In recent years, it has become more challenging to obtain a visa to the United States, particularly for Mexican nationals.  Yet there are a number of ways for Mexican citizens to secure visas, particularly for those entrepreneurs who seek to make a profitable investment in the country while living there to develop and direct the business.

For Mexican nationals, an investment visa represents an opportunity to make a more stable investment than may currently be possible in Mexico — while gaining the chance to live and work in the United States.

For many Mexican nationals, an E2 investment visa may be the ideal choice, as it allows for a lower investment and the potential to live in the United States long-term.  E2 visas also permit the investor to bring their spouse and dependent children with them to the United States.  At Colombo & Hurd, we have helped thousands of people around the world — including in Mexico — obtain E2 visas.  Our experience with E2 visas gives us insight into the process, which we use to increase our clients’ potential for approval.

What Is an E2 Visa?

 An E2 visa is a specific type of investment visa that allows entrepreneurs to enter the United States to direct and develop a commercial enterprise or business.  In order to qualify for an E2 visa, a foreign national must invest a substantial amount of capital into this business and must be a citizen of a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce.

An E2 visa does not just require an investment in a business or commercial enterprise.  The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business.  While there is no minimum threshold (as with the EB-5 visa) there are several general guidelines that should be followed.  For example, if the enterprise is relatively low-cost, the investment must be a greater percentage of the total operating costs than if the business had greater overall expenses.  Moreover, the investor must put the funds at risk when applying for the visa.

The enterprise itself must be real and operating, and cannot be speculative or idle, such as in real estate.  It cannot be marginal and must either have a significant economic impact in the U.S. or generate significantly more income than just enough to support the investor and their family.

Finally, the investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise.  This may be as the principal investor, or as a supervisor, executive, or in a highly specialized capacity.  If an investor is planning to take an unskilled or low skill position with the business, he or she will not qualify for the visa.

One of the primary benefits of the E2 investment visa is that investors can stay in the United States for an extended period time as long as the business remains in operation and they remain in E2 status.  In addition, E2 visa holders are permitted to bring their dependents — spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 — to the U.S. with them.  Spouses are permitted to seek work permits, and children can study in the U.S.  However, an E2 visa does not provide a direct path to permanent residency (a green card).

Specific Requirements for E2 Visa Applicants in Mexico

 The E2 visa process for Mexican nationals is relatively straightforward, but requires attention to detail and strict compliance with the procedures set forth by the United States Embassy in Mexico.  Initially, all applicants must complete Form DS-160, which is an application for a nonimmigrant visa.  From there, applicants will create an account in Yatri, which is an online system for making appointments and obtaining information about nonimmigrant visas.

Next, a visa fee of $205 (U.S.) must be paid and this payment will be registered in the Yatri system once it is registered.  From there, applicants can make an appointment through Yatri to have their biometric information collected at an Applicant Service Center (ASC).  Applicants must bring a current passport, the Form DS-160 confirmation page, the appointment confirmation page, and a previous visa, if renewing.  A photograph and fingerprints will be taken at this appointment.  There are multiple ASCs throughout Mexico.

Next, applicants must submit supporting documents to the Consulate.  These documents must be submitted in a three ring binder with no more than 70 single-sided pages.  The binder should be divided into tabs A through G, with the following information contained in each tab:

  1. Table of Contents and Cover Letter, in English
  2. Forms
  3. Applicant Information
  4. Ownership Information
  5. Investment Information
  6. Proof that the Enterprise is Real and Operating
  7. Evidence that the Enterprise is Not Marginal

Importantly, applications that exceed the 70 page limit may be rejected.  An experienced E2 visa attorney can work with you to ensure that the documentation that you submit is sufficient to meet the requirements for approval. While an applicant can have their biometric information appointment at any ASC in Mexico, E2 visa petitions can only be submitted at the embassy in Ciudad Juarez.  Once the documentation has been accepted, an interview with the Consulate will be scheduled in Ciudad Juarez will be scheduled.  If your visa is approved, it will be delivered to you via DHL at no cost to you. There is no option for expedited or premium processing for E2 visas but generally the US consulate in Juarez will process the application for approval within two months.

How an Experienced E2 Visa Lawyer Can Help

An E2 investment visa is an excellent option for any entrepreneur who is seeking to live and work in the United States.  For Mexican nationals, the time is particularly ripe to take advantage of this visa opportunity, as it allows individuals to make a profitable investment while simultaneously gaining legal immigration status for themselves and their families in the United States.

At Colombo & Hurd, our team of legal professionals understands the immigration system from both a personal and professional level.  Many of us are immigrants ourselves, and we bring our experience to bear with each and every case.  With decades of combined experience, we have in-depth knowledge of the United States immigration system.  We are aggressive advocates for each of our clients.

To learn more about how we can help you secure an E2 investment visa, contact our Orlando office at (407) 478-1111 or our Miami office at (305) 455-0590.  We offer confidential consultations, where we will explain your options for pursing an investment visa.