Nationals of certain countries (see list of treaty countries) who come to the U.S. to carry on trade or develop a businees are granted E status. E-1 Visas are for Treaty Traders, and E-2 Visas are for Treaty Investors.
E-2 Visas are given to investors who want to come to the U.S. and live and work. Unlike an E-B5 Visa which requires a minimun investment of one half million dollars, there is no minimum investment amount. But the amount must be a “substantial investment.” What dollar amount that translates into is determined on a case by case basis, and often varies from business to business. For example, an auto manufacturing plant will require a far greater investment than a limosine service.
E-2 Status is granted to both the principal investor as well as his or her spouse and children under 21. The spouse may work in the U.S., while the children cannot. Both treaty traders and investors are admitted for 2 years, and may renew their stay every two years. E Visas are nonimmigrant Visas, meaning a green card is not avialable. However, unlike other nonimmigrant Visas, E Visa applicants are not required to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before making their application at the U.S. consulate in their home country. Once a person receives an E Visa, he or she can travel to the U.S. and remain for two years. The E-2 can be renewed every two years.
Alternatively, you can apply for an E Visa while in the U.S. through change of status. Further, while in the U.S. you can request premium processing. The USCIS guarantees a decision on your E-2 Status within 15 days. Of course, their is an extra fee for this expedited service, but it can be well worth it. Many people prefer to obtain their E-2 Visa while in the U.S., as there are advantages to being here while negotiating the purchase of a business, and finding a place to live. There are advantages and disadvantages to both filing for an E-2 at the consulate in your country or here in the U.S. Contact us for details.