America has been a desirable immigration destination since the 1500s. The early European, Spanish, and French settlers moved there to seek a better life for themselves. Centuries later, thousands of people still seek to move here to live their American Dream.
If you’re a foreign national investor and want to invest in America, the E-2 visa is the easiest route to residency. With this visa, you can live in America, run a business, and offer employment.
As an applicant, you’ll want answers to critical questions about the E-2 visa.
How do I qualify?
What expenses will I incur?
How long is the processing time?
In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about the E-2 visa and how to increase your chances of obtaining it.
Let’s dive straight into it!
E-2 Visa: Defined
This non-immigrant visa targets entrepreneurs and investors who want to start a business in America. Applicants must establish a business in the country or invest substantial capital into an existing business. They should also get involved in its daily operations. The E-2 visa lacks residence and minimum investment requirements, making it an excellent alternative to the EB-5 investor Green Card.
Benefits of the E-2 Visa
This non-immigrant visa provides numerous benefits, including:
- It allows you to live in America and start a business.
- If your visa application gets approved, your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years are also eligible for the E-2 visa.
- Once in the US, your spouse is eligible for work authorization.
- Your kids can attend school.
- There’s no minimum investment limit. You can obtain the visa with an investment as low as $100,000.
- You can extend your stay for as long as your investment is active.
E-2 Visa Eligibility
The E-2 visa is only available to citizens of countries with an E-2 treaty with America. Currently, over 80 countries hold this treaty, but the validity and terms of the individual treaties vary. For instance, Japan, Italy, and Turkey have E-2 visa agreements that offer a 5-year stay with multiple entry rights. Conversely, nationals of countries like Egypt and Bangladesh can only obtain a 3-month E-2 visa. Other eligibility requirements for the E-2 visa include:
- You must intend to leave the US once your visa expires.
- You must make a considerable investment in an American company.
- You should invest in an active, for-profit business.
- Your purpose in entering the US is to direct and develop the business.
- The source of the investment funds must be legal.
What Business Should I Invest In?
You can invest in any industry to qualify for an E-2 visa. Nonetheless, E-2 visa applications based on the business franchise model have the highest approval rates. Many foreign investors prefer to invest in franchises due to the security that already-established brands offer.
Investing in a franchise also allows them to play a passive role. An immigration attorney can help you pinpoint the most viable investment option when applying for an E-2 visa.
The E-2 Visa Process
There are primarily two ways to apply for the E-2 visa.
- If you’re in the US, you must apply for a change in status by submitting Form I-129 and supporting documents with the USCIS. In this case, there won’t be subjected to a visa interview.
- If you’re outside the US, you must submit forms DS-156E and DS-160 and relevant documentation to prove you’ve met E-2 visa requirements. You’ll also need to undergo consular processing in your country of residence before the visa gets issued.
E-2 Visa Processing Time
Generally, it takes two to three months for the E2 visa to be processed. The processing time depends on the circumstances of your case and the treaty your country holds with the US. Nonetheless, the E-2 process is quicker than the EB-5 process, which can take up to 18 months to conclude. Working with a California immigration attorney can make the process even quicker.
Contact an Immigration Attorney
The last thing you want after investing time and resources in applying for the E-2 visa is to have it rejected. This process requires a lot of paperwork, and you may be left unsure of what to do. However, an immigration lawyer from The Law Office of Lina Baroudi can help steer you in the right direction. Contact them and receive the help you deserve.
E-2 Visa FAQs
Can I go from an E-2 visa to a Green Card?
The E-2 visa doesn’t automatically qualify you for the Green Card since it’s a temporary, non-immigrant visa. To get a Green Card, you should either apply for an immigrant visa or adjust to immigrant status.
How much does it cost to apply for the E-2 visa?
There’s no official minimum investment, but it’s best to have at least $100,000 in investment capital when applying for this visa.
My application got rejected. What next?
If your E-2 application gets rejected, you need to get an immigration attorney to help you re-submit it. An attorney will ensure you provide the correct information and meet the standards stipulated by the American immigration law.