IMIN LAW Employment & Family Based Immigration
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1. What type of business qualifies for E-1/E-2 visas?
For E-1, items of trade (import or export) “include but are not limited to goods, services, international banking, insurance monies, transportation, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news-gathering activities.”
For E-2, there is no requirement as to the business type for the investment, but only that the investment enterprise must be a commercial enterprise and “active”, not passive. Examples of a passive investment include stocks and undeveloped land. Examples of active investments include retail, restaurants, nail salons, tanning salons, beauty salons, construction, video rental stores, logistic companies, acupuncture clinics, dental labs, franchise businesses, supermarkets, and newspaper publishers.
While there is no minimum investment amount, the investment should be considered “substantial”. To illustrate, for small and medium businesses, if the business is worth $100,000, the full 100% investment should be made. As long as each individual has made this “substantial” investment, a company may have two owners applying for E-2 visa where each owns 50% of the company. They both can obtain E-2 visa status as long as they are both developing and directing the business. In other cases, by purchasing over 50% of an existing company’s stock, you can also apply for an E-2 visa.
2. If I obtain an E visa, can my spouse work? Can my children attend school?
Unlike other nonimmigrant visas, the dependent spouse of E visa holders can apply for employment authorization in the United States. The children, under 21 years of age, of E visa holders are allowed to attend school in the United States including public schools without changing their visa status to F student status.
3. What is the expected processing time for E visas? Can I apply E visa outside the United States?
Changing status to or extending E status usually takes 2-3 months within the United States. However, with Premium Processing, if you pay an additional $1,225 the application can be approved in 15 days.
You may apply for an E-1/E-2 visa directly to your nearest embassy or consulate. The general requirements to qualify are
similar but different forms are required and the application will be decided by a U.S. consular officer instead of a USCIS immigration officer. Furthermore, the procedure can vary slightly from consulate to consulate.
4. What is an E-1/E-2 visa employee?
E-1/E-2 visa status can be obtained not only by the investors but also by the employees in the position of executives, managers or essential workers at the E-2 company. Not only can they work at the E-1/E-2 company while they are in E employee visa status, they also can apply for a green card with the sponsorship of their employer.