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Does an E-2 employee have to have prior experience?

By December 21, 2021E-2 Visa, Immigration
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E-2 visa is available for entrepreneurs who want to start or buy a business in the U.S. Many people think that prior experience with the E-2 investor’s  foreign entity is required to qualify for an E-2 employee visa. While it’s not the case, it may still be helpful if the employee does have prior experience with the company.


You (the treaty investor) own a company in your home country (a trucking company) and you just set up an entity in the U.S. (also a trucking company). You want to apply for an E-2 investor visa and you also want to bring your General Manager from your home country to the U.S. on an E-2 employee visa. The general manager only started working for the UK company 6 months ago and you are wondering if this is fine or if there is any minimum time the employee should work for the foreign entity to qualify for an E-2 employee visa.

The answer is that an E-2 employee does not have to have any prior experience working for your foreign company. This is a requirement for an L-1 visa (for an L-1 visa, the employee has to work for a foreign entity at least 1 year), but this is not required for an E-2 employee visa.

In fact, many E-2 investors don’t have an entity in their home country at all. Again, having entity in both the U.S. and one other country is required for an L-1 visa, but not an E-2 visa.

If the E-2 employee does have experience working for the foreign entity, it could help the E-2 employee application in some situations:

  • If you are bringing the employee as a specialized skills employee , the fact that he/she worked for the company abroad may help to make the argument that the employee possesses specialized skills and those skills are essential to effectively operate the business. For example, you could argue that the employee is already familiar with the company’s operations/clientele abroad and because the business is now expanding to the U.S. and the E-2 entity is a new entity, it needs someone who is already familiar with the company’s operations to come to the U.S.
  • If you are bringing the employee under the E-2 manager/executive category , the experience with the foreign company may still be helpful to show that the employee has managerial/executive experience while working for your foreign entity in the same field.

In E-2 employee cases, the employee will need to submit his/her Resume and Degrees as evidence of qualifications.

To sum up, while the E-2 employee does not need to have experience working for your foreign entity, if he/she does have them, it should definitely be mentioned in the application and may be helpful for the petition.

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