In 2016 alone, six hundred thousand new, legal immigrants entered the United States. There are plenty of options to do this, and one way to do so is via attaining an E2 visa. Some countries are not “E2 visa countries”, though, and knowing the ins and outs of an E2 visa can mean the difference between the USA granting entry or denying it.
This article will help you understand what the E2 visa countries are. Also, we list the E2 visa requirements for someone entering the United States. So, read on and find out what you need to get an E2 visa for the USA.
What Is an E2 Visa?
The E2 visa, otherwise known as the “investor visa”, lets someone enter the United States of America and work there. It only allows this if the person has invested in a U.S. business with the intent to add growth to the United States’ economy.
For that reason, any investment this visa hinges on must be “substantial”. While this is ambiguous, a good ballpark figure is $100k that you must invest in a business.
This visa is only available to investors from specific countries. This is because treaties exist with these countries to empower both countries to exchange investors.
These visas are also available for employees of the investing business, even if they have not invested themselves. The employee must be of the same nationality as the investor, though, and must also be invaluable to the company in some way. This is usually met by the individual acting in a supervisory capacity.
Another option is for the employee to have specialized work-based skills that you cannot otherwise find in the USA.
Which Are the E2 Visa Countries?
You should note that not all countries allow for entry via an E2 treaty. These treaties do not exist for every location or even every territory within each country.
For a full E2 visa countries list, see below:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- China (Taiwan)
- Congo (Brazzaville)
- Congo (Kinshasa)
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Korea (South)
- Slovak Republic
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Kingdom
The above E2 visa treaty countries should have more information for you available via their embassy. They will be able to help you understand what you need to complete your E2 visa.
What Are the E2 Visa Requirements?
If you wish to apply for an E2 visa, you must fulfill specific requirements before the USA will accept it. You can see them below.
The first of these requirements is that you must pay the appropriate fees. For an E2 visa, the application fee is $205. Although, you should be aware that there might be more fees that occur during the administration process.
Your home countries might need you to pay visa issuance fees, reciprocity fees, or other payments depending on their process. Once you have paid all these, you should make sure to save any invoices or receipts you have, as you may need them for a later time.
The person seeking to get the visa must be a national from a country that the USA has an E2 visa treaty with. They need not be a resident in that country, although not being a resident may cause extra questions at a later time.
The person who is seeking the visa must be the company director or mandatory for the development of the business enterprise. They must be able to show that they have control of at least fifty percent of the business. This must be through being a manager or through some other provable logistical means.
The person seeking the visa must have invested in the business enterprise. Or, they must be able to prove that they are already investing in the business enterprise.
This investment must be “substantial”. The USA defines this as being enough to prove the investor has committed significant amounts of money to the business. Also, it must be enough to support the idea that the investor intends to direct and/or develop the business.
Or, if the applicant is not an investor or an executive, they should be an employee of the business. Also, they should be able to prove that they have skills that are essential to the operations of the company. To be essential, the skills should be specialized and it should be difficult to invest in another person who can perform the same task to the same level.
Finally, the applicant must leave the country as soon as their role in the company expires. This is regardless of whether the individual is the investor or the employee. They must also leave if the E2 visa has not been renewed and if it expires.
To qualify as an individual for an E2 investor visa, the company they plan to invest in must not be what the USA calls a “marginal enterprise”.
The USA defines a marginal enterprise as one that does not have the ability to generate enough money for the investor and their family. If the company looks as though it is too small, the E2 visa will not succeed. This is because it will not appear as though it is a serious attempt to invest in the economy of the United States.
Many companies, especially startups, will not be able to show that they will avoid being marginal upon launch. In the case of these companies, the business should prove that it has the capability to start generating income within five years. This income should be enough to support the investor’s family and continue to do so.
This five-year period starts when the investor receives the E2 visa, rather than beforehand.
Finally, the investment must put part of the company at commercial risk. This means that the company must use the investment to attempt to generate greater profit. The company must have an objective for this profit, showing that it intends to use the money to grow or pivot using the money.
Is It a Permanent Visa?
The E2 visa does run out. An E2 visa will only grant a temporary stay in the United States. This period of time will be set by the immigration office but can extend up to at most two years.
Should this not be enough, you can always request an extension to your E2 classification. These extensions can be in increments of up to two years and can repeat at regular intervals to create a period of uninterrupted visas.
While there is no limit to how many times you can apply to extend your E2 visa, it continues to be a temporary visa after extension. This means that should the visa come to an end for any reason, the person to who it applies must take action to leave the United States. They should do this at their earliest convenience.
If the person with the visa travels abroad for any reason, then when they return to the United States they can attempt to extend their visa. A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer would judge this request and can grant up to an extra two years of readmission to the U.S.
You should note that this is very different from the “Green Card”, which provides a permanent stay in the U.S. For more information on how to apply for permanent residence in the United States, you should check out the government’s websites.
There, they have information on how to start this process and what the rules are for becoming a U.S. national.
Make sure that you do not mistake the two different kinds of visas. Overstaying a visa, even an E2 visa, can cause someone to face removal from the United States and be unable to return.
Can I Bring Employees With Me?
The above states that anyone who you wish to bring with you from your company must have qualifications that you cannot find in the United States. If you wish to do this, each employee must also apply using their own E2 visa. No “group” E2 visas exist, and each individual will face judgment on their own merits.
If one individual from a group has their visa denied, this does not prevent them from a future visa. The circumstances in the United States or your company could change in a way that allows their entry in the future.
Can My Family Come With Me?
If you apply for an E2 visa and get accepted, you may choose to bring some family with you. You will be able to bring your spouse and any children you have who are not married. Any children must also be under 21 years of age at the point where they intend to enter the country.
The nationality of these family members does not need to be the same as yours. This allows you to bring nationals from other countries into the United States. But these people must also be from countries with whom the United States also has E2 treaties.
The family members you wish to bring into the United States must apply for status as dependents to you. If they get approved, their visa will likely be for the same period of time as yours.
This is also true for any employees of the company you bring with you. They will each be able to apply for dependents to join them should they so wish.
What if the Family Is Already in the U.S.?
If your family or the family of the employee are already in the United States, you may wish to change their status to be dependents. This is especially true if they are under another visa and you want to ensure they can stay in the country for longer.
To get a change of visa status to that of dependents, these family members must fill out form I-539 and pay a fee. Please be aware that this fee often changes, and that you should seek out the latest information on the fee to avoid rejection.
If the family member is a spouse who wishes to work, they will also need to apply for work authorization. You can do this with form I-765, again with a fee. If this application is successful, it should not limit any legal work done by the family member.
We said above that those with an E2 visa can travel abroad and get a two-year readmission period when re-entering the USA. You should be aware that this does not always extend to others.
If the family members are accompanying the E2 treaty visa holder at the time they attempt re-admission, there should not be any problems. If these people wish to enter the United States lawfully without their spouse, they should apply for an extension to their stay themselves.
What if I’m Already in the USA?
The employee for the investor might already be lawfully in the United States at the point when they wish to apply for the visa. If this is the case, they should apply for a change of status. They can do this using form I-129.
An employer can choose to do this on an employee’s behalf if the employee does not have the capability to perform this action for any reason.
Where Can I Find Out More?
You should now have a much better idea of how to enter the US with an investment visa from E2 visa countries. If you still have questions, though, we are ready to respond to any concerns you might have.
Our specialists are on-hand to discuss franchise developments. They can also talk about how to bring people into the United States to expand their franchise. So get in contact and find out everything you can before applying for that E2 yourself.