In the author’s opinion, if you are coming from abroad and wish or need to apply for an E2 visa at the consulate, it is preferable to find an existing business and have the contract for purchase contingent on the E2 visa issuance. The funds get held in an escrow account and are only released to seller if the visa is issued, otherwise funds revert to the buyer (investor). This minimizes risk of that your investment funds will be lost if the visa is not issued.
However, if you are already in the US such as an F1 student working lawfully with OPT and started your own business with a modest investment, then a change of status might be a better option and allow you a little extra time to get more developed to present your case at the consulate two years later.
These are considerations that would be discussed during a consultation.
Yes, the investment is considered marginal otherwise. However, it is generally understood that your company will have to hire employees to show that it is benefiting the U.S. economy. It is a major factor that the Immigration services consider when you apply for the renewal of your E-2 visa. Back to E2 FAQs
Some of the key criteria used in evaluating an E2 visa application are: the Treaty must exist between the United States and the country of nationality of the applicant; the applicant has invested or is actively in the process of investing; the applicant's investment is substantial; the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise. For more information please visit out E2 Visa requirements page. Back to E2 FAQs
Yes. Vazquez & Poudat, PLLC will ensure that the appropriate forms and documents are included in the application pack for dependent family member’s E2 visas for your spouse and any children who are under the age of 21 who will be accompanying you to the United States. Back to E2 FAQs
Yes. Once the E2 visa is approved and you arrive in the United States, your spouse can apply for work authorization. Our US Immigration Attorneys will assist you with this once you are in the United States. Back to E2 FAQs
No. Your children are not authorized to work in the United States while they hold a derivative E2 visa based on your E2 approval. Back to E2 FAQs
Yes. As E2 dependents, your children may attend public school and even college until the age of 21. Back to E2 FAQs
Research - Do as much research as you possibly can to look at schools in the area that you want to live. Contact the schools and ask for information, and look online and look online at the schools' websites. Look at Private vs. Public school options. Back to E2 FAQs
When your children reach the age of 21, they are no longer permitted to stay in the United States as your dependent. Your children would have to either leave the United States or apply for a visa in their own right. For example, if your child was studying at a University, they could apply for an F-1 student visa to allow them to finish their studies. If they hold F-1 status for at least one year and graduate from a US college, they can apply for Optional Practical training which gives them permission to work for one year in the field of study. Some STEM degrees allow for a further extension of OPT. During this time on OPT, they could try and secure employment from a United States employer and apply for a H1B Visa and/or labor certification. Alternatively, your child could buy a business or start a business and apply for an E2 visa in their own right. Back to E2 FAQs
No. Our Immigration Law Firm in Orlando can correspond with you via Skype, Zoom, email or telephone. Contact us to arrange a consultation. We can complete the entire application process for you remotely. Back to E2 FAQs
The E visa is generally applied for at the U.S. Consulate of the country of nationality or residence of the applicant. Alternatively, one can apply for a change of status in the United States with USCIS if you are admitted to the U.S. with the treaty country passport. Back to E2 FAQs
No. However, you may want to consider whether you are comfortable buying a business without seeing what you are buying and talking to the sellers. We strongly recommend that you visit the United States prior to deciding which business to purchase. The business broker can send you details of any business you are interested in and you can create a shortlist of businesses you want to find out more in-depth information about. Once you have your shortlist, you can come over to the United States on a 90 day ESTA (visa waiver) or on a 180 day B1/B2 visa. Both methods permit you to look at potential businesses to purchase, sign an Asset Purchase contract, however, they do not permit you to work until you have been approved for an E2 visa. Back to E2 FAQs
Each U.S. Consulate has its own procedure when it comes to the manner and types of documentation to submit for an E-2 visa application. However, documents will always include a cover letter detailing how you meet all legal requirements, corporate documents, evidence of substantial investment, source of funds, and business plan. Back to E2 FAQs
Once your application packet is completed and filed, you will then be called to attend an interview at the U.S. Consulate. Processing times vary with each Consulate. On average, expect it to be 6 to 12 weeks from the date of receipt of the application for the interview to occur. The Consulate may contact us and ask for such further evidence to be submitted immediately or sometimes they ask you to bring the information to the interview. Back to E2 FAQs
The interview should be straight forward. The Consular Officer may ask you questions about your reasons for wanting to apply for the E2 visa, they may ask you to explain your business growth plans that are detailed in your business plan, and they may ask any other questions about your personal life or personal intentions. What should you say? Tell the truth!
Our law office will prepare you for the interview once we have finalized your visa applications and supporting documents. Based on our experience we will hone in on the nuances of your case and what we would expect you to be asked.
You and your spouse and any children over the age of 14 years are required to attend the interview. You can take younger children with you if you want. Back to E2 FAQs
Generally, the interview is conducted in English. We encourage you to take English intensive courses prior to engaging in an E-2 visa process as this will not only benefit you for the E-2 visa interview and obtaining the E-2 visa but also to successfully run your E-2 business down the road. Ask yourself how you plan on communicating with your American staff and clients with a limited knowledge of the English language? Lack of proficiency in the English language can result in a denial of your E-2 visa for failing to meet the “direct and develop” requirement. Back to E2 FAQs
If your visa application is denied, the consular officer should give you reasons for the denial. You may be able to present your E-2 visa application again if refused, but note that there is no appeal to a denial of an E-2 visa application. You should contact us immediately if this happens. Almost all E-2 visas prepared by our law office are granted for the maximum duration. How you conduct yourself at the interview and whether you have withheld adverse information about yourself could lead to a visa refusal. Back to E2 FAQs
Once your visa application is approved, the consulate may deliver your passports by courier service to your home address or you select where you may collect them. In most cases, you should receive these within 3 to 5 business days of the interview. You are then free to travel to the United States to be admitted as an E2 investor. Dependent family members cannot enter prior to the investor. The family should come together or follow the investor. Back to E2 FAQs
When you arrive at the airport in the United States, the Immigration Officer will review your passport and he or she may ask you questions regarding your E2 business. Make sure the Immigration Officer sees your E-2 visa page as they can sometimes overlook the visa, especially if you are ESTA eligible or have another visa stamped on your passport. The Immigration Officer should then admit you for two years but will not admit you for a period beyond the validity of your passport. Your length of admission is evidenced by an I-94 document. The I-94 evidence of admission can be retrieved on the Customs and Border Protection website: www.cbp.gov and is further evidence of your authorization of stay in the United States. You should print it for your records every time you are admitted as it is often requested by government agencies as proof of your valid status.
If you have opted for your investment to be contingent on E2 visa issuance, you will arrange with the business broker for a suitable date for the closing on the business that you are purchasing. Once the closing takes place, the escrow agent releases the funds from the escrow account to the seller and you can take over control of the business. The business broker may have secured a period of training (detailed in the Asset Purchase contract) so that the seller can show you the operation of the business.
You may also apply for a United States Social Security Number (SSN) – as the E2 principal investor, it is not necessary to have a SSN to commence operating your business as you will have a valid tax ID for your business. However, it is advisable to obtain a personal SSN also as soon as possible. Your spouse can apply for a SSN at the same time even before a work permit is granted as their work authorization is incident to status.
Your children are not eligible to apply for a SSN, but can apply for an ITIN (individual tax identification number) and this will be necessary for filing tax returns and claiming them as dependents with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Finally, you should also arrange to take your writing and driving test so that you have a valid United States driving license. Some countries have reciprocity with some U.S. states, which waive the test requirements.Back to E2 FAQs
This is because a visa only gives you permission to come to the United States and ask for entry in the particular category of your visa. The length of time that the visa is valid for is the length of time in which you can leave and re-enter the United States and ask for permission to enter on the particular visa category. For an E2 visa, the customs and border protection officer can only permit you a length of stay in the United States of a maximum period of 2 years. It is extremely important that you never overstay the date on your I-94 card. You should plan make a trip outside of the U.S. to return prior to the expiration of your E-2 visa to receive an additional two years of E-2 status. We suggest a short trip by plane to the Bahamas, Canada or back to your home country. We don’t recommend a cruise for this purpose. Back to E2 FAQs
A visa can only be granted by the US consulate and USCIS can only grant a petition which may include a change or extension of status. In addition you would have to be admitted on the passport for the country with the treaty of commerce. In addition, you may not change status from ESTA.
The application for E1 or E2 visa at a U.S. Consulate is often recommended over the change of status since a USCIS approval of change of status to E is only granted for a period of two years and is not valid for travel outside of the United States. If you must travel outside of the U.S. after USCIS approval, you must obtain a visa at the U.S. Consulate in the country of nationality or residence prior to proceeding back to the U.S. (with limited exceptions). The E visa category is very different than any other types of visa in that the U.S. Consulate will not issue an E2 visa based on the USCIS petition approval of E status, but rather, will adjudicate the visa application based on its own merits. Thus, the visa applicant must present a brand-new visa application package demonstrating that he or she meets the requirements under the law.
However, there are instances where a change of status will be preferable or more appropriate. Back to E2 FAQs
Vazquez & Poudat, PLLC will assist you with this when the time comes. If you need a renewal, please try to contact us well in advance. The renewal process takes time so contact us at least 6 months in advance of visa expiration. Back to E2 FAQs
The application for E1 or E2 visa at a U.S. Consulate is often recommended over the latter since a USCIS approval of change of status to E is only granted for a period of two years and is not valid for travel outside of the United States. If one must travel outside of the U.S. subsequent to a USCIS approval, he or she must obtain a visa at the U.S. Consulate in the country of nationality or residence prior to proceeding back to the U.S. The E visa category is very different than any other type of visa however in that the U.S. Consulate will not issue an E2 visa based on the USCIS approval of E status, but rather, will adjudicate the visa application based on its own merits. Thus, the visa applicant must present a brand new visa package demonstrating that he or she meets the requirements under the law.
There are instances however where a change of status will be more appropriate or necessary. Further, note that even though the visa applicant may be issued a visa for a maximum period of time, for example, of five (5) years, the authorization of stay into the U.S. will only be valid for two years, such that the E2 visa holder will have to depart the U.S. prior to the expiration of his or her I-94 status and come back to obtain a new two year authorization of stay on E-2 status. Such must be done until the E2 visa is close to expiration.
When granted, the foreign national can freely work for the newly formed or existing company, or for himself in case of a sole proprietorship. There are no limitations on the number of renewals under this visa status, the main requirement being that an application must be submitted for renewal (either with the U.S. Consulate of the country of nationality of residence, or through an extension or change of status with USCIS) prior to expiration of the visa status. The adjudicating officer will look for several factors such as whether the company is profitable, is not marginal, and hires U.S. workers. Back to E2 FAQs
Generally, an E-2 visa does not lead to a green card unless a minimum of $900,000.00 has been invested in the company from personal funds and the investor can show 10 full-time employments within two years of filing the application. Please check our green card section for all the options that may be available to you. Back to E2 FAQs