E2 Visa application process for startup businesses

17 Apr, 2020 (GMT+7)

Unlike other US immigration programs, the E2 Visa program is a nonimmigrant Visa program. With Visa E2, you can come to the United States, open a business or buy an existing business, and run it.

In order to own a E2 Visa, investors must participate in citizenship programs to own a passport and legally become a citizen of the treaty countries.

As a startup business owner, you need to follow these steps to own an E2 visa:

E2 Visa application process for startup businesses

Step 1: Get advice from an immigration lawyer

An immigration lawyer may look into your case to determine the best option to take. Thereby, you can get the easy way to apply for an E2 Visa to get the shortest visa processing time.

Step 2: Establish a company and a bank account

The investor may choose to establish his or her E2 business as a limited liability company or other type of business.

The E2 program requires the investor to manage the business. Therefore, investors must own at least 50% of businesses and run business development to meet this requirement.

After establishing the company, the next step is to open a bank account for the E2 company. The investor will need a business bank account to operate the E2 company. Bank records are also one of the important evidence supporting the investor's E2 visa application.

Step 3: Transfer investment funds into the bank account of the E2 company

After setting up a business bank account, the next step is to transfer your investment funds to the business bank account.

To qualify for an E2 visa, the investor must invest and prove that a substantial investment has been made by actually depositing the investment into a business account. Although there is no minimum regulation, investors should aim to invest at least US$ 100,000.

Step 4: Start spending the investment funds

Investors should start paying business operating costs such as inventory, equipment, supplies, marketing and any other business expenses.

One of the requirements for obtaining an E2 visa is that the investment funds are at risk and are committed to the E2 business. To meet this requirement, investors must really use the premise of investment.

Only depositing money into a business bank account is not enough, investors must actually pay the money. If money is held in a business bank account at the time of filing form, the E2 petition may be rejected because the investment is not fully at risk.

Note to investors:

Most entrepreneurs find it very uncomfortable to spend money on an E2 business before the E2 visa is approved. The reason is that if Visa E2 is not approved and the investor has to be stuck with equipment, inventory and furniture they cannot use.

While this is a general mentality, this is the key for the E2 visa process to proceed. The US government needs to ensure that investors are committed to the success of the E2 business to proceed with the E2 visa.

The immigration officer will review the case of investors to see if your investment funds are really at risk. From there, decide whether or not to continue the steps in the E2 visa application process.

Step 5 Submit E2 Petition (Either Change of Status or Visa Processing)

Once an E2 business has been established and its investment funds have been used, the investor can now file an E2 request. There are 2 options to consider:

  • Change Visa status through USCIS
  • Visa Processing at US Consulate

Here is a difference between these two options:

A. Change status via USCIS:

  • Status change is the process of transitioning from one non-immigrant state to another.
  • To change status, you must be lawfully present in the United States with a nonimmigrant status.
  • Status changes are filed with USCIS through Form I-129.
  • Immigration attorneys will prepare and submit Form I-129 along with all supporting documents of the investor (company documents, bank statements, etc.)
  • The whole process is handled within the United States.
  • There is no interview when doing status changes.
  • By changing status, the investor does not receive an E2 visa. Instead, you get E2 status.
  • Your E2 status is valid only in the United States.
  • E2 status does not give you the ability to enter and exit the United States. If you travel outside of the United States, you will lose E2 status.
  • There are limited exceptions that allow travel to Mexico and Canada less than 30 days.
  • If you want to travel in and out of the United States and maintain your E2 status, you will need an E2 visa.

B. Visa Processing at US Consulate:

  • If you are outside the United States when you apply for E2, you will need to process a visa.
  • Visa processing is the process of applying for a US visa at a US Embassy abroad.
  • To process the visa, the investor will prepare and submit Form DS-160.
  • The immigration lawyer arranges and sends all investor support documents to the investor's U.S. Embassy.
  • The Embassy will review the investor's documents and then schedule a visa interview.
  • At the interview, the consular officer can ask a variety of questions regarding investment, capital, etc.
  • After completing the visa interview, the investor will be granted an E2 visa within about a week.
  • With an E2 visa, investors can enter and exit the United States during the visa validity.

Customers interested in immigration programs and citizenship programs, please contact GIS for comprehensive advice. GIS is committed to bringing customers the most suitable settlement program for investors and their families.

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