What You Should Know About E-2 Visa in the U.S.?
- How to Qualify for a E-2 Treaty Visa?
- How to Get E-2 Visa Classification?
- How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. with E-2 Classification?
- How Much Does E-2 Visa Cost?
The United States of America is a lucrative destination for foreign nationals to live and pursue job opportunities. Every year, approximately 140,000 employment-based visas are provided to qualified applicants who can live and work in the U.S., either temporarily or permanently. If you are considering working in the U.S., there are various immigrant and non-immigrant visa categories you can apply for. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant, investment-based visa, which allows a foreign national from a U.S. treaty country to live and work in the United States by investing a “substantial” amount of capital in a lawful U.S. business. It is available to nationals or citizens of 30+ countries having trade treaties with the U.S.
Individuals having significant source of funds to invest can visit the United States with this non-immigrant visa status and set up a business, office, or practice in the country. While the visa does not permit residency in the United States, you have the option to extend the visa for an indefinite period or as long as it is viable for the business.
Read on to learn more about the E-2 non-immigrant visa classification.
The general eligibility requirements of E-2 visa are:
- You must be a lawful national or citizen of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of navigation and commerce
- You must provide evidence that you have been actively involved in the process of investing, or have invested, a significant amount of funds in a lawful, bona fide U.S. enterprise
- You are seeking to enter the country for the sole purpose of directing and developing an investment-based enterprise. This should be established by showing a minimum 50% ownership of such enterprise or that you possess operational control via a managerial position or other devices
A treaty country is one with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of navigation and commerce, or a qualifying international agreement. The E-2 visa is also available to nationals of treaty countries that are deemed to be qualifying by legislation. Particular employees of such qualifying individual or investment enterprise may also be eligible for the classification.
Check the U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries to know with which countries the U.S. maintains a treaty of navigation and commerce.
If you are a qualified treaty investor and currently living in the U.S. on a lawful non-immigrant visa, you may apply for the visa by filing Form I-129. This is a request for change of status to E-2 visa classification. If your desired employee is presently in the country with a lawful non-immigrant status, the employer may file Form 1-129 on behalf of the employee to request a change of status.
If you are residing outside the U.S., you cannot request for E-2 visa via Form I-129. In that case, you will need to complete Form DS-160 online, pay the fee, and schedule an interview with the U.S. consulate or embassy. Once you complete the interview and submit all required documents, you may get approved for E-2 classification.
All qualified treaty investors or their employees are allowed a maximum initial stay of 2 years in the U.S. Any request for change of status to E-2 classification or extension of stay will be granted only in increments for up to 2 years each. However, you can extend your stay in the U.S. for an indefinite period, provided you have the intention to depart the country as soon as the visa expires or gets terminated.
The E-2 classification provides the following benefits to treaty investors, their qualified employees, and dependents:
- Legally conduct business in the U.S.
- Freely travel in and out of the country
- Get an E-2 visa for your dependent family members, such as spouse and children below 21 years of age
To qualify for the visa, the minimum investment amount should be more than $150,000. Additionally, you would require $460 as fee when filing Form I-129 or $205 for Form DS-160. Premium processing charges of $2500 may apply if you want to get approved within 15 days.
To understand the nitty-gritty of H-2 visa and whether you qualify for it, seek expert immigration visa services.
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