dependant. If granted, the visa they receive will typically run for the same duration as that of the main visa holder. In addition, family members joining an E-2 visa holder can apply for clearance to work in the US, and if this is approved, they will not have any restrictions on the type of work they can undertake.
Processing times for E-2 visas can range from as little as two weeks to four to five months, depending on how busy the visa processing office is, the complexity of your application, and whether all documents have been provided.
It is possible to apply for an E-2 visa if already in the United States. Where a treaty investor is already lawfully located in the United States, they can request a change of status from their current status to E-2 status. To do so, they need to complete and file Form I-129.
Reiss Edwards has the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of US immigration. If you need assistance with your E-2 visa application for the US or any other immigration matter, contact our E-2 Visa Immigration Lawyers on 020 3744 2797 or by email at email@example.com
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