Understanding The Requirements For Obtaining An E-2 Visa

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What is an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa category in the United States that is designed to facilitate foreign nationals’ investment in and management of businesses in the U.S. It is available to individuals from countries that have a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation or Bilateral Investment Treaty with the U.S. The primary purpose of the E-2 visa is to promote foreign investment and enhance economic ties between the U.S. and treaty countries.

Here are some key points about the E-2 visa:

Eligibility: To qualify for an E-2 visa, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Nationality: The applicant must be a national of a country that has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation or Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United States.
  • Investment: The applicant must have invested, or be in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. The investment must be at risk and dedicated to the business’s success.
  • Ownership or Control: The applicant must have ownership or control of the U.S. business, either by being the investor or by having a key managerial or executive role.
  • Substantial Investment: The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business. There is no specific minimum investment amount, but it should be substantial relative to the total cost of the business.
  • Intent to Depart: The applicant must have the intent to depart the U.S. once their E-2 status ends.

Investment Types: The investment can take various forms, including capital contributions, funds placed at risk, purchase of existing businesses, or substantial development of new enterprises.

Duration: An E-2 visa is typically granted for an initial period of up to two years. Extensions can be granted in two-year increments as long as the business and the investor continue to meet the E-2 visa requirements.

Dependents: E-2 visa holders can bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. as dependents. These dependents can apply for E-2 dependent visas and are allowed to stay in the U.S. as long as the primary E-2 visa holder maintains their status.

No Dual Intent: Similar to other non-immigrant visa categories, the E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, and applicants are expected to maintain their intent to return to their home country after their authorized stay in the U.S. ends. However, E-2 visa holders can pursue other immigration options if eligible.

As immigration policies and regulations can change, it’s always advisable to consult the official U.S. Department of State website or seek guidance from an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date and accurate information about the E-2 visa process.

E-2 visa filing fee

The filing fee for the E-2 visa application varies depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying, as well as your nationality. The fee is subject to change, and different embassies might have slightly different fee structures. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Visa Application Fee (Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee): The visa application fee is paid when you submit your online nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160. The amount can vary based on your nationality and the type of visa you’re applying for, including E-2 visas. As of my last update, this fee ranged from $160 to $265 USD.
  • Reciprocity Fee: Certain countries have reciprocity agreements that may result in additional fees for U.S. visa applicants. The reciprocity fee is determined based on the type of visa you’re applying for and your nationality.

Please note that these fees can change over time due to policy updates or changes in exchange rates. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on visa fees, I recommend visiting the official website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country where you plan to apply for the E-2 visa.

Keep in mind that these fees are just a part of the overall cost associated with the E-2 visa application. You should also budget for other potential expenses, such as travel costs, medical examinations (if required), and any legal or consulting fees if you’re working with an immigration attorney or consultant.

E-2 visa duration of stay

The duration of stay for an E-2 visa holder in the United States can vary based on several factors, including the terms of the visa, the specific business activities, and the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry. Here are some general guidelines:

Initial Period of Stay: When you enter the U.S. on an E-2 visa, you will typically be granted an initial period of stay. This initial period can vary, but it’s often set at up to two years. However, the CBP officer at the port of entry will make the final determination regarding the length of your authorized stay.

Extensions: E-2 visa holders can apply for extensions of stay in the United States. Extensions are generally granted in increments of up to two years. To be eligible for an extension, you must continue to meet the E-2 visa requirements and demonstrate that the business remains operational and viable.

Continuous Eligibility: To maintain your E-2 status, you must continue to meet the eligibility requirements of the visa category. This includes maintaining your investment in the U.S. business and actively participating in the management or operation of the business.

Travel and Re-entry: When you travel outside of the United States and wish to return, you will need to present your valid E-2 visa at the port of entry. The CBP officer will determine the length of your authorized stay based on your current circumstances.

It’s important to note that while the E-2 visa allows for temporary stays in the United States, it is a non-immigrant visa category, meaning it is not intended for permanent residency. If you wish to pursue permanent residency in the U.S., you would need to explore other immigration pathways.

Since immigration policies can change, I recommend checking the official U.S. Department of State website or consulting with an immigration attorney who specializes in U.S. immigration law for the most up-to-date and accurate information about the E-2 visa and its duration.

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