One of the main benefits to the E-2 visa over other nonimmigrant visas is the length of stay. Essentially, you can apply for an unlimited number of E-2 visa extensions provided that you still fulfill the requirements. This last part, however, will determine whether or not you qualify for an extension. Let’s go over the E-2 requirements.
E-2 Visa Overview
The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows investors from treaty countries–any country that maintains a treaty of trade and commerce with the U.S.–to live in the country and work on their own investment enterprise. This enterprise could be a substantial investment in an existing business or a new business altogether.
There are a few main eligibility factors to keep in mind:
- You must be a national of a treaty country, no exceptions. However, you do not have to be currently living in your home country to qualify.
- You must invest a substantial amount into a bona fide U.S. enterprise.
- You must enter the U.S. with the sole purpose of developing that enterprise.
When it comes to your investment amount, there is no minimum or maximum. This may seem like good news but it means that your investment is completely up to the discretion of the USCIS. A general rule of thumb is: if your investment is smaller, your investment must be a greater percentage of the value of your enterprise. Here is an example:
Tim has capital to invest in a U.S. enterprise. If he decides to invest in a mid-size restaurant chain worth several million dollars, his investment may only be a small percentage of that value. However, if he decides to invest in a standalone restaurant worth only $150,000, his investment would likely need to be very close to 100% of that value.
The E-2 treaty investor visa holder is allowed to stay in the United States for a maximum of two years, but there are two options in which to extend the visa:
If the treaty investor travels outside the United States, the investor will be granted re-admission for a one year period. It is typically not required to submit a new Form I-129.
If the treaty investor has remained in the United States until the date of expiration, the investor must contact USCIS Texas or California Services to apply for an extension. The extension must be filed with Form I-129 and any supplementary documentation relating to the investment business. The given documentation must provide the information filed with the first nonimmigrant visa application.
The investor is able to renew the E-2 Visa once the status has expired. There is no limit on the number of extensions an investor can take, however, each will be in increments of two years.
Moreover, the enterprise must generate enough revenue to support the investor and their relatives throughout the duration of the visa. An E-2 treaty investor who has stayed past expiration is required to file his/her visa application at the consulate of the citizen’s country.
E-2 Visa Extension Requirements for Investors:
The investor must provide proof of compliance with E-2 terms and conditions.
The investor is obligated to show evidence of being physically present during the time of the extension application
The extension request is still valid
When the extension is approved, the investor can receive the re-validated E- 2 visa from the U.S. State Department. The investor does not have to wait before the original visa is expired. It is possible to obtain a re-issued visa from the State Department Office in Washington.
It is not mandated for the investor to inform that he/she is staying in the United States for a specific period of time. The only requirement is for the investor to prove that he/she will leave the Unites States once the status is terminated. The investor also needs to indicate that he/she will return to the home country.
While the E-2 visa is technically a dual intent visa (meaning that you can apply for a green card while under E-2 status), there are certain legal rights that you have as a treaty investor that would need to be waived in order to make that transition. Work with your immigration attorney to find out how you can get a waiver for this. In the meantime, to get an E-2 visa extension, you need to maintain an intention to return to your home country.
Termination of E-2 Visas
Failure to adhere to any of the E-2 treaty investor visa requirements will result in termination of the status for the investor as well as any other dependents (i.e., spouse, children, key employees). To prevent early termination, remain abreast of new legislation relating to your visa and your dealings while in the United States.
E-2 Visa Extension Denied
Even though the E-2 visa allows for an unlimited number of extensions, there is no guarantee that you will be granted them. Receiving an E-2 visa extension denial can be devastating, so it always pays to be prepared beforehand.
There may several reasons for why your E-2 extension was denied. It is important to distinguish between denial and rejection. If your extension petition was rejected, then that likely means that there was either an error or omission on your petition, your fees were inadequate or incorrectly filed, or you were missing information and/or supporting evidence. On the other hand, if it was denied, then you likely have a bigger problem on your hands.
If you have experienced a denial or are looking to avoid one, here are some common reasons that E-2 extension denials occur:
- You are no longer primarily working on your E-2 investment enterprise.
- Your enterprise has not been developed in a way that provides support for you and your dependents and has been deemed marginal.
- You have applied for a green card without first waiving the legal rights attributed to treaty investors.
- You have, in some way, violated your nonimmigrant status as to make you ineligible for an extension.
- You have committed a crime in the United States.
What Should I Do If I’ve Received a Denial?
If your extension has been denied, here are some options that might be available to you.
Legal Motions – There are two kinds of legal motions that you could take. The first is the motion to reopen, which is used when new evidence has come to light that may change the evaluating officer’s decision. The second is the motion to reconsider, which is used when you think that the officer was wrong in his or her decision and are prepared to deliver a legal argument as to why. Obviously, this should not be done without a highly experienced immigration attorney at the helm.
Appeal – If legal motions directly with the officer are not an option, then you may be able to appeal to a third party, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). This should also never be done without the help of an attorney and even so, the AAO tends to side with the evaluating officer.
Other Options – You may want to consider changing your status to a different visa if you are denied your E-2 visa extension. The H-1B is great for those that can find an employer to sponsor them and you don’t need to waive any rights to apply for your green card, though you do need to make it through the H-1B annual lottery. Also, the TN visa is perfect for workers from Mexico or Canada.
You may also want to work with your attorney to apply for the waiver for your treaty investor rights so that you can apply for your green card. The EB-5 is the investment green card, requiring you to invest $500,000 in a business in a rural or underemployed area or $1 million anywhere else.
In many instances, an E-2 visa will be relatively simple to renew. In theory, if you do not commit any violations and continue to generate adequate revenue through the business’s daily operations, you should be able to renew it indefinitely.
Of course, as with all legal affairs, the statutes and requirements are apt to change. If you happen to come across difficulties, have been denied for your E-2 or have other concerns regarding a nonimmigrant visa, it’s best to consult one of the attorneys at VisaNation Law Group.
The E-2 investor visa is valuable because of the potential length of stay. If your E-2 visa is expiring and you’re wondering how to get an extension, it pays to be prepared. Find out what the E-2 visa extension requirements are, how to get a renewal, and what you should do if your extension is denied.
How VisaNation Law Group Immigration Lawyers Can Help
If you are interested in getting an E-2 visa extension, give a VisaNation Law Group E-2 visa lawyer a call so we can review the requirements and specifics of your case. We can help you determine what documents and additional paperwork will be necessary when filing.
Currently on another visa status and wish to transfer? VisaNation Law Group’s team of immigration lawyers can facilitate that process as well to get you on track.
- Employment based immigration cases are our specialty but we also have tremendous experience handling other complex cases for individuals as well as business.
- To get in touch with a VisaNation Law Group immigration attorney and start on your E-2 visa extension, you can fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with our office today!