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Attorney Caroly Pedersen
2771 Executive Park Drive Suite 4
Weston, Florida 33331
Telephone: (954) 382-5378Contact Us Now
Whether you are a new college graduate or experienced professional, Pedersen Law will take care of the entire H-1B Immigration process from start to finish and provide legal advice and guidance to both you and your employer every step along the way…
The E-2 treaty Investor visa is one of the most popular visas used by foreign investors to own and operate a business in the United States. Not only is the E-2 a very convenient immigration vehicle for running a company in the U.S., but it also allows spouses to work. However, E-2 visas are only available if a "treaty of commerce and navigation" or "bilateral investment treaty" exists between the U. S. and the Investor’s country of Citizenship.
Many countries have E-2 investor visa status, including: Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina (Yugoslavia), Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Croatia (Yugoslavia), Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia (Yugoslavia), Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia (Yugoslavia), Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, UK, and Yugoslavia. Investors from countries which do not have an E-2 Treaty with the U.S., but who have dual citizenship, for instance holding a passport from a European Union country, such as Spain or Italy also qualify.
Treaty Investor visas allow nationals from countries which have the E-2 treaty in effect with the U.S. to enter the U.S. to develop, conduct and oversee a business investment enterprise in the U.S. as the “principal investor”, and transfer key employees, such as “managers”, “executives”, or persons with “specialized knowledge” to the U.S. as well. To qualify, the majority ownership of the U.S. enterprise must be by individuals who are also citizens of the same treaty country as the principal investor.
E-2 visas issued inside the U.S. are often easier to obtain (lower investment $ requirement) and are valid for two years. E-2 visas can be extended almost indefinitely, usually in two year increments- as long as the U.S. enterprise or investment continues to qualify.
While E-2 Visa stamps issued by U.S. Embassies or Consulates can be valid for as long as five years, they generally require more initial investment capital and can face a higher level of scrutiny by Consular officers than is generally applied to E-2 cases approved by the USCIS inside the U.S. . However, any E-2 investor who wishes to travel abroad during his or her E-2 visa must obtain an E-2 stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and must be prepared for a higher level of “scrutiny” regarding the investment amount and whether or not the U.S. investment enterprise currently employs or will employ U.S. workers in the near future. Generally, the higher the investment amount and the more employees on the company payroll, ensures a higher probability of approval.
Those holding E-2 visas (obtained at U.S. Embassy or Consulate) may travel in and out of the U.S. or remain inside the U.S. continuously until the E-2 visa expires and since there is no legal limitation on the number of extensions that may be granted, E-2 visa holders often live in the U.S. on a prolonged basis, provided E-2 qualifications are maintained. While E-2 visa holders may work and live temporarily in the U.S., they are restricted to working only for the specific investor-owned business which was the basis for the E-2 visa issuance. However, that E-2 business can do change the type of business it operates at any time, as long as the company continues to maintain full business operations and employ personnel.
The spouse and children (under age 21) of the E-2 worker are issued E-2 visas. A great benefit of this type of visa is that spouses can work (if an application for work authorization is made) and children can legally attend school.
As mentioned above, qualifying for an E-2 requires that a substantial cash investment be made in the U.S. business and while the regulations do not specify the exact dollar amount, experienced immigration attorneys advise no less than $80,000 -$100,000, which includes product inventory and liquid assets. However, in order to satisfy the capitalization test, generally, the dollar investment must be large enough to start and operate a business of the type in which the investment is made, which may be different for various types of businesses.
A weaker E-2, with less dollar investment has a chance of being approved at a USCIS Service center inside the U.S. however, as detailed earlier, if the E-2 investor wishes to travel, regulations require that an E-2 visa is made at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. In such cases, depending upon the Consular officer, an E-2 case which was approved in the U.S. can still be denied for an E-2 visa at the Embassy or Consulate. For that reason, care should be taken when filing the initial case to make it as strong as possible - if travel is later required. One strategy is to obtain the initial E-2 status inside the U.S. through the USCIS service center (using 15-day premium processing), then upon approval, operate the business for several months or more with as many employees as possible to build a stronger case for eventual application of the E-2 Stamp at the U.S. Embassy.
When inside the U.S. applying at an Immigration Service Center, the processing time can be as short as 15 days (Premium Processing) and if approved, will provide two year E-2 status, not a visa. You may remain inside the U.S. for the duration of your E visa, however, if you wish to travel outside the U.S., you will need to go to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to be issued the actual E visa stamp.
Processing times at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate can vary, depending upon what your country of citizenship is.
In order to satisfy the Immigration Service's strict requirements for this type of visa based upon your qualifications as a “treaty investor" our attorneys will thoroughly review your case to determine eligibility and carefully prepare your petition and submit to the USCIS, emphasizing your satisfaction of the regulations, including evidence to support/prove your eligibility, including your foreign company and U.S. enterprise documentation, as well as your or managerial or essential skills, qualifications. For more information on Business Immigration, call or email our office to schedule an Attorney Consultation so that we can fully review your circumstances and give you the best, most honest advice concerning what steps you can take to obtain residency. To help you succeed in obtaining your Work Visa and Green Card, our Firm will carefully review your eligibility, provide valuable advice regarding your qualifications, prepare a professional case, properly support your case with all the required documentation, respond to all requests from the USCIS, represent you through the proceedings and support you through the entire immigration process. We look forward to meeting you and helping you to achieve your immigration dreams!