For foreign investors, seeking the help of an E-2 visa lawyer is frequently an attractive option. Foreign nationals can invest in a commercial enterprise in the United States, and obtain a visa to enter the United States to direct and develop the business. These visas are for a period of from three months to five years (depending on the specific treaty with the foreign national’s country) and can be renewed. Unlike other types of visas, an E-2 visa does not have a direct path to permanent residency.
For immigrants who have approved for E-2 visas one question that arises is how they can obtain an extension of their visa. As a general rule, E-2 status can be renewed domestically or the Visa can be obtained through a U.S. Consulate abroad as long as you remain in valid E-2 status. This means that you must comply with the original requirements of the E-2 visa itself.
Criteria for Obtaining an E-2 Visa
The United States government has set forth specific standards for obtaining an E-2 visa. As a first step, you must be a citizen of a nation that has a valid commerce and navigation treaty with the United States, and that the funds being used for the investment were in the possession and control of a national or nationals of a treaty country.
Next, the investment in the commercial enterprise must be “substantial” in relation to the value of the business as a whole. In contrast to other investor visas, such as the EB-5 visa, there is no minimum dollar threshold to meet this criteria. Instead, the government will look at factors such as the proportion of the investment related to the total cost of the business, or whether the investment is typical of an amount required for a viable investment in an enterprise of that type. At the time that the application for an E-2 visa is filed, the investment should have already been made, or you should be in the process of making the investment. This can cause substantial stress for an investor, who may be uncertain about the potential for visa approval. That is why it is so important to work with a skilled E-2 visa attorney, such as the lawyers of Colombo & Hurd, to help guide you through the process. Our attorneys have significant experience handling E-2 visas, and can advise you on the likelihood of success of your E-2 visa application.
Finally, you must be able to demonstrate that your enterprise is a real, operating non-marginal commercial enterprise. A non-marginal enterprise means one that has a significant economic impact in the United States or one that makes enough money to support more than just you and your family. As an investor, you must also be able to demonstrate that you will be able to develop or direct the enterprise and that the investment is not speculative or passive. Instead, you must be coming to the United States for the purpose of actively working in the enterprise.
For purposes of obtaining an E-2 visa extension, it is this last set of criteria that is most important. You will have already demonstrated that you are a citizen of a treaty country and that you have made a substantial investment in a commercial enterprise. To be approved for an extension, you will need to prove that your enterprise is real, operating and non-marginal, and that you are developing and directing it. At Colombo & Hurd, we have helped many investors successfully obtain E-2 visa renewals, and can guide you through the renewal process, including putting together the documentation to demonstrate that you are in valid E-2 status.
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How to Obtain an E-2 Visa Extension
E-2 status can be extended domestically for periods of two years for an indefinite period of time. To file for an extension of your E-2 status, you must submit a significant amount of paperwork, including copies of both personal and business tax returns for the previous two years, an employer letter documenting why an extension is required, a copy of your passport and E-2 visa, and some additional forms along with the petition to extend status. There are strict deadlines in place for filing these extension requests; if you fail to meet these deadlines, you may be required to stop working and leave the United States. An alternative to extending E-2 Status domestically would be to renew your E-2 Visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The determination of which of these paths to utilize turns on the specifics of each case. A seasoned E-2 visa attorney can help to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order and that your request for an extension is filed in a timely manner so that you can remain in the United States to direct and control your commercial enterprise.
Work with an Experienced E-2 Visa Attorney
At Colombo & Hurd, many of our attorneys are immigrants themselves, so we understand the process from both a personal and legal perspective. We work collaboratively with our clients to help them achieve their immigration goals. Our attorneys have helped individual and corporate investors around the world obtain E-2 visas through investments in Florida and across the United States. We have also helped these investors be approved for renewals of their E-2 visas, allowing them to remain in the United States to run their businesses. If you would like to learn more about the potential to invest in the U.S., contact Colombo & Hurd today at our Orlando office at (407) 478-1111 or our Miami office at (305) 455-0590 to schedule a confidential consultation.