The E2 Treaty Trader visa, also known as the E2 visa is one of the most popular visa options available because it allows an individual, and (his / her spouse and children under the age of 18) to move to the U.S. by investing in a “viable” going concern or a ”viable” start-up business.
This process often takes less than 1 year to complete. Currently other options, like sponsorship takes approximately 10 years , which makes the E2 Visa a much faster way to move to America.
To be eligible for an E2 Visa, you must raise a sufficient amount of capital to buy or start a business. There’s no delay beyond the usual federal red tape (and the time it takes to find the right business or location for a new business).
To qualify for a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa
- The investor must be a person, partnership or corporate entity and must have the citizenship of a treaty country.
- If a corporate entity, the investors must own at least 50 percent of the US entity.
- The investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed to the business and “at risk”. It must be a sufficient enough investment to ensure the successful operations of the enterprise and the hiring of two full-time American citizens.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial, or an entrepreneurial undertaking.
- The business must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and your family. It must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
- Loans for the funding of the business cannot be secured by the business. However, you can take out a loan -in your country- by securing the lone with personal property.
- The investor must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the business. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
Benefits of an E2 Visa:
- The main advantage of having an E-2 Visa is that you can come and go as you please without any further immigration worries or Embassy visits for the period of the Visa (2-5 years)
- As long as your new American business continues to financially support you and your family and two full-time American citizens, your visa should renew each 2-5 years indefinitely.
Once you’ve setup an entity in the state you will live, and the business you are purchasing is in escrow or the location for your new business is approve, and the business plan is written, and you have provided all needed documentation to your immigration attorney, you are ready to submit your paperwork to USCIS.
Depending on what Embassy you will be going to for your interview the approval timeline varies. However, plan on 90 days or less. If you file abroad you will interview in an American Embassy in your county or origin or country of legal residency.
Follow this link to see the current USCIS Processing Times
Premium Processing (PP):
USCIS allows Premium Processing, which allows you to have your visa application reviewed in under 15 days. To do this you must be here in the US at the time of submission. There is no interview. The answer will be Yes or a “Request for Further Evidence” (RFE). RFE’s are common and you will need to produce more evidence quickly so that your visa is issued in a timely manner. The RFE often asks for more recent financials, a better business plan, clarity on your current immigration status, funding, and so on. This is why it is so important to use an immigration attorney and independent company, such as Lanick to process your business services. Once the additional information is submitted USCIS will take an additional 15 days or less to provide a final decision. It will be a yes or a no.
The advantage of using Premium Processing is that it enables the investor to complete the purchase of a business in a normal or customary time frame, -typically, 30-45 days or less.
The disadvantage is that when an investor enters the US on a B2 visa and then uses PP to expedite the processing of the E2 visa, even though they get an Approval Notice allowing them to stay in the US for up to two years, you will still at some point have to go back to the Embassy in their own country in order to get the approval notice stamped into their passport . The case will have to be repackaged and reviewed again by the Embassy. Read more about the E2 Visa: E2 Visa USCIS