One of the benefits of an E2 visa is that it can be renewed or extended. As long as the E2 company and the E2 investor continue to satisfy the E2 visa requirements, there is no limit to the number of times that an E2 visa can be renewed or extended.
- General Explanation of E2 Visa and Status
- Requirements to Renew or Extend E2
- How to Apply for an E2 Visa Renewal
- How to Apply for an E2 Extension of Status
1. General Explanation of E2 Visa and Status
An E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows you to invest in a US business and work for that business. To apply for an E2 visa, you must be from a country that has an E2 treaty with the United States. There are almost 80 countries that have E2 treaties with the United States.
Difference Between Visa and Status
- One of the most common questions asked about E2 visas is “how long is my E2 visa valid for?”
- As an immigration lawyer, when I get this question, the first thing I do is explain the difference between a visa and status.
- Visa: A visa is an entry document that allows you to seek entry to the United States. A visa is a physical document that is affixed to your passport.
- Status: Your status determines how long you are allowed to stay in the United States and what activities you are permitted to do while you are in the United States.
Explanation of How This Works Using an Example
Many countries issue multiple entry E2 visas that is valid for 5 years.
- This means that for a 5-year period, the E2 visa holder can enter the United States using their E2 visa.
- Multiple entry means that the E2 visa holder can enter the United States multiple times using their E2 visa.
- If the visa were “single entry” this means that the E2 visa holder can only enter the US 1 time using their E2 visa.
- Even with a 5-year E2 visa, this does not mean that the E2 visa holder can stay in the United States for 5 years straight.
- When someone enters the US with an E2 visa, they are given 2 years of E2 status.
- This means that they are allowed to stay in the US for up to 2 years.
- Before the 2-year period comes to an end, the E2 visa holder can either: 1) leave the US and then re-enter with a valid visa; or 2) they can request an “extension of status.”
- This is a complex area of immigration law. If you have any questions about this, send me an email at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.
How Long is an E2 Visa Valid For?
- The length of time that your E2 visa is valid for depends on your country of citizenship.
- Each country has its own visa terms
- Jordan: The E2 visa for the country Jordan is a single-entry visa with a 3-month validity period. This means that someone with an E2 visa from Jordan can only enter the United States 1 time using their E2 visa and they must enter within 3 months of getting the E2 visa (within the validity period). Once they enter the US using their E2 visa, they are typically given 2 years of E2 status.
- Italy: On the other hand, the E2 visa from Italy is a multiple-entry visa with a 60-month validity period. This means that someone with an E2 visa from Italy can enter the United States multiple times using their E2 visa. They can also continue to use their E2 visa for up to 5-years. Every time they enter the US using their E2 visa, they are typically given up to 2 years of E2 status.
What are the E2 Visa Terms for My Country?
- You can check the E2 visa terms for your country by going to the U.S. Department of State website and checking the U.S. Visa Reciprocity link.
- Here is a link to check the terms of each country’s E2 visa
2. Requirements to Renew or Extend E2
Generally speaking, to renew your E2 visa, you must demonstrate that you continue to satisfy all of the E2 visa requirements.
Here is a list of the requirements to initially qualify for an E2 visa:
- Must be from a country that has an E2 treaty with the United States.
- You must make a substantial investment in a US company (we typically recommend at least $100,000).
- Your business must be an active for-profit business.
- You must intend to depart the US once your E2 status ends.
- Your investment funds must be at-risk.
- Your E2 business cannot be a marginal enterprise.
- You must direct and develop the E2 business.
- Your investment funds must have been lawfully obtained.
Special Considerations for E2 Visa Renewal
To initially obtain an E2 visa, one of the main focuses is the investment. The immigration official that is reviewing your case wants to see that you have made a “substantial investment” in the E2 business, that your investment is “at risk,” and that your investment funds were lawfully obtained.
At the time you file for your E2 visa renewal, the focus shifts away from the investment and shifts toward the performance of the business. To qualify for an E2 visa renewal, you are not required to reinvest additional capital into the E2 business. However you are required to demonstrate that your E2 business continues to satisfy the E2 requirements. I’ll discuss how this comes in to play below.
- When you first apply for an E2 visa, you are required to show that the E2 company will not be a marginal enterprise.
- A marginal enterprise is basically a business that only generates enough income to provide a minimal living for the E2 investor and their family.
- When you first apply for an E2 visa, you are required to show that the business will not be a marginal enterprise.
- If the business is a start-up company, you generally show that the business will not be a marginal enterprise by providing a business plan with pro-forma future projections for how the business will perform.
- When applying for an E2 visa renewal, you generally can no longer rely on future projections. At the point of E2 visa renewal, the business has likely been operational for multiple years. Therefore, at this stage, the actual performance of the business is the primary indication of whether or not the business is a marginal enterprise or now.
- The immigration official reviewing your case will review the past performance of the business to determine whether the business is not a marginal enterprise. To satisfy this requirement, you should provide the business’s past financial statements. The financial statements should indicate that the business is generating more than enough revenue to support the E2 investor and their family. Alternatively, you should provide evidence that the E2 business employs workers as this can also be helpful to show that the business is not marginal. A combination of evidence showing revenue and job creation can also work to show that the business is not marginal.
- If the E2 company’s revenues are minimal and/or the E2 company does not have employees, this poses a challenge when applying for E2 visa renewal. This is because the business is at risk of being considered a marginal enterprise. To overcome this hurdle, the applicant for an E2 visa renewal should provide credible evidence demonstrating how the business will improve to a point where it will no longer be marginal.
- One way to show that the business will improve is to provide evidence that you have committed additional capital to the business with a plan in place for deploying that capital productively. An updated business plan should also be included to demonstrate how the capital will be used to improve the performance of the business.
3. How to Apply for an E2 Visa Renewal
- To apply for an E2 visa renewal, you are required to electronically submit a Form DS-160 with the Department of State.
- Here is a link to additional information on the DS-160
- For E2 visa renewals, the filing fee for the DS-160 is currently $205 per applicant.
- You will be required to submit a number of documents along with your request for the E2 visa renewal. The type of documents required and the order in which these documents are to be presented will depend on the consular office you
- You are also required to attend an E2 visa interview at the US consular office abroad.
4. How to Apply for an E2 Extension of Status
- To apply for an extension of E2 status, you are required to file a Form I-129 with USCIS.
- Here is a link to additional information on the I-129
- The filing fee for the I-129 is currently $460.
- Along with the Form I-129, you must submit a number of documents demonstrating that you meet the requirement for an E2 extension of status. These documents should show: 1) you satisfy the E2 requirements; 2) you have maintained your E2 non-immigrant status; and 3) you are physically present in the US at the time of filing the E2 extension of status request.
- To file an extension for your E2 dependents, you must file a Form I-539.
- Here is a link to additional information on the I-539
- The filing fee for the I-539 is currently $370.