August 15, 2022

What Is an E-2 Visa? Requirements, Application + Tips

The visa application process can be a challenge for anyone. There are several visa types for those who want to come to the United States. If you are an investor, entrepreneur, or looking to run a business in the United States, you may qualify for an E-2 Visa. Here are some of the requirements for the application and tips you can use for your case. 

What Is an E2 U.S. Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows nationals or citizens of over 75+ countries with trade treaties with the United States to enter the country. These individuals must have significant funds to invest, and the E-2 visa allows them to establish an office, practice, or business in the country. While the E-2 visa is not a way to obtain permanent residency in the United States, such as a green card, you can extend the E-2 visa indefinitely for as long as the business is viable. 

These visas are also available to managers, executives, and employees with specialized skills from those qualifying countries. An E-2 visa is valid for two years, but you can renew it indefinitely. With this visa, you can work to develop your business investment. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Biometrics Appointment

Who Is Eligible for an E-2 Visa?

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If you are from a country that has a trade treaty with the United States, you may be able to apply for an E-2 visa. However, you must invest in a U.S.-based business. While there is no specific minimum investment requirement, it needs to be a substantial amount. There are around 75 countries that allow their citizens or nationals to qualify for these visas, with the notable exceptions being China and India. Individuals from those countries must meet other qualifying requirements.

There is an option for Employer sponsorship for E-2 visa holders, but it can be challenging for highly qualified applicants to find employers who want to invest in the sponsorship process

E-2 visas focus on those investment requirements. How much money do I need for an E-2 visa? As previously mentioned, the current law does not have a particular minimum amount to invest in a business. That only requirement is a “substantial” amount, depending on specific circumstances. The investment costs could include purchasing or establishing a new business. In most cases, a minimum investment of $80,000 to $100,000 is often recommended for the E-2 visa. 

Some other investment requirements include:

  • The individual must have 50% ownership and control of the company
  • The investment must involve some type of risk
  • The individual must have managerial, executive, or specialized skills to develop the company
  • The investment should have the potential to create jobs
  • The company is actively doing business in the United States

Related: Is it Possible to Work While a Green Card Application is Pending

E-2 Visa Requirement Documents

Depending on your country of citizenship, type of business, and nature of the company, there could be varying requirements for this type of visa. Generally, you will need:

  • Proof of ownership and registration, including stock certificates and articles of incorporation
  • Market valuation or tax return showing the company’s net worth
  • Investment capital documents, including financial or bank statements
  • Evidence of an investment, such as loan documents, lease agreements, and purchase agreements
  • Business plans, financial projections, and annual reports
  • Documentation of your qualifications and role in the company
  • Proof of business operations, including utility bills, business licenses, and invoices

Applying for an E-2 Visa

To apply for an E-2 visa, you do not need to file a petition to the USCIS. Make sure to register with the embassy or consulate in your country. Remember that every embassy and consulate sets different rules and producers for this type of visa. You will want to consult with those officials to ensure you have the proper documents to apply for the E-2. After you have submitted your documents and application, you will schedule an interview at the U.S.embassy or consulate. 

Complete the Right Forms

With this visa, you must complete and submit the DS-160 and DS-156E forms. The DS-160 form is a non-immigration application for those who want temporary visas. You will receive a login code and security questions. Always keep this information to log into your application. You must also complete the DS-156E form, which is for those who are seeking an E-1 visa. 

Visa Interview

After submitting the necessary paper, you will want to schedule an interview for the E-2 visa. Some countries will interview in a few days, while others may make you wait a couple of months. During this interview, you will be asked about the E-2 business, allowing you to make a case for your visa approval. You may also want to bring supporting evidence about the company to your interview. 

Visa Approval

When you have all of the necessary documents, it gives you a better chance of approval. Once the E-2 visa has been approved, it will be attached to the passport. You may have to pick up the passport or have it mailed to you. The processing times for the E-2 visa will vary, spanning from a few days to several months. Keep in mind that renewal applications are processed quicker than those initial applications. 

E-2 Visa Costs

The application fee for the E-2 visa is $205. Sometimes, a country may require you to pay a $105 visa issuance fee. If you need a biometric interview, that could require another fee of $85. 

How Long Is an E2 Visa Valid For?

a pensive woman reading a letter

These E-2 visas are valid for up to two years, but there are unlimited numbers of two-year extensions. All individuals covered by these visas can travel in and out of the United States. The primary visa holder will automatically get a two-year extension when they re-enter the country. However, that extension does not apply to family members. Therefore, they will want to monitor and apply for those E-2 visa extensions on time. If your visa expires, you will want to leave the country. Since you can extend this visa for an indefinite amount of time, you must abide by all of the requirements. Overstaying a visa can lead to legal trouble and may prevent you from applying for a visa in the future. 

Unfortunately, an E-2 visa is not a way to gain permanent residency in the United States. There are a few ways to get a green card if you want to make a permanent home in the country. For example, If you have at least $500,000 to invest, you could qualify for an EB-5 green card.

Related: What You Need to Know About US Work Authorization

Talk To an Immigration Attorney Today

For those foreign entrepreneurs that want to start or buy a business in the United States, an E-2 visa may be a great option. An E-2 visa is an attractive option, and you can renew them for an indefinite time. These visas are also open to managers, executives, and specialized workers to help develop the business. With all this information, you can decide whether the E-2 visa is the best option. 

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