Key employees and principal owners of a U.S. company that is at least 50% owned by nationals of their country of citizenship may work for the company in the U.S. if their country is signatory to an investor treaty with the U.S., a significant cash investment has been made in the company, and the company is actively engaged in trade or the rendering of services.
We assist companies, key employees, owners, and their accompanying relatives in preparing the extensive paperwork and complying with the complex rules, regulations and definitions applicable to the E-2 visa. We guide the parties through decisions regarding corporate structure, type of businesses that qualify, key employee, control and ownership issues, skill and salary requirements, financial requisites, the “substantial investment” requirement, extensions of stay, and the eventual change from a temporary “E” visa to another visa, as needs change over time. We represent their interests before the INS in the U.S. and the consulate where the owners or key employees are citizens.
The E-2 visa is outlined below.
E-2 visas are only available to citizens of countries which have investor treaties with the U.S. The countries with treaties currently in effect are: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
E-2 Visa Privileges:
- You can work legally in the U.S. for a U.S. company in which a substantial cash investment has been made by you or other citizens of your country of citizenship.
- Visas can be issued within approximately three months.
- E-2 visas are available for the spouses and children of E-2 visa holders.
- Spouses may work, and spouses and children may engage in study with the E-2 visa.
- You may travel freely in and out of the U.S. for the term of the visa.
- You are not required to maintain a residence abroad.
- You need not currently reside in your country of citizenship in order to obtain an E-2 visa (except for U.K. applicants).
- The E-2 visa is not subject to any extension limitations. After the initial grant of two years, you may live in the U.S. with continuous extensions, as long as you continue to satisfy the requirements of the E-2 visa.
E-2 Visa Prerequisites and Restrictions:
- You must be a citizen of a country which has an investor treaty with the U.S.
- You must be a principal owner or key employee, as defined by U.S. immigration law.
- At least 50% of the company’s owners must be citizens of the same investor treaty country, and they must either live outside the U.S. and be eligible for E-2 status, or live in the U.S. with E-2 visas.
- A “substantial cash investment” must be made in the U.S. business. The sufficiency of the investment is determined on a case-by-case basis.
- The business must be actively engaged in the rendering of services or trade. Investments in stocks, land speculation, or holding companies are not generally approved for E-2 visas.
- Small, family-operated businesses which will not need to hire American workers within five years are not generally approved for E-2 visas.
- The E-2 visa will initially be issued for a maximum term of two years, with an unlimited number of two year extensions permitted, as long as you maintain your E-2 visa eligibility.
- At the time of application, you must intend to depart the U.S. when your business there is completed.