04 Oct Take Your E-2 Visa Renewal Seriously
The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant “investor” visa that enables an individual to enter and work in the U.S. for 2 to 5 years when they have invested a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. As long as they stay in business and continue to meet the requirements of the visa, the “investor” can renew their visa indefinitely. The E-2 visa is one of the fastest growing visas among all U.S. visa categories. Many E-2 visa applicants start and operate their own businesses like restaurants or franchise stores. Some keys to a successful E-2 visa application are that the business (1) projects to create jobs for Americans, (2) creates investment in the local economy, and (3) will financially support the investor and his or her family while they live in the U.S.
Some E-2 visa applicants apply from abroad in their home country, while others apply from here in the U.S. There are differences between the two scenarios, and depending on the country you hail from, the process may be smoother choosing one over the other. Some applicants file their visa paperwork on their own, while others hire an immigration lawyer to do it for them. There’s a general consensus that the approval rate when filing your own application is lower than when you work with an immigration attorney, but I’ve spoken with people who have filed themselves and did it successfully.
I’ve also heard stories from E-2 visa holders about renewing their visas. Some of them have stated that it was a very easy process, with nothing to worry about. But this was over a decade ago, and things have changed.
Enforcement of our immigration laws
is now a hot topic — there are camps on both sides of the issue. Whatever your opinion, it is clear that more attention is being paid to our visa programs.
The E-2 nonimmigrant visa likely will not see any changes (here’s why), but it’s still a good idea to take your E-2 visa renewal seriously. If your visa is up for renewal and you haven’t met the revenue or hiring projections set forth in your original business plan, you had better explain why. Perhaps you spent a significant amount of time in your second year establishing distribution networks, which took you away from your core business operations. Your revised business plan should explain that, and show how your activities will bear fruit for your business during your next five years.
As an E-2 visa holder, as long as you do your due diligence and take advantage of your local business resources and business planning experts, you’ll have no problem renewing your status.