AZADI LAW

E-2 Visa

E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors & Employees – Everything you need!

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E-2 Visa Information - From A to Z

In order to qualify for an E-2 Visa you must be from a treaty country, please see below for a list of qualifying countries. You must also own at least 50% of a company in the U.S. which you bought or started by investing a significant amount of money, usually $100,000 USD or more but sometimes less. We have successfully helped people get E-2 Visas with an investment of $50,000 USD. Interested in an E-2 Visa and want to know more? Keep reading… 

Benefits of an E-2 Visa

E-2 Visas have a validity period of up to five years, depending on what country you’re from, see below for more information about that. E-2 Visas can sometimes lead to U.S. residency, see below for more information about that. E-2 Visas can also be renewed; some of our clients have renewed their E-2 Visa several times. As an E-2 Visa holder, you qualify to receive a Social Security Number, Driver’s License, and other benefits. As an E-2 Visa holder, your spouse may apply for a Work Permit which allows them to get a job with any company in the country. As an E-2 Visa holder, your children may study in the U.S. as residents which means their tuition will be the same as what citizens and residents are charged which is much less than what foreign students have to pay. The E-2 Visa also has tax benefits because it doesn’t necessarily require you to be in the U.S. full-time which allows you to file your taxes as a non-resident or as a resident depending on how many days you are in the country.  

Business Type

The company can operate any type of business - it can be a U.S. subsidiary or affiliate of a company outside the U.S., it can be an existing U.S. business you invested in or bought, it can be a franchise of a company that you paid for the rights to, or you can start your own company in the U.S. - some popular business types are restaurants, salons, dry cleaners, and trucking companies.

Origin of Funds

The money can come from an account anywhere in the world, but the money must currently be in your control. You can apply with money you earned or money you inherited. You must be able to demonstrate where your money came from and prove it was obtained legally.

Operational Business

If you are starting a new business, the U.S. company must be ready to commence operations when you apply for the E-2 Visa. If you are buying or investing in an existing business, your investment or purchase may be dependent on your E-2 Visa’s approval. However, you must pay the seller a non-refundable deposit, put the remaining purchase price in Escrow, and sign an agreement.

Business Plan

E-2 Visa applicants must submit a detailed Business Plan with 5-year financial projections and a market study, among other things.

Change of Status

If you are already in the U.S. with a valid status (not an ESTA waiver), such as a temporary business (B-1), tourist (B-2), or student visa (F-1/M-1), you may apply for a change status. This allows you to remain in the country throughout the application process and afterwards once your visa is approved. However, if you leave the country, you will need to schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in your home country and attend an interview before being allowed to re-enter the U.S. with the E-2 visa inside your passport. Therefore, we usually recommend applying via consular process (see below) because it allows you to travel freely.

Consular Process

The E-2 Visa Applicant and any accompanying family members will attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy in their home country. The officer will approve your visa for 2-5 years and you will be eligible to apply for a social security number upon entering the U.S. The spouse of the E-2 Visa applicant may apply for a work permit upon entering the U.S. and their children may attend school.

E-2 Visa for Employee

The E-2 Visa also applies to qualified professionals from treaty countries that have a job offer from a treaty company. Therefore, after the initial applicant has their E-2 Visa, they can petition someone from the same nationality as them for an E-2 Visa as an employee of their company.

Validity Period

E-2 Visas are approved for 1-5 years, depending on what country you are from, please see below for reciprocity periods for each treaty country. The visa can be renewed as many times as you wish as long as your country’s treaty with the U.S. remains valid and your treaty company remains open and operational. 

Residency (Green Card)

E-2 Visa holders may qualify for U.S. Residency, after 1 year or more, as a multinational executive or manager, if they also owned, managed, or directed a subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company of the treaty company. E-2 Visa holders may also adjust status and become residents if they marry a U.S. citizen, or have a U.S. Citizen child who is an adult, or if they qualify for an immigrant visa petition, such as an EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, or EB-5. For more information about how you can become a resident (green card holder), please contact our office. 

Processing Time

After you contract our legal services for your E-2 Visa application, we will provide you with a list of documents that we need from you in order to process your case. Once you provide us with the evidence we requested, it usually only takes us 1 month to prepare your E-2 Visa application package and file it. The Change of Status process takes about 1 month if you pay USCIS an additional “Premium” processing fee, otherwise, it takes 3-7 months with regular processing. The Consular process takes anywhere from 1 to 4 months, depending on what country you’re applying in and is generally faster than regular change of status processing.

7 Step E-2 Visa Application Preparation Process:

*You should hire a qualified immigration attorney before beginning this process because everything must be done right in order to document the origin of your investment funds and your ownership interest in the U.S. Company.

Step 1: Decide what you’re investing in. 

⁃           Do a market study, consult an attorney or real estate broker, and speak to potential seller(s) and business partner(s), if any.

Step 2: Document your ownership interest. 

⁃           Hire an attorney to open and register your new company with the state or to prepare your purchase and sale or partnership or franchise agreement if you will be buying or investing in an existing company. 

Step 3: Make your investment.

⁃           Send money to your new company’s account or to the bank account of the person you are buying your shares or company from via wire transfer, check, or by putting money in escrow. You may also invest by transferring your ownership in commercial property, inventory, equipment or machinery.

Step 4: Use your investment funds.

⁃           Secure an office/warehouse space for your business, obtain the necessary licenses/permits needed to operate your business, and buy or rent inventory, equipment, and machinery.

Step 5: Create a Business Plan.

⁃           Your immigration attorney or a qualified accountant (CPA) or business consultant should prepare a detailed business and marketing plan with 5 years of projections.

Step 6: Complete and file your package.

⁃           Your attorney will prepare and file a package on your behalf which consists of the evidence you obtained in steps 1 through 5, forms DS-156E, DS-160, and G-28, and an attorney cover letter which explains how the applicant and treaty company qualify for an E-2 Visa.

Step 7: Prepare for your interview.

⁃           Your attorney will send you a copy of your file, a list of sample questions and answers, and schedule a mock interview in order to prepare you for your real E-2 Visa Interview at the U.S. Embassy in your home country. Step 7 doesn’t apply if you file for a change of status while in the U.S. (see more about that above or contact us).

Once your interview is over, the immigration officer will usually tell you whether or not your visa is approved. Your passport will be returned a few days later with the visa inside of it.

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E-2 Visa Treaty Countries (1 Year or More):

Albania - 3 years

Argentina- 5 years

Armenia - 3 years 

Australia - 4 years

Austria - 5 years

Belgium - 5 years

Bosnia - 1 year

Bulgaria - 5 years

Cameroon - 1 year

Canada - 5 years

Chile - 5 years

China (Taiwan) - 5 years

Colombia - 5 years

Costa Rica - 5 years

Croatia - 5 years

Czech Republic - 5 years

Denmark - 5 years

Estonia - 5 years

Finland - 2 years

France - 5 years (currently 1.5)

Georgia - 1 year

Germany - 5 years

Grenada - 5 years

Honduras - 5 years

Ireland - 5 years

Israel - 5 years

Italy - 5 years

Jamaica - 5 years

Japan - 5 years

Kazakhstan - 1 year

Korea (South) - 5 years

Kosovo - 1 year

Latvia- 5 years

Liberia - 1 year

Lithuania - 1 year

Luxembourg - 5 years

Macedonia - 5 years

Mexico - 1 year

Mongolia - 3 years

Montenegro - 1 year

Morocco - 5 years

Netherlands - 5 years

New Zealand - 5 years

Norway - 5 years

Pakistan - 5 years

Panama - 5 years

Paraguay - 5 years

Philippines - 5 years

Poland - 1 year

Romania - 5 years

Senegal - 1 year

Serbia - 1 year

Singapore - 2 years

Slovak Republic - 2 years

Slovenia - 5 years

Spain - 5 years

Sri Lanka - 3 years

Suriname - 5 years

Sweden - 2 years

Switzerland - 4 years

Togo - 3 years

Trinidad & Tobago - 5 years

Tunisia - 5 years

Turkey - 5 years

United Kingdom - 5 years

Azadi Law P.A. provides foreign business investors with all of the legal services that they require when applying for an E-2 Visa. Contact us today for a free consultation!