Eligibility and Renewal Criteria for E2 Treaty Investment Visas
What are called E2 investment visas have been targeted at certain individuals from outside of the United States who can help to boost the US economy by contributing investment and create jobs for American citizens. The E2 visa option is a very popular one, especially because it is suitable for anyone who is not able to qualify for a H1-B visa because they do not have sufficient qualifications to gain skilled employment. There are of course several criteria which have to be met to allow E2 visa applicants eligibility for the visa. The visa is known as a non immigrant visa as the holder does not have rights to live permanently in the United States. The visa period is limited to a specific number of years but usually it can be extended almost any number of times as long as the business remains viable.
Who is eligible for an E2 visa?
The first criterion that must be met is for the applicant to belong to one or another of the countries that have a trade treaty with the United States. There are over 70 of these countries that have signed a trade treaty already. Some countries have been treaty countries for a long time, e.g. the United Kingdom while others have only been added recently. There are a few countries where there are quite limited periods allowed for an E2 visa and it may be better for nationals of these countries to opt for another type of investment visa such as an EB5 visa if they have sufficient investment capital.
The other criteria include whether the applicant has sufficient capital to invest in a new business in the US or purchase a viable existing business or a majority share in an existing business. What ‘sufficient capital’ actually means is not specified exactly. Basically, it is not permitted for an applicant to apply for a loan to start a business or buy a business in the US. They must have enough of their own financial assets to invest directly. The amount of investment must be considered ‘substantial’ by those who review the application for the visa. The main requirement is that the business will be able to create a minimum of 2 new jobs for American citizens and provide sufficient income for the visa holder and his or her dependent family.
How long does an E2 visa last?
The E2 visa does not last forever. How long it lasts depends on the treaty country that the applicant is a national of. It all depends on what has been arranged between the two countries. The rules about investment visas are usually reciprocal. Many E2 visas will be valid for a period of 5 years, but some are only valid for 2 years or less. This is something which definitely has to be considered by the applicant, as a short time period may not be sufficient to establish a viable and profitable business before having to apply for a visa extension.
How many times can a visa be extended?
An extension of an E2 visa depends on the investment remaining viable, but in most cases, it can be extended almost indefinitely. As with the period of the visa, there is some difference between the treaty countries, so it is advisable to find out whether there are any restrictions before planning an application.