The E visa category provides benefits to nationals and citizens of the United States as well as foreign nations through trade and investment. Nationals and citizens of qualifying countries can qualify for the E visa category by conducting trade with the United States (E-1 visa) or by investing in a U.S. business and directing its operations (E-2 visa). In this article, you will learn what you need to know about the E visa category so you can determine whether it is the best option for you.
The Main Requirements of the E Visa Category
- There must be a treaty between the applicant’s home country and the United States. The countries that qualify are known as “treaty countries,” and all E visa applicants must be either nationals or citizens of one of these nations.
- E visa applicants must own at least 50% of their businesses and prove that they control them.
- All applicants must declare their intention to leave the United States as soon as their E visa expires. Under the E visa category, however, you can stay in the country indefinitely, as long as you still qualify, by applying for as many extensions as you need.
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is one of the best business visas available, and one of the hardest to obtain. This non-immigrant visa is granted to individuals who have invested a substantial amount of capital into a U.S. commercial enterprise or are in the process of doing so. To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must:
- Show that you have made a “substantial” investment into a business in the United States and that the funds are irrevocably committed to the business;
- Show that you have invested in a real and active business and that you intend to be actively involved in its day-to-day operations. In other words, you must prove you are not a passive investor;
- 50% or more of the business into which you invested; and
- Generate enough profit to provide a living for you and your family AND make a significant contribution to the economy of the United States by creating jobs for U.S. workers.
When it comes to the E-2 visa, there is no set amount of investment. Whether a particular amount is “substantial” heavily depends on the type of business. As a general rule, the more you invest, the better. Therefore, if your budget is tight, it is vital for you to work with an experienced Immigration Lawyer who can help you determine how much you need to invest to qualify based on the type of business you are considering.
The Process of Applying for an E Visa
The process of applying for an E visa involves filing a petition with the applicable U.S. Consulate (if you are outside the U.S.) or with the USCIS (if you are living in the U.S. under a different visa). If you file your application with the USCIS, you will likely have to wait for several months for them to process your application. However, the USCIS offers premium processing, which costs $1,225. If you purchase this premium processing, the USCIS will review your application in 15 days.
The E Visa Category is One of the Best… and One of the Hardest – Work with Experts
Applying for an E visa is not easy. Even a tiny mistake can destroy an otherwise great application, so it is best to work with experienced Immigration Lawyers who understand this visa category and are familiar with the application process.
When looking for a lawyer to help you apply for an E visa, make sure you find someone who can:
- Help you determine whether an E visa is indeed the best option for you based on your needs, goals, and circumstances;
- Help you determine whether you qualify;
- Help you gather the necessary documentation you will need to include in your application;
- Focus not only on your visa application but also on your business and help you establish it and even operate it successfully; and
- Be by your side every step of the way.