What Is An E2 Visa?
An E2 visa is a popular option for alien investors who want to stay in the USA and earn profits from their investments. This includes capital investments of assets, loans, funds, etc., at risk in an enterprise to generate profits. Both E2 visas and EB 5 visas fall in the category of investor visas.
Unlike the EB-5 visa, the E2 visa can not provide your residency in the USA, and it is temporary in classification. If you are looking for a visa to settle permanently in the USA, contact your immigration lawyer and to get the best guidance for your case.
Requirements For An E2 Visa For Indian citizens
As per the conditions laid by USCIS, the E2 visa minimum investment amount should satisfy the “at-risk” condition, and it should be invested in the bonafide enterprise. A bonafide enterprise includes a business plan for an E2 visa that is active and commercial. It is producing the goods and services that can further stimulate the American economy.
In addition, here are some of the essential criteria that need to be met for approval for its approval-
- The investment must be enough to run an enterprise successfully. A sum of US $100,000 is the minimum E2 investor visa minimum investment amount required for the project.
- Legal documents that prove that the amount is legitimately yours. The assets you have used as collateral must be lawfully yours as well. It also becomes crucial that you have the documentation proof for the same.
- Research and prepare the blueprint of an E2 visa business plan that can be approved by the USCIS official.
- The amount must fulfill the “at-risk” condition for the business project. You will need to submit your amount in an escrow account that will be yours once your application is approved. Do your research before you invest in existing E2 visa businesses for sale and make an informed decision.
- The enterprise must be creating enough income to impact the US economy significantly. There is no condition for creating jobs in the E2 visa category.
- The investor must manage the enterprise and other corporate devices or own at least 50% of the firm.
Benefits Of An E2 Visa
Some benefits are as follows-
- You can be a legal US entrepreneur and work there as well.
- You can have unlimited E2 visa extensions as long as your business keeps thriving and contributes to the US economy.
- The E2 visa process is fast than other visas, and there is no quota on the visa allotment.
- As the main applicant, your E2 visa dependents, including your immediate family, can also move with you.
- E2 visa spouse work permit is also applicable for the dependent spouse who wants to work in the US once the main applicant’s visa is approved.
- Your children under the age of 21 can also study in the US as well.
- You can also invest in the US and buy real estate.
- No requirement for language, work visa, family sponsorship, etc.
How Can I Change My E2 Visa Into A Green card?
Here are 5 ways to convert your E2 visa into a green card-
1. Make more investments and turn it into an EB 5 visa card-
EB 5 visa is an immigrant visa for investors and requires you to invest a minimum capital and satisfy the conditions to attain your Green card. It takes up to 5 to 7 years to complete the EB 5 process, starting from filing the application. You can also invest in a regional center project and get your EB 5 visa at a comparatively lesser amount.
The essential requirement for EB 5 visa is-
- Invest in a commercial enterprise fulfilling the “at-risk” condition.
- Invest a minimum of $1,800,000 (or $900,000 for Targeted Employment Areas)
- Create 10 full time jobs for US citizens
- Engage in the enterprise and create substantial EB 5 visa investment return
Converting your E2 visa in an Eb 5 visa is the most direct approach to gain a Green card. You can invest the additional capital in your business as you will be familiar with how the business can thrive. This approach will offer you some unique benefits. It is recommended to have an immigration lawyer by your side before you make any investments.
2. Have an employer sponsor you in his firm through PERM labor certification-
You can gain your E2 visa status if the company is sponsoring you by providing the labor card. One other associated benefit is your dependent can apply for an E2 visa spouse work permit. For this, you will need to produce a Labor Certification through the Department of Labor.
In this category, you must be eligible for EB 2 or EB 3 visas, and you must apply for an E2 visa change of status.
For this, you must satisfy the following conditions-
- The employer is unable to find a US professional for your position and skillset
- The employer must be paying you more than what is paid to the US citizen for your designation
- He must offer you a full-time position in the firm
- Your job requirements are relevant for your position and are not just restrictive
On gaining your PERM certification, you can file Form I-140 for E2 visa transfer, and you can apply for EB 2 /EB 3 visa.
3. The EB1A visa for individuals with extraordinary ability-
If you have a unique skill set and have extraordinary abilities in the field of Arts/ Science/ Sports/ Education/ Business, you can apply for an EB1A visa. For this, you have to make sure that you will work in the US while using this ability to the full potential for the benefits of the USA. Your entry to the USA must benefit the USA a well.
4. Ask your family to sponsor you-
If you are married to a US citizen, that makes you eligible for this option. You can ask your family to sponsor you and become a lawful citizen of the USA. If your children are married to a US citizen while you are on an E2 visa, they can also sponsor you for the Green card.
5. Permanent residence by interest waivers
This includes the waiving of labor certification requirements if you are an individual with an advanced degree professional or a person with exceptional abilities. For this, you can apply for an EB-2 visa where the employer’s sponsorship is not required. Doctors are some of these individuals who can benefit from this category.
How long does E2 Visa Take?
The average processing time depends on the country in which the applicant is currently present. Those present in the USA can have an average processing time of 6 months.
In addition, the applicant also has the offer for premium 15 days processing time with a fee of US $1,225. Post-approval, the E2 visa status will be valid for the next 2 years. This visa can be renewed after every two years.
If the applicant wishes to travel outside of the US, he would need to contact his US consulate for re-entering the USA.
For applicants in a foreign land, the average processing time for an E2 visa through a consulate can occur between 2 weeks to 4 months. Once the review process and the interview have been done and your E2 visa is approved, this may still take up to 1 week to arrive at the visa.
Unless the visa has been stamped on the passport, applicants are advised not to schedule their US travel based on the estimated times.
E2 Visa To Green Card Process –
If you have decided to pursue a Green card based on your E2 visa, you will need to undergo the following steps-
- You will need an employer sponsoring the PERM card for you. They must be eligible to fulfill the conditions required by an employer and apply for your sponsorship.
- They must run the newspaper campaign for 30 days to evaluate if there are qualified US workers who can fill the position at the average wage to ensure that no US employment opportunities are affected by the applicant’s position.
- There could be a delay in the application process if the PERM audit happens. This can either happen by chance or due to any suspicious activities noticed by the US authorities. This will add a year to your visa application process.
- Another reason to delay the VISA change in status could be your employer getting a notice for supervised recruitment. It implies that your employer has been the target for audit multiple times in the past, and now they need to send the recruitment documents to the certifying officer before they hire an employee.
If you are applying for EB 5, EB 1, or EB 2 visas, you don’t need a PERM or employer’s sponsorship. You can apply for this petition yourself.
Filing the petition-
1. The applicant or employer should send the appropriate petition for the employment-based Green Card. In most cases, it will be an I-140 Green card.
2. For the investor’s Green card, you will need to file petition I-529.
The I-140 application takes about 6 months to process unless you are applying for the premium processing. For other EB-5, EB-1C, or EB-2 NIW visa applications, no such premium processing is available.
The day USCIS received your application, you will be allotted the priority dates. These dates are significant for your visa applications.
On the release of visa bulleting every month, you will get your action date based on your country of origin. This implies that the day priority dates match the action date, the visa will be available to you. For more E2 visa news, visit the official site and contact your immigration attorney.
This could be the longest or the shortest period of your time where the members will have to wait until the visa becomes available to you. This depends on your country of origin.
Adjustment of visa status or consular processing
On getting your current priority dates, you can apply for E2 visa reformation. This can be done in 2 ways-
- Sign up by filing form I-485 with USCIS, paying the fee, and wait for 6 months to process your application until your E2 visa is adjusted to Green card immigrant status. For this, premium processing is not available.
- Meet a US consulate in your home country for the processing, and you can participate in a one-on-one interview with the consular officer. This is a cheaper and faster option to get your visa.
Requirements For An E2 Visa Extension :
There are 2 ways by which the visa extension can be done-
1. By Filing the extension request with USCIS for visa extension by producing the necessary documents.
2. By traveling outside the US and re-entering where you automatically qualify for the extension.
When Should You Apply For An E2 Visa Renewal?
An E2 visa renewal requires a lot of paperwork and thus the assistance of an immigration lawyer. You must renew your E2 visa every 2 years before the visa expiration. You must apply for an E2 visa renewal six months before its expiration. There is no limit on your visa renewal, or you can apply for a visa extension.
What is Visa Extension Process?
You can apply for your visa extension via USCIS; however, most prefer the US consulate board to proceed with this extension. Here is what the visa extension process looks like-
- File application I-129- petition for nonimmigrant worker
- Form I-539- application for extension of change in nonimmigrant status of family members
- I-94- for the documents displaying your arrival and departure records
- Your original I-797 document when your visa has a previous extension or change in status
- Proof that you have maintained your nonimmigrant status.
- Proof that you were physically present in the US as per the necessary timeline
- Passport copy and E2 visa copy
- A letter describing why do you need a visa extension with the supporting evidence
- Copy of business tax returns with financial records of last two years
How To Renew An E2 Visa?
For the visa renewal process, you need to do the following-
- Submit form DS-160 with the department of the state and pay the charges
- Complete and file DS-156E with supporting documents and organize the documents
- Present the documents that show that you qualify for the E2 visa renewal and other requirements of the US consulate
- You will be called to attend the interview by the consulate
Things To Remember
Before you select the firm, it becomes essential that you are doing a background check for the law firm. Here are some checks to keep in mind-
- Which lawyer is working on your case, and how many applications he has filed.
- If your firm has any relevant experience in applying for a visa
- The success rate for E2 visa application as well as denial
- The background history and credentials of your lawyer
- Is the firm skilled enough to prepare and present the business plans for your case?
- Do you have the choice to file and contact your law firm from anywhere in the world, and what are their functional hours?
- Is your lawyer a member of AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association)?
- Does your close member have any experience working with the law firm, or does the law firm have any references you can connect with?
- What is the E2 visa attorney fee, and if is it justified?
Which countries qualify for an E2 visa application?
Here is the list of countries with a treaty signed with the USA. Citizens from these countries are eligible for the E2 visa application.
Is your family allowed to travel with you to the USA?
Yes, your immigration lawyer will add the necessary paperwork to ensure that our spouse and your children can move to the USA with you. Your spouse can also apply for a work visa while staying with you. Your children can also attend the schools in the USA while they are with you.
Will your children be forced to leave the USA when you are on an E 2 visa?
Your children are not allowed to work in the USA while you have an E2 visa. Once your children are aged 21 or more, they will need to return to their country of origin unless they apply for their visa.
If the children are pursuing their studies, they can apply for a student visa and secure employment in the USA while applying for an individual visa. This way, they can apply for an H1B visa/ labor certification. If required, they can also start their business and apply for an E2 visa and other visa categories.
What to expect during the consulate interview?
The interview will be with the consulate, who will examine your documents and ask you questions about your business plans and how you plan to grow. They might even ask personal questions about your family, your intentions, etc. Your lawyer will help you prepare for the interview. Your spouse and children above the age of 14 are required to attend the interview. The interview is taken in the English language.
What Happens When The E2 Visa Application Is Denied?
In case of application denial, the consular officer will give you the reason for denial. In that case, you can present your E2 application again, but there is no option of appeal on the denial of the E2 visa. It is advised to take the expertise of an immigration lawyer to help you guide through the process.
What Happens In E2 Visa Approval?
On your visa approval, the consulate will deliver your passport and other documents to you via courier service or collect the same from the office. These documents are received within 1 week of the interview. Post that, you can travel to the US as an investor. However, the dependents can only enter the USA with the applicant.
What To Do In Case Of Loss Or Theft Of Your Visa?
Losing or theft of your visa is a matter of concern and requires immediate attention and solutions.
- If you lost your visa or other travel documents, connect with the officials to reissue your documents and follow the guidelines immediately
- File a police report and get the name of the officer and the complaint number
- Request the replacement of your documents by filing application I-94
- Repost the issue to your embassy and submit for I-94 to them
- Report and apply for the replacement of your documents to the embassy and ask for the reissue of these documents.
It is advised that you always make a copy of your passport biographic page, US visa, admission stamp, and I-94 admission number.
What Is The Role Of An E2 Visa Lawyer?
To ensure that your business keeps running in the USA, it becomes essential that you are abiding by the laws as the expiration date will sneak up on you one day or another.
In such cases, it becomes essential that you are prepared for the renewal condition of an E2 visa, and an immigration lawyer can help you increase the odds for the same while helping you with E2 visa tax exemptions.
Since all the firms are different in their approach, it becomes essential that you are inquiring about the E2 visa lawyer fee and other latent charges.
Now that you know about the visa application, you can contact a skilled immigration attorney to pursue your visa application further and take it to the E2 visa forum. Call your immigration attorney now and start the process.