An E-2 visa is a visa category for entrepreneurs who want to either start or buy a business in the United States. When applying for an E-2 visa the applicant is either an E-2 investor or an E-2 employee. If the applicant wants an E-2 investor Visa he/she would have to invest a substantial amount of his/her own funds in a U.S. entity. To find out more about the investment amount required for an E-2 visa click here. If the applicant is an E-2 employee, an investment from the E-2 employee is not required. You can find out more about E-2 employee visas by clicking here.
You can find out more about the other E-2 visa requirements by clicking here.
In some cases, the person or people investing in an E-2 business do not want a visa. For example, a U.K. national may invest $200,000 in an entity in the U.S. that she owns 100%, but she may not have any interest in moving to the U.S. Instead, she may want to transfer employees from the U.K. to the U.S. as E-2 employees. For this to work, the person coming to the U.S. must meet the criteria outlined above for an E-2 employee (eg. nationality of the treaty entity, manager, executive, etc) and the company must also be “Registered.”
One key question we often receive is as follows:
If someone wants to apply for an E-2 employee visa, is it a requirement that some other person has already applied as the E-2 investor visa?
No. E-2 employee eligibility does not depend on an E-2 investor being in the U.S. or having an E-2 Visa. The company can be owned by a national from a treaty country (50% or more) and then can be “registered” as an E-2 company. To register, a company would show the same requirements as if the investor were applying for the E-2 visa (eg. investment made, source of funds, business plan, real and operating, etc.) and then an E-2 employee with the same nationality can apply for an E-2 employee visa as a specialist, manager or executive. All of this can be done at the same time in the sense that the employee can go to the Consulate and register the company and get the E-2 employee visa at the same time as the registration. As the E-2 employee will have to take the E-2 file to the Consulate for the interview, the issue of the redaction of certain confidential information may often be a concern.
Once a company has been registered, many Consulates have a very simplified process for bringing in employees.
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