An E-2 visa is a Visa Classification that is available for foreign nationals who wish to live in the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of a business. The business can be large or small and an E-2 Visa is a great Visa option for those who want to start a business.
If you are planning to apply for an E-2 visa with a business partner (you own the business 50/50), these are some things you should keep in mind:
- Each of you needs to invest money in the E-2 business and each of you will have to prove that the investment amount is substantial);
- Both of you should invest the same/similar amount of money into the E-2 business.
- Each of you will have to own 50% in the business;
- Each of you has to have a managerial/executive role in the E-2 business (you cannot be just a passive investor);
Does my business partner have to have the same nationality as me?
No. Your business partner can either be:
- a U.S. citizen
- green card holder
- national of the same country as you
- national of another E-2 visa treaty country (both of you could apply for an E-2 visa under your own nationality and the E-2 company would have a “dual nationality” – the E-2 company could bring to the U.S. E-2 employees that have your/your business partner’s nationality)
- national of a country that is not an E-2 visa country (in this case only you would be able to apply for an E-2 visa)
Procedural tips: Applying with USCIS
When filing an E-2 petition with USCIS, you will need to file a separate I-129 petition for each E-2 investor and you will need to demonstrate that each investor meets the E-2 criteria.
Some of the documents will be the same for both of the applicants (such as ownership documents, or proof that the company is real and operating, or documents showing that the business is not marginal).
On the other hand, to prove the source and trail of your investment funds, each of you will need to submit separate docs showing where the investment money is coming from and the trail of the money to the U.S
Procedural tips: Applying at a Consulate
You will want to check the Consulate’s website to see if the Consulate has any specific instructions for E-2 petitions for two E-2 investors. If there are no instructions on the website, we would recommend reaching out to the Consulate and ask in what format they would prefer to receive the application (some Consulates may allow you to submit one petition for both investors, and other Consulates may require that you submit 2 separate petitions).
With regards to supporting documentation: similarly as with the USCIS filing, some supporting documentation will be the same for both investors, and other documentation will be investor-specific.
Please note that each investor will have to submit a separate DS-160 form and pay the visa fee.
Some Consulates will allow you and the second investor to attend the interview together. Again, we recommend reaching out to the Consulate in advance of your interview and ask if this would be an option.
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