If you have a valid ESTA, you can use this to enter the U.S. to organize everything you need to apply for an E-2 visa.  You can find out more about the visa waiver program by clicking here.  While in the U.S., you can sign contracts, arrange a lease, set up a business entity, hire employees and finalize other E-2 items. You can find out more about an E-2 visa by clicking here.   You can find out more about the permitted B-1 activities by clicking here.

What happens if your E-2 visa is denied?  Can you enter the U.S. if your E-2 visa has been denied in order to remedy the issues?  Can you enter on ESTA?

Unfortunately, ESTA is invalidated if your visa is denied. You can find out more about this by clicking here.

In order to enter the U.S., you must go to a U.S. Consulate and apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa.  If entering to address E-2 Visa issues, you should prepare the following:

  • An explanation of how you plan to remedy the issue (eg. you will go to the U.S. to hire employees if the reason for denial was marginality. Or you will go to the U.S. to invest more money if the issue was your expenditure amount).  The more proof you have the better. For example, if you plan to hire employees, showing that you have interviews lined up or job ads posted would be helpful.
  • An engagement letter showing you hired counsel to assist
  • Proof of ties to home country (eg. lease, bank statement, job, etc.)
  • Proof of resources to support yourself
  • Detailed itinerary of what you plan to do in the U.S.

This is not an exhaustive list and the actual inclusions would depend on the facts and circumstances. The key takeaway though is that applying for a B visa to enter the U.S. to either start an E-2 business or address a denial is very possible.

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