Turn to the knowledgeable immigration consultations at Pilkington Immigration to help you apply for your E2 Visa in Ottawa, ON. We thoughtfully guide you through the application to set you up for success. The standard E2 visa processing time is approximately two to four weeks. Contact us to schedule an appointment to get started or to learn more about the US visa application process.
What is an E2 Visa?
The E2 visa, or E2 Treaty Investor visa program, allows the investor to live and work in the US to direct and develop their business and allows entry for executive, management, and essential skills employees. In larger businesses, management and executive-level employees may be sent to the US instead of the business owners.
Employees that are also nationals of the same E2 visa country as the investor may also qualify for an E2 visa. The investment must be sufficient to employ several people in the United States and be in an active US business. Unlike the H1B visa category, there is no quota on the number of E2 visas that may be granted. The E2 visa renewal can be extended indefinitely if the business continues in the US.
E2 Visa Investment Requirements
When you apply for E2 registration of a business, you need to be in the process of investing money. Unless an escrow arrangement is possible, you should show that you have made a substantial and irrevocable investment before applying.
The investment necessary to qualify for E2 Treaty Investor status must be significant. Although there is no set minimum, it is generally accepted that $100,000 is the requirement of a significant investment.
An escrow arrangement is possible in some circumstances where the money is released upon the condition of receiving an E2 visa.
The investment to qualify for an E2 visa must be in an active and operating business that requires people to work there actively. Therefore, businesses that do not require employees, which could include passive investments in property or stocks and bonds, do not qualify. Usually, at least part of the investment should have been made, or money should be held in escrow before applying for E2 Treaty Investor Registration and E2 visa status.
E2 Visa Requirements
Your E2 treaty investor application should meet the following criteria:
- There has been a substantial investment in the US; in some circumstances, money is held in escrow to be transferred if the E2 visa is granted. There is no specific investment requirement, but the baseline is around $100,000.
- Money has been put at risk for the E2 Treaty Investor business: the investment must entail some risk to the investor. You may need to have an office lease agreement in the US. If you have a purchase agreement and are taking over an existing business, you can have money held in escrow.
- The investor will direct and develop their investment. E2 visa treaty investors with the requisite nationality usually need 50% control of the US business. If the business is 50/50 controlled by nationals of two different E2-eligible countries, then nationals of both countries may be able to gain entry under the E2 visa scheme.
- The E2 business should not be considered to be "marginal." US workers are (or will be) employed. The treaties envisage more than just creating a job for the principal investor, but there is no requirement to employ a particular number of US citizens or residents. It should be possible to meet the requirements by employing only a few employees.
- You should have a business plan detailing the plans for a new business. This should have detailed information on the new business and the plans to employ new staff in the US.
- Details of the skills, qualifications, and work history should be provided for any prospective employees of the E2 Treaty Investor and, if appropriate, for the investor themselves.
- The investor must show proof of lawful accrual of funds for the investment.
- The principal investor, and any other E2 visa staff, must be able and willing to leave the US upon termination of their E2 visa status since the E2 is a non-immigrant visa category. However, the E2 Treaty investor visa can continue to be extended indefinitely.
E2 Visa Employees
Once the principal applicant has obtained registration as an E2 Treaty Investor, they can obtain E2 visas for qualifying employees who are usually of the same nationality as the investor.
Executives, Managers, and Supervisors
Executives and managers should be in a senior position and manage the whole business or a vital part of the business. In larger businesses, business owners may not spend much time in the USA. Such personnel should be able to demonstrate their executive or managerial pedigree. However, there is no requirement that they have worked for the principal trader or investor for at least one year in the last three years, as there is with the L-1 visa.
Specialist or Essential Skilled Workers:
This is a good way of employing highly skilled people in the US. You should demonstrate that:
- The employee has specialized business knowledge, which may be difficult to find in the US.
- The employee must run the principal trader or investor's business in the USA
Family and Dependents of E2 Visa Holders
Spouses and dependents of E2 visa workers can also apply for E2 visas and will generally be granted the same period of stay as the principal E2 visa holder. E2 spouses and dependents do not need the same nationality as the principal applicant. Spouses are allowed to work; however, it is advisable to apply for work authorisation which may take a few months. Children under 21 can study but, unfortunately, are not allowed to work under the E2 Treaty Investor visa category.
The investor needs to be a citizen of a treaty country to be eligible for the E2.
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