The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 Treaty Trader visa category allows foreign nationals whose home country maintains a commercial or navigation treaty or bilateral investment treaty with the United States to carry on substantial investments in the U.S. In many cases, an E-2 visa can be granted to an individual who is an employee of a treaty investor if he/she holds the same nationality as the foreign investor/employer and seeks admission to the U.S. to engage in duties that require special qualifications (either executive, managerial, supervisory or "essential" skills) that are essential to the operation of the enterprise. A foreign national may also qualify for E-2 status if he or she intends to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or of an enterprise in which he or she is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
E-2 visa holders are initially granted a period of admission for two (2) years with an unlimited number of two-year extensions of status.
Change/Extension of E-2 Status Within the U.S. Might Be Favorable: For instance, changing to E-status may happen when a foreign national is entitled to enter the U.S. in B-1 business visitor status in order to research investment opportunities and take initial steps to establish the business. The individual may be in a position in which the business activities move more quickly than expected and require his or her immediate and continued presence in the United States. However, filing in the U.S. for change of status to E-2 may or may not be the best option for all potential investors. If the foreign national wishes or needs to travel abroad during the duration of his E-2 status, it will be necessary for him to apply for a visa in his country of origin before returning to the U.S. This will trigger a re-adjudication of his case, which may take weeks or months, and in some cases lead to a denial.
E-2 Visa Application at the Consulate
Filing for an E-2 visa abroad at a U.S. consulate results in a totally new and independent adjudication by the consular office. If the case has been previously approved by USCIS in the U.S., it must be reviewed and adjudicated again at the consulate. Moreover, the standards used by consular offices abroad are often more demanding and difficult to meet than the standards used by USCIS.
For this reason, a prospective investor should consult with an attorney about the possibility of entering the U.S. in some other legitimate status (for example, B-1 business visitor) and then changing status to E-2 after arrival.
Immigration Law Associates, PC is well versed and experienced in preparing E-2 visa applications on behalf of foreign corporations seeking to bring essential executives and personnel to the U.S. In addition, our firm also lends its knowledge to help foreign entrepreneurs comply with the immigration requirements necessary to establish a viable E-2 investment enterprise.