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E2 Visa Lawyer in Phoenix
There are three types of E visas. They exist for treaty traders, treaty investors, and nonimmigrant employees of these people (along with their spouses and children). E-visas allow foreign nationals to come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and their home country.
What is an E2 Visa?
The E2 Visa, also known as the E2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa. It incentivizes foreign nationals to invest large amounts of capital into United States businesses. The E2 visa is for foreign nationals whose home countries offer the same type of visa to United States citizens. Similar to the EB5 immigrant investor visa, the EB2 is a wise choice for those seeking to live in the United States via investing significantly into the United States economy.
E2 visas are for individuals that come to the United States to invest a large amount of capital. An E2 visa is also for people that will direct and develop the business operations of an entity that they have invested in. People may qualify as a principal investor or as an employee of an investor company that has the same nationality.
There is no set minimum level of investment, which may qualify for E-2 status, however the lower the investment the less likely one is to qualify. Therefore, the level of investment must be such that it is sufficient to justify presence of the treaty national in the United States. The investment must be in an operating business e.g. a speculative investment in undeveloped land would not qualify, whereas an investment in a real estate development project probably would. Also, a substantial part of the investment must have been made prior to applying for E-2 status.
What Are the Advantages of an E2 Visa?
- You can work legally in the United States
- E2 visa holders can travel freely in and out of the United States
- As long as your E2 visa is valid, you and your family may travel, and even live outside of the United States. You may come and go as you please.
- Your spouse can work with an E2 dependent visa
- If you have children under the age of 21, they can attend school in the United States
- There is no minimum amount that you must invest
- You may stay indefinitely in the United States
- E2 visa holders maintain their status in two-year increments. You may file for extension an unlimited amount of times.
- You can reside and work in the United States as long as you are still eligible and are approved.
- E2 visa holders may stay even without holding a Green Card or being a United States citizen.
- Your family members may also stay, provided that they also file for extensions
Who Qualifies for E2 Visas?
In order to qualify for an E2 visa, the applicant must:
- Come from a country which offers the same benefits to United States citizens
- Be able to invest a substantial amount of capital. It must be enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. For a low cost business enterprise, the percentage of investment must be higher than the percentage of investment in a higher cost enterprise.
- The enterprise must be real and in operation. If the investment is speculative or idle, it will not qualify. Funds that are uncommitted, sitting in a bank account or security do not qualify as investments.
- Loans are not permitted. The investor must be in complete control of the funds. The investment must be at risk commercially.
- If the applicant is not the investor, he or she must work as an executive or supervisor or provide a highly specialized skill. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers will not qualify.
What is a substantial amount of money?
Unfortunately, the laws do not state exactly what “substantial” means. There is no defined amount of money that qualifies. Instead, it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Authorities determine if the amount would be substantial in the proportion with the total cost of purchasing or establishing the proposed enterprise.
In the most basic terms, if the enterprise operates on a small budget, your investment must be a higher percentage of its budget. If the enterprise operates on a large budget, the percentage that you invest may be less.
What is a Marginal Enterprise?
Businesses that do not have the capacity to generate more than enough income to support you and your family are marginal. It must be profitable within five years of your investment.
How Long does an E2 Visa Last?
An E2 visa remains valid for five years. E2 visa holders may file for two-year extensions as long as they remain eligible. There is no limit on the amount of extensions you may take.
How do you file for an E2 Visa extension?
There are two methods to filing for extensions.
- File an extension of stay if you do not plan to leave the United States before your visa expires
- Apply for a new visa each time you reenter the United States
You must submit the following documents:
- Petition for Non-immigrant worker, Form 1-129
- Application to Extend or Change Non-immigrant Status, Form I-539
- Arrival/Departure document (copy), Form I-94
- Notice of Action (if status was previously extended or approved), Form I-797
- Copy of passport with the E2 visa
- Letter from Employer stating why the extension is necessary
- Copies of business and personal tax returns for the past two years. Payroll tax returns when relevant.
You may only apply for an E2 visa extension if:
- You came to the United States lawfully with a non-immigrant visa
- Your non-immigrant visa is still valid
- There are no crimes on your record that would make you ineligible for a visa.
- You have not validated the terms of your visa
- Your passport remains valid and will continue to be valid while you stay
As long as you file for extension before your I-94 expires, you can work for up to 240 days pending the results. If you file for extension after your I-94 expires, you may only stay for 40 days.
What Documents do You Need for an E2 Visa?
You should submit your documents to the U.S. embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over your current country of residence. It is possible to apply at United States consular offices abroad. However, it tends to be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside the country of permanent residence.
For an E2 visa, the following documentation is required:
- One photograph that meets processing requirements
- Valid passport
- Validity date must be six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States.
- Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160
- Non-immigrant treaty trader/treaty investor application, Form DS-156E
- Proof that the trading or investment enterprise meets the requirements mandated by law
The consular officer may request additional documentation. Because each applicant and each enterprise is different, it is difficult to predict the exact documentation required of the applicant.
Can I Bring Family Members With Me on an E2 Visa?
Yes. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for derivative E-visas. Spouses may work with an E2 dependent visa after applying to DHS for employment authorization. However, children of E-visa holders may not work in the United States.
Can You Apply for a Green Card with an E2 visa?
Yes. As long as you meet the qualifications for a green card, you can apply for one.
What does an E2 Visa attorney do?
Because much of the terminology and requirements are unspecified for the E2 visa, it can be hard to construct a strong application. It is best to speak to an attorney who knows how to present your case in a light that will have the best chances of approval. An E2 visa attorney will know exactly which documents you need to submit and when.