The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa. The E-2 nonimmigrant classification permits a national from a specified treaty country to gain admission to the United States if that individual is investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business enterprise. A treaty country is one that has entered into and maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. The significance of the investment is determined by the objective needs of the enterprise. A foreigner seeking to qualify as a foreign investor for E-2 visa purposes must also maintain either a controlling interest or have a legal right to factually control the U.S. entity, which receives the investment.
Changing Visa Status While in the United States
A foreign national lawfully in the United States is allowed to change his or her status to that associated with an E-2 visa. This is accomplished by preparing and filing a Form I-129. The Form I-129 is the official instrument of the State Department that requests a change of status to the E-2 classification. Alternatively, if a qualifying employer wishes to change the status of an employee to the E-2 classification, that employer can file the Form I-129 on behalf of the employee. An immigration lawyer can assist with changing visa status in the United States.
Obtaining an E-2 Classification Outside of the United States
A foreign national cannot use Form I-129 to obtain an E-2 classification if he or she is physically located outside of the United States. A foreign national located outside of the United States must file an application for an E-2 visa at the U.S. Consulate in the country of his residence. The process and requirements associated with applying for this type of visa can be subject to change without notice. Therefore, as is the case when applying for any type of visa for entry and presence within the United States, a foreign national interested in seeking this type of visa needs to check with the latest requirements set forth on the U.S. State Department website.
Once a visa is issued, a foreign national can then lawfully travel to the United States. Upon arrival in the United States, a foreign national will meet with a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for final admission into the country as an E-2 nonimmigrant. Because of the complexities associated with obtaining this type of classification, a foreign national would be wise to consider seeking legal assistance from an immigration attorney.
Qualifying for an E-2 Visa Classification
As mentioned previously, a key qualifier for obtaining an E-2 visa classification is a foreign national from a country that maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. In addition, the foreign national must have made or be in the process of making a substantial investment in a U.S. business enterprise. Substantial investment is defined as sufficient to ensure the investor’s committed financial interest in the successful operation of the business venture. The foreign national must also demonstrate a possession of the controlling vote or operational control in a U.S. business enterprise.
Assistance from an Immigration Attorney
The first step in obtaining legal assistance from an immigration lawyer is to schedule an initial consultation with legal counsel. An immigration attorney will review and evaluate your proposed application for an E-2 classification and navigate you through the rest of the process.
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