Can I hire U.S. employees before my E-2 visa application is approved?

An E-2 visa is a great option if you want to start a business in the U.S., you have invested a substantial amount of money in the U.S. or you are in the processing of investing the money, and you plan to hire U.S. workers. Please see the E-2 requirements when you click here.

I am currently outside the U.S.

If you are currently outside the U.S. and you are preparing to submit your E-2 application to the Consulate or you are waiting for your E-2 visa interview, you may be thinking whether you can hire a U.S. employee who will manage the business until you come to the U.S.

The short answer is yes. You can hire a U.S. employee who will be managing the business until you come to the U.S. This may be a great solution for investors who have been unable to get an E-2 visa interview at a U.S. Consulate and come to the U.S. due to Covid-19 global pandemic. If you hire a U.S. employee, you should definitely bring evidence such as payroll or paystubs to your E-2 visa interview as it is very helpful to prove that you meet the marginality requirement.

You are currently in the U.S. on a B-1 status and you are changing status to an E-2 status

If you are currently in the U.S. as a B-1 business visitor, you may only engage in some limited activities related to the E-2 business. For example, you may set up a business bank account, set up the E-2 company, or meet with your business partners. Please see our blog post discussing the permitted B-1 activities when you click here.

However, if you are in the U.S. on a B-1 visa, you may not manage the E-2 company and you may not work for the E-2 company as that would be considered as unauthorized work. If you want the business to open and start the operations and taking revenue, you should hire a U.S. employee who will take care of the business until your E-2 petition is approved.

This may be an advisable solution especially if you do not want to pay for the premium processing fee (the fee is currently $1,440 and it means that USCIS will issue a decision on your case within 15 days), as it is now taking USCIS several months to adjudicate E-2 petitions.

Again, if you hire a U.S. employee before your petition is submitted to USCIS, you should definitely mention it in your petition and submit evidence such as payroll or paystubs as evidence

Please read more about the marginality requirement when you click here.

Please click here to find out if you have to hire U.S. employees to get an E-2 visa.

Please click here to find out whether it’s better to apply for an E-2 visa at a Consulate or apply for a change of status with USCIS.  

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