The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows certain foreign entrepreneurs to live in the US while they manage their business investment. The best aspect of this particular US visa is that it allows for unlimited extensions for the E2 treaty investor – so long as the investor continues to meet the E2 visa criteria.
While the E2 visa can be awarded an unlimited amount of times, it is only given in increments of a maximum of two years at a time. These two years can go by very quickly, especially as you are acclimating to a new country and managing a large business investment.
In order to receive an E2 visa renewal, you must prove that you still meet the original requirements of the E2 treaty investor visa.
What’s the E2 Visa Criteria?
The US Code states that in order to be approved, an applicant for the E2 Visa must:
- be a national of a country that the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. The U.S. Department of State maintains an updated list of qualifying countries here.
- have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States.
- be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or some other corporate device.
Additional E2 Visa Renewal Requirements
- The investor must provide proof of compliance with E-2 terms and conditions.
- The investor is obligated to show evidence of being physically in the US and present at and with the enterprise during the time of the extension application
- The extension request is still valid
- That the visa investor does intend on returning to their home country when their E2 visa has expired.
When the extension is approved, the investor can receive the re-validated E2 visa from the US State Department. The visa investor does not have to wait before the original visa has expired, either, to begin the renewal process.
Understanding the Criteria
The rules are not as straightforward as they appear, therefore it is it is vital to understand additional aspects of the law in order to ensure you will be awarded an E-2 visa.
A “substantial amount of capital” is broken into a few pieces. The total cost of the business should be looked at first – the cost of either buying an established business or the cost of establishing a new one. Based upon the actual cost, what percentage of that does your investment cover? To be considered substantial, your portion must be great enough to ensure the enterprise runs successfully and is enough to cover further business development.
While the lowest investment amount is not explicitly stated in the criteria, a qualifying investment is almost always greater than $100,000. Further, this capital must be “at risk” – meaning you will be subject to a total or partial loss if the business fails.
A “bona fide enterprise” really means a traditional business. Even if the venture is new, the goal of the enterprise must be to sell goods or perform a service for profit.
Additionally, the investment enterprise cannot be marginal. A marginal venture is one that does not make more than the minimum amount necessary to cover the living and life expenses of both you and your family. This visa is reserved not for those that are solely investing funds into a US enterprise, but those that are investing and actively managing that investment.
What if my E2 Visa Renewal is rejected or denied?
Even though the E2 visa allows for an unlimited number of extensions, there is no guarantee that they will be granted. Denials and rejections can occur for a number of reasons. It is important to distinguish between denial and rejection, though. If your extension petition was rejected, then that likely means that there was either an error or omission on your petition, your fees were inadequate or incorrectly filed, or you were missing information and/or supporting evidence. On the other hand, if it was denied, then you likely have a bigger problem on your hands.
Common reasons for E2 visa renewal denials
- You are no longer primarily working on your E-2 investment enterprise.
- Your enterprise has not been developed in a way that provides support for you and your dependents and has been deemed marginal.
- You have applied for a green card without first waiving the legal rights attributed to treaty investors.
- You have, in some way, violated your nonimmigrant status as to make you ineligible for an extension.
- You have committed a crime in the United States.
Are you ready to apply for your E2 investor visa renewal? Since you have gone through parts of this process before, you know the time and energy this takes. By working with a seasoned immigration attorney you can stay focused on your enterprise and feel far more confident that you will be able to remain in the US.
LawTrades can help
Reach out if you’d like to chat with an immigration attorney that knows E2 visa renewals. This will allow you to focus on your enterprise and family and not on your visa status.