Skip to main content

My E-2 was approved at a U.S. Consulate, and I am extending my status with USCIS. What do I have to include in the extension petition?

By July 24, 2023E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is a great option for nationals of a treaty country who want to start a business in the United States. The applicant must make a substantial investment to start the company and must own at least 50% of the company and be coming to develop and direct the operation. The E-2 company must also be real and operating and must show it has hired U.S. employees or will hire U.S. employees. The applicant must also prove they have nonimmigrant (temporary) intent, although they do not need to maintain a residence abroad and this requirement can usually be satisfied by including a signed statement that the person intends to depart after the E-2 visa expires.

Applying for the E-2

It is possible to apply for the E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate or from within the U.S., with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). There are some key differences between applying at a U.S. Consulate and applying with USCIS:

  • If you apply at a Consulate, you will get a visa stamp in your passport. The length can vary depending on your nationality, but many applicants can get a 5-year visa, which gives them the ability to travel internationally. In contrast, if you apply with USCIS, you will get an approval notice that is valid for two years that allows you to stay in the U.S. and run the business. This approval notice does not allow you to travel internationally.
  • In order to apply with USCIS, you must be in the United States in a valid status that allows you to change status. For example, if you entered on ESTA, you would not be permitted to change status. However, if you entered the U.S. on a B-1 visa, you would be permitted to change status.
  • USCIS is often more receptive to lower investment amounts than many U.S. Consulates. However, USCIS is also much stricter about the source and trail of funds than most Consulates. USCIS wants to see the exact trail of funds, starting from where the money came from and following it until it is spent on E-2 expenses. For example, if your source of funds is savings from employment, most Consulates will be satisfied with proof of your recent tax returns and a bank statement or wire transfer from your personal account showing the investment funds being sent to the U.S. business bank account. However, USCIS would also want to see the proof of your salary accumulating in your bank account to ensure that the funds being transferred to the U.S. actually came directly from your employment earnings.

One very important thing to consider is that even if you are approved by the U.S. Consulate, this does not mean USCIS will automatically approve your application. Similarly, if you are approved with USCIS, this does not mean the Consulate will automatically approve your application. The Consulate and USCIS will treat the application as a brand-new application and will not defer to the approval from the other immigration agency.

I was approved at a U.S. Consulate but I want to extend with USCIS. What needs to be in my extension petition?

As mentioned above, an approval with the U.S. Consulate does not guarantee that USCIS will approve your petition. USCIS will make its own decision based on the evidence you submit at the time of the renewal application. This means that as a best practice you should submit all of the evidence of your initial investment, including documents showing the source and trail of funds, as well as the receipts/invoices and proofs of payment showing your initial investment. You should also include documents such as the company’s tax returns, proof of current ownership, W-2s/1099s and payroll statements, as well as proof that the company is currently operating and has all necessary licenses to operate in the U.S. If the information you initially submitted to the Consulate did not document the full trail of funds, you may need to supplement with additional documents to meet USCIS’s requirements in this area.

Often if you are renewing at a U.S. Consulate, particularly if you are renewing at the Consulate where you were initially approved, they will not ask to see the initial proof of investment and they will focus only on the company’s progress since the initial application. If you have a very complicated source and trail of funds, it may be advisable to apply at a Consulate again rather than trying to extend through USCIS. If you do choose to extend through USCIS, you should be prepared to provide a detailed source and trail of funds explanation with supporting documents, along with the proof of investment and the proof of the company’s progress and hiring over the years.

FREE E-2 Visa Resources

Click on the buttons below in order to claim your free E-2 Visa Guide, sign up for our free E-2 Visa Webinar, join our Facebook Group, or watch our E-2 Visa videos.

Download Our E-2 Visa Guide
Sign Up For Our E-2 Visa Webinar
Join Our E-2 Visa Facebook Group
Watch Our E-2 Visa Videos

Set up an E-2 Visa Consultation

For a dedicated one-on-one E-2 Visa consultation with one of our lawyers, click on the button below to schedule your consultation.

Schedule a consultation

This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

Leave a Reply