E2 visas, otherwise known as investor visas are designed for foreign business professionals and investors to come to the U.S. in order to oversee an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the United States and a foreign country; or a major investment in the United States. These visas are only available to nationals of countries with treaties with the U.S.
E2 Visa Validity Period
E2 visas are valid for a period of five years and can be renewed with two-year extensions as long as you maintain the necessary qualifications. As it stands, there are no limits on the number of extensions you can take.
Generally, there are two ways to file the extension of status. The first path is to a new visa admitted (one year periods) each time you (treaty alien) reenter the U.S. Depending on your travel schedule, this may not be convenient or manageable. The second way is to file for an extension of stay if you do not plan on traveling out of the U.S. before the expiration of your visa.
E2 visa extensions are granted in increments of 2 years. In order to file for an extension of stay, you must submit:
- Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Worker
- Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Non-immigrant Status
- Copy of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure document
- Copy of original Form I-797, Notice of Action (if status was previously extended or approved)
- Copy of passport plus E2 visa
- Employer letter demonstrating why extension is required
- Copies of personal and business tax returns (prior 2 years) plus payroll tax returns
It’s necessary to point out that if you file the extension before your I-94 expires then you can still work for 240 days pending the decision. If, on the other hand, you file after the expiration you can stay only 40 days pending the decision.
What happens if you don’t receive a response in those 40 days? You’ll be required to stop working and leave the U.S.
E2 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the E2 visa, E2 visa renewal or extension and change of status:
Q. Are there restrictions on my ability to travel while on E2 visa?
One of the fortunate things about the E2 visa are that there aren’t any travel restrictions imposed (i.e., number of times you are permitted to leave and re-enter). USCIS also doesn’t specify the amount of time you can stay abroad before having to return.
Q. Am I allowed to study on an E2 visa?
You are permitted to study on an E2 visa but cannot join a full-length program like those on F1. As long as it doesn’t harm the primary interest of your visa.
Q. Am I allowed to change status while on E2?
You can apply for a change of status by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker or Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change status.
Q. What is the processing time?
Normally, it ranges from two to four weeks from the filing of the application. Be aware that this can vary depending on the workload in the U.S. Consulate.
Q. When is the best time to apply for the extension?
It’s ideal to file the E2 visa extension before the I-94 expires. If you file the extension before your I-94 expires then you can still work for 240 days pending the decision whereas if you file after the expiration you can stay only 40 days pending the decision.
Q. Can spouse and children work in the country while I’m on E2?
You can bring both spouse and dependents (under 21) to the country while on E2 visa.
Q. Can I apply for a Green Card while on E2 status?
You can apply for a Green Card assuming you meet the right qualifications. There are a few general paths to obtain a green card. The first is the EB-1 route. If you are an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability”, or “Multi-manager or Executive” you can opt for this route. The second way is through a Family Based Immigration Green Card. If you have a close relative in the United States, it’s wise to explore this option.
Consult a qualified Green Card Lawyer to learn more about these paths to citizenship or E2 visa renewal steps.
How an E2 Attorney Can Help
An E2 visa attorney can help you file an E2 visa renewal or extension based on the USCIS guidelines. During your extensive consultation, we’ll explain which course of action will suit your case best. If we determine that an E2 visa renewal or extension is not available to you, we’ll explore other non-immigrant status options.