E2 Visa: Advantages

Posted on October 10, 2006 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Introduction of the E-2 Visa: Advantages

Today’s fast-paced economy and increased rate of globalization spurs many companies to go overseas in order to stay competitive.  Many foreign investors and firms favor investing in the U.S. market due to its large established consumer base and its access to well-developed innovative industries that are not available in other parts of the world.  However, entering the U.S. market is not that easy.  Along with the difficulty of finding a niche for the company to survive in an already highly competitive market environment, also there exist many barriers for attaining legal status of the investor through the U.S. immigration system.  However, because the U.S. government encourages foreign entities to invest in the United States, it also provides several ways to ease this process.  In addition to L visa, E-2 visa offers another way for foreign investors to organize their activities in the United States.

The E-2 type visa allows many privileges.  For example, the requirements needed to qualify for E-2 visa are not very hard to satisfy.  The U.S. company can qualify as a sponsor, as long as 50% of the shareholders either have or are eligible for E-2 visas and are citizens of a country that has formal investment treaty with the United States.  Some countries that have this kind of treaty are Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Thailand. For a company that is owned by a few owners trying to access the U.S. market, this requisite can easily be met.

Although the requirement of the citizenship to a country that has investment treaty with the U.S. might seem somewhat restrictive, but it can also be seen as an advantage.  Because other types of visas can be applied by any nationality, there is a larger pool of people competing for the visa approval.  The restriction on the nationalities for the E-2 visa, on the other hand, means that the pool of applicants is reduced, making it relatively easier to have it approved.

The investment requirement for this type of visa may be easier to fulfill as well.  While the investment immigration visa (EB-5) requires an investment of $1 million ($500,000 in economically depressed areas), the E-2 visa has no minimum requirement.  The investment should be enough to fund the type of business which will be operated in the United States, however.

Applications for the E-2 visa take about 2 to 8 weeks for it to be approved, which is still considered faster than some other types of non-immigrant visas.

Finally, E-2 visa holders are allowed to travel in and out of the United States freely while the visa is valid.  Because of this, the E-2 visa can be a good way for a foreign investor to send top level employees or to come to the U.S. himself to manage, train, or oversee the U.S. businesses you have invested on.

The E-2 visa is different from L visa which a lot of readers are familiar with for the following reasons:  First, while the L visa is aimed at employees of established multinational companies, the E-2 visa targets investors who are aiming to open businesses in the US.  Thus, an investor from a country that has an investment treaty with the United States can apply for the E-2 visa without having any previous business experience.  Secondly, although the E-2 visa does not help the investor to get a green card as easy as the L visa does, it does not have limitations on the number of times the visa can be extended.  The visa has an initial duration of two years but it could be extended continuously, allowing the visa holder to stay in the United States for a prolonged period of time as long as he or she maintained his or her E-2 eligibility.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.