An E-2 Investor visa is a long-term visa available to nationals of certain countries who invest in a U.S. business that they want to run and operate. The investment can be as little as $50,000 and the business will ultimately have to hire U.S. workers. While Scott Legal, has processed E-2 visas with low investment amounts ($50,000 is a very very low investment amount), the success of any application depends on the facts and circumstances and low investment amounts will not work with all petitions. You can find out more about E-2 visas with low investment amount by clicking here.
To find the full set of E-2 visa requirements, click here.
Scott Legal, P.C. has processed hundreds of successful E-2 visa petitions and as part of this process we spend time reviewing consular websites which specific exactly what should be included in the petitions. Also, we have spent time answering requests for additional evidence and received feedback from Consulates regarding the types of things that they want to see in an E-2 visa petition. Increasingly, many U.S. Consulates have switched to electronic submissions with strict page limits and have also started to post more guidance regarding things that they do not want to see.
We have summarized some things to consider when deciding what to include in a petition and these tips apply regardless of whether or not there is a page limit. The E-2 visa is a discretionary benefit and the last thing that you want to do is drown an examiner with a sea of paper or provide him/her with documents that are not relevant. Carefully deciding what to include in a petition will increase the likelihood of success and can also save you time and money. The following 6 items are common issues that Consulates have with E-2 Visa petitions.
- Information that is not asked for is provided or the E-2 petition is missing information specifically asked for. Read the instructions on the consular website. Every Consulate asks for different things and some give specific guidance with respect to inclusions (and exclusions). For example, the U.S. Consulate in Paris requests the first 5 pages of the tax return if the E-2 visa is based on the purchase of an existing business. The U.S. Consulate in London requires that old visa stamps and I-94 are submitted where the U.S. Consulate in Toronto does not require this. Inclusion of items that are not asked for hinders the review process and exclusion of items that are specifically requested can delay the adjudication process and possibly result in denial. You should also strictly follow the file size requirements and page limits. Consulates regularly return files when these and other instructions are not followed.
- Expenditure information is not directly related to the business. Some Consulates have expressed dismay with the receipt of invoices and proof of payment for items like travel, food, entertainment, Uber rides, etc.. While there are rare circumstances where inclusion of travel is appropriate, small items such as Uber rides, Chipotle purchases and toiletries do nothing to advance your case. Similarly, household items or other items clearly not related to the business should be excluded. In some cases, an officer may also consider these expenditures as personal and this may hurt your case.
- Irrelevant information Provided. Consulates often complain that the information submitted in E-2 visa petitions does not do anything to advance the case. For example, if photos are submitted, two or three photos are sufficient and only photos that show the existence of the business. A photo of a staircase, a bathroom, or other irrelevant item does nothing to advance a case. Similarly, each piece of paper submitted should serve a purpose and that purpose should directly link to the instructions on the Consular website.
- Disorganized paper dump without references. An examiner is not going to scour through poorly organized information that is not referenced. Instead, they may just be annoyed and conclude that they cannot understand what you have given them. If an investment schedule, for example, is provided it should reference the highlighted and paginated bank statements and invoices. Similarly, source of funds information should be explained and referenced so that someone unfamiliar with the file can understand it. The information should be easy for an examiner to find and follow and more is not better unless it is organized and explained. Most Consulates require tabs also but this should not be the only organizational markers that are used. Officers will only approve applications they understand.
- Documents without any explanation. While you may be familiar with your documents, an examiner is not. A short summary at the beginning of sections where you have information (eg. a source of funds explanation) goes a long way to understanding. Do not assume that if you just include information that an examiner will spend the time to read every page to understand it. In addition, jargon or industry specific terms will not be understood by a consular officer so descriptions should be in lay terms.
- Concise Information. Some applications are over 100 pages in length and examiners are looking for information that is clear and concise. An examiner is not going to read through a 5 page resume (by the way, neither is a prospective employer) so information should be cut down so that relevant information is highlighted.
To illustrate and further emphasize the above points, we attach guidance from the U.S. Consular websites in Rome and Dublin.
Please assemble your email package according to these guidelines. Incorrectly formatted packages will not be processed. Do not include brochures, photographs, or business plans that contribute little or nothing to the value of your case. We evaluate hundreds of applications monthly. Please think lean and demonstrate your business prowess.
Tips to establishing E Visa qualification:
- Lengthy applications take longer to read and contribute to longer processing times.
- Pages of hotel and airline booking receipts add no value.
- Stacks of bank statements that do not identify which entries are relevant as costs or earnings also add no value.
- Avoid jargon and buzzwords. Explain your trade or investment in clear, simple language. Remember, the E Visa Unit may not be familiar with your particular industry.
- Clearly explain the investment. If you have invested 100,000 U.S. dollars, provide an accounting for that amount in a spreadsheet or other easy to understand format in the cover letter.
- Clearly identify the source of the funds for your investment.
- Do not submit documents that are not germane to E visa qualification. For example, there is no need to establish that Ireland has a qualifying treaty.
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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.