E-2 Investment Visa is designed for foreign investors and business professionals to come to the United States to oversee a business that engages in trade between the U.S. and a foreign country. The visa is usually valid for five years. However, it can be renewed for a two years extension. That will only be possible if you qualify for the extension. The best thing is that there are no limitations on the number of times you can apply for an extension. The processing of an E-2 investment visa will depend on your embassy and also the country of origin. Generally, it takes 2-4 weeks from the day of filling. Depending on your case specifics, there may be additional time taken by the USCIS. However, working with an experienced attorney would be of help. We at California Immigration Attorney will guide you through the process to increase the chances of having your visa approved within the specified time.
Major Requirements for An E-2 Investment Visa
Non-immigrant visas are of different types. An E-2 investment visa is meant for foreign business people and investors who want to come into the United States. It requires that the investors come from treaty countries. There are top requirements that you should have to be granted an E-2 investment visa. The requirements and the guidelines are set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. It defines an E-2 investment as a way of placing capital, including assets and funds, at risk in a commercial sense, where the main objective is to generate profit. When investing, you may decide to start a new enterprise or buy an existing one. The minimum requirement you should meet to qualify for an E-2 investment visa are:
You Must Invest in A Bonafide Enterprise
A bona fide enterprise is an entrepreneurial undertaking that usually produces goods and services for a profit. Your petition is likely to fail if you do not invest in a bona fide enterprise. To prove your business is a bona fide, there are some documents that you should present to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. They are:
- Financial Statement of the Enterprise
- The tax returns
- A notice that you are assigned an Employer Identification Number (EIN) by the International Revenue Services. The chart of your business organization
- Payroll summaries or reports for the quarterly wages
- Business licenses
- Utility bills, advertisements, and bank statements
- Escrow documents
- Lease agreements
- Vendor or contract agreements
You Must Be From One of the Treaty Countries
A treaty country has an agreement with the United States to help its citizens by avoiding double taxation for the entire nation's benefit. Since it is one of the important requirements for your E-2 investment visa application approval, you should ensure that your passport is from one of the countries even if you are not residing in a treaty country.
The Investment You intend to Start or Buy Must be Substantial.
You should ensure that the business will be successful in its operation. The cost of investment should relate to the size of your business. If the business is of low cost, then the investment capital should also be low, and if high, the investment capital should also be high. The chances of having your investment visa approved with an investment capital of $100,000 are low. Therefore, you should ensure that you prove to the immigration department that the investment cost is worth more than$100,000.It is essential to ensure you include a plan on how you expect and plan to have your business succeed.
You Must Place the Funds at A Risk
Placing the money at risk means that you have committed yourselves to ensure the success of your business. It also means you are ready to spend your money to start an enterprise in the United States or buy an existing one. If the chances are that your business is going to fail, then all your capital will also be lost. If it is a start-up business, ensure that you put your money in an escrow account until your E-2 investment visa is approved.
Suppose you are buying an existing business, ensure that you are made to understand all its operations and the counterparts. Ensure that you understand the components and the projected success of the enterprise. When you come to a conclusive decision that the investment is worth, then you can have your funds transferred from the escrow account to buy the business without the fears of failing.
The Investment you Intend to Start or Buy Must Be Real
A real business means that it is offering goods and services that are tangible. Such business includes restaurants, medical offices, retail shops, among others. If you plan to invest in a speculative business, your E-2 investment visa is likely to be denied. Such businesses include stock held, real estate, and funds that are not committed and laying in a bank.
It Is Crucial to have a Business Plan
A business plan is not a must-have but is an additional document that may help increase the chances of having your E-2 investment visa approved. The plan will show your business's projections and show that the business can create jobs for United States citizens. A business plan also shows that you are an experienced investor and that its likelihood of succeeding is high.
A marginal enterprise is one that doesn't project enough returns to generate more income to provide a living for you and your family. However, it should generate income within five years after you are granted an E-2 investment visa. It must also have a significant impact on the United States economy.
You Must Be Intending to Develop and Direct the Business
If you are not the investor, then you should hold an executive position within the enterprise. If you are an ordinary worker, you do not qualify for an E-2 investment visa because a citizen can fill the position you will fill in the U.S. enterprise. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will only grant you an E-2 investment visa if there is a unique position you will fill and one that requires specialized skills that you possess.
You will be required to meet other requirements to have your E-2 investment visa application approved. They are:
- The fund you will use to invest should come from the same treaty country as you
- It would help if you were the owner of the investment fund
E-2 Investment Visa Extension and Renewal
You can extend your status in two ways; you can have your stay in the United States extended by admission every time you come to the U.S. It is one of the manageable and convenient ways to extend your stay. The other way is by filing a petition to have your stay extended, in case you don't have any plans to travel out of the U.S. When filing for a petition to extend your stay, you should do so before the current visa expires. There are some documents that you should fill and submit to have your stay extended. They are:
- Form I-129 - a petition for a non-immigrant worker
- Form I-539 - an application to change or extend your status
- A copy of Form I-94 -a departure /arrival document
- A copy of Form I-797-It is a notice of action if your stay was previously approved or extended. A copy of your passport and the E-2 Investment Visa
- A letter that shows the need for your extension
- A copy of business and personal tax returns, including your tax returns for your payroll
Suppose you file for an extension before your arrival documents expire; Form I-94, you still can work in the States for 240 days as you await the decision to be made. If you do so after the arrival document expires, you can only stay for 40 more days as you wait for the decision to be made to have your stay extended. If the extension is not approved after 40 days, you are supposed to stop working and leave the United States.
E-2 Investment Visa Fees
Apart from the investment amount that you are required to have to qualify, there are other costs you will incur. The various fees you will be required to pay are:
- A filing fee for Form I-129 amount to $460
- Suppose you are overseas when you are filing the petition, you will be required to apply for an immigrant visa as an alien; Form DS-160. The application will cost you $205 as a filing fee.
- There will be biometric appointments where your fingerprints will be taken. For the exercise, you will be required to pay a fee of $85.
- Suppose you take your family and relatives with you. You will be required to file a separate form for them, which is also at a cost.
- The fee to be issued your visa depends on the country you come from.
- If you want to fasten the decision making for your E-2 investment visa, you may be required to pay $1,440 of your free will.
That though is not a guarantee to have your visa approved, but it only reduces the number of days that would have been taken before having the decision about your E-2 investment visa made.
Denial of E-2 Investment Visa
When you apply for your E-2 investment visa, you may be worried that the application will be rejected, or you will be denied your visa. That may happen though it is not always the case, and there are things you should do after that unfavorable decision is made. When you make your initial application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a thorough check is done to determine whether you have completed all the required information. The evaluating officer also checks whether you have presented all the relevant documents and paid the correct fees. If you have presented all that is required and all the information is correctly filled, your application will move to the next level. If not, your application will be rejected.
When the initial check is done, and your information is right, the officer will determine if you meet the minimum requirements for an E-2 investment visa. If you meet the criteria, you will be granted your visa. However, if you do not, you will be denied your E-2 investment visa. There are times when you will be required to present additional documents to provide more evidence and increase your chances of having your E-2 investment visa application successful.
When your application is denied, you need to work with a qualified California immigration attorney to identify the issues that led the USCIS to decide and have them fixed before you think of making another application. If you were denied an E-2 investment visa, it is also essential that you hire a qualified attorney to guide you in the following decision that you will make after that.
You can take legal motions after you are denied an E-2 investment visa; you can decide to file a motion or have the decision by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services appealed. When filing the motion, you may request the USCIS to reopen your case because there is new evidence or the documentation that was required initially. The new evidence may help in making a different decision that may be in your favor. There are instances when you think the offices that did the check weren't fair enough. Your attorney may decide to have the case argued. Your attorney knows well how to handle the issue, and you may increase your chances of having your application checked by a different officer, and a different decision is made. You may also decide to appeal the decision made by the USCIS. You may also decide to have a third party and appeal the decision. In that case, the Administrative Appeal office handles the matter and can reverse or uphold the evaluating officer's decision. It would be more helpful if you involved an experienced attorney at this stage.
Advantages of E-2 Investment Visa
There are various privileges that you will enjoy once your E-2 investment visa is approved. They are:
- You will enjoy the freedom to move in and out of the United States
- You will be legally acceptable to work on your enterprise in the U.S
- You can remain in the U.S. depending on the available extension
- You can have your workers accompany you to the States with your E-2 Investment Visa
- Your relatives and dependent can move with you to the U.S
- Your spouse and individuals under the age of 21 can accompany you
If your children accompany you to the United States, they can study in the U.S. without the need for a student visa. Your children and spouse can also be allowed to work in the United States after application for employment authorization documents.
E-2 Investment Visa may not be right for you, depending on some situations. Some of the reasons why the E-2 Investment Visa may not be desirable or appropriate are:
- It is only granted to investors and business people who come from treaty countries
- You should ensure that you engage in the business that the E-2 Investment Visa is tied to
- The process of applying for your stay may be complicated
The period of your stay in the United States is allowed for the first two years. Your extension request increment is done for two years, although you can extend your stay the much you want. When your application for the E-2 investment visa is approved, you should have an intention of leaving the states once your stay is terminated or expires.
Change of Status
You can only change your status while in the United States and under a different status. If you are a resident in the U.S. and are not under a U.S. visa, you will be required to go through a process. Consular processing will help you change your status while in the U.S. and not under a visa. Change of status is worth considering because it has many benefits. You don't have to leave the country to go through the consular processing. You will file a petition under an E-2 visa. Depending on the number of pending cases in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office, the process of status change may take a short time to be completed.
Consular processing requires you to travel to your home country to attend your appointment at the consulate or the embassy there. At the embassy or the consulate, you will have a one-on-one interview with an immigration officer. The interview will help the officer determine whether your case is genuine or not. An advantage of having your status changed through the consular office is that the process is not as costly as when changing your status while already in the United States. However, there is a disadvantage of changing your status through the consulate. The minimum requirements for the status change may be too much in a way that you may not qualify.
Types of Immigration
You can get into the United States in different ways. You may apply for a visa for the same, which, when approved, you have the right to remain there as long as your passport is valid. The types of immigration include:
Immigration by Refugees
Refugees will move to the United States because of the chaos in their home country. If your country is always at war, you may decide to move to the United States and have some peace there. California is one of the countries that refugees move to because there is a welfare program for all people who got there through the traditional way.
You will be granted a visa if you will fill a vacant position that cannot be filled by a U.S. citizen. Employment visas may be challenging to get because there is a thorough check of whether you do qualify. There will also be a thorough check to determine if any citizen can fill the position before you do. Employment-based immigration can be temporary or permanent.
Temporary immigration is whereby you are granted a visa based on the period of stay in the United States to undertake a particular task. With a temporary visa, you are only required to fill the position you came for, and you cannot switch jobs at your will. After it expires, you are supposed to go back to your home country. If your employer still needs you in the job after the visa expires, your employer may sponsor you, and your stay in the U.S. is extended. Suppose your contact will take more time than expected. You can bring your children below the age of 21 and your spouse to live with you. However, they are not allowed to work in the United States until they update their status.
Permanent immigration is when you apply for a visa to move to the United States permanently. You may have specialized skills required in the United States, and because there is no specified time, you will remain in the task assigned to you, you are granted a permanent visa. Permanent visas are rare because the citizens can fill many vacant positions. For your visa to be approved, you are required to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS will ensure that you are the specialist needed before they approve your petition. One of the requirements for approval of permanent employment-based immigration is that you should prove to the USCI that you have a specialized degree needed by an employer in the U.S.
Find an Immigration Attorney Near Me
The E-2 investment visa application process may be complicated for you, and you may end up losing a lot in terms of money and time. To prevent all that, you should ensure that you consult a qualified attorney who understands the immigration laws. We at California Immigration Attorney are knowledgeable and ready to help you apply for your E-2 investment visa. Contact us at 424-789-8809 today.