How much is the visa issuance fee?
In the US, the total for the various fees is $460. If you apply from outside the US, the total is $750.
Is it better to start a new business or purchase an existing business?
That all depends on the details of your investment. In most cases, however, investors prefer to purchase an existing business, since an existing business has clients, a reputation, and a business track record that should mitigate a lot of the risk associated with the investment. An existing business is also likely to prove to be a simpler process, and it should provide you with far more information about your investment than a startup will.
Some companies don’t need to hire employees. Will I need to hire employees to remain eligible for E-2 status?
Although there is no absolute requirement that you hire employees to remain eligible for E-2 status, it is a practical necessity. To remain eligible, you must convince US immigration authorities that the investment in question actually benefits the US economy. The best way of doing this is usually to provide them with enough information to show them that the investment creates jobs for American workers.
Can my spouse and children work in the United States while in E-2 status?
Your spouse can work in the United States by applying for and receiving approval of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Your children, however, cannot work in the United States without securing another type of visa that allows employment.
Can my children attend school in the United States on an E-2 visa?
Yes, they can attend public or private high schools as well as institutes of higher education, at least until they turn 21. No special permission is required — there is no need, for example, to wait for the student visa process to be completed.
Will my children have to leave the US if they turn 21 or get married while in E-2 status?
Although your children’s E-2 status cannot be extended after they turn 21 or get married, they may be able to remain in the US in another visa status — F-1 student status, for example, perhaps leading to H-1B status and eventually permanent residence.
How can I visit the United States to investigate a potential E-2 investment I am interested in?
Correspond with the candidates regarding your potential investment, and keep your correspondence. Normally, you can apply for a 90-day visa waiver or a 180-day B1/B2 visa. Either way, you will be permitted to investigate potential businesses and even sign an asset purchase agreement. Temporary restrictions could be imposed, however, due to the COVID-19 crisis.
How should I handle the E-2 visa interview?
E-2 visa interviews are normally fairly straightforward. You might be asked, for example, why you are applying for an E-2 visa, or you may be asked to provide further detail about some of the contents of your enterprise business plan. You might also be asked questions about your personal life. Whatever you do, don’t lie, because if you get caught lying it can be used as an excuse to deny your visa.
You, your spouse, and any of your children over 14 years old must attend the interview. You can bring along your younger children if you wish to.
How well do my English language skills need to be to have a successful E-2 visa interview?
Since E-2 visa interviews are normally conducted in English, your English needs to be passable. It is important that you demonstrate enough proficiency in English to make your E-2 application believable — and that means the better your English is, the better your chances of approval. You can indeed be turned down for lack of English language ability.
Can I apply for E-2 status from inside the US?
Yes, you can, subject to certain conditions. If you are applying for a change of status to E-2 status within the US, you will need to submit Form I-129 and provide certain other documentation.
Can I travel abroad and return on an E-2 visa?
Yes, you can travel as often as you please on an E-2 visa, There is not even a restriction on the total amount of time that you may spend outside the country.
Can I appeal a denial of my E-2 visa application?
No, you cannot. It is possible, however, to apply again. If you applied for an adjustment of status with the USCIS inside the US, you can file a motion to reconsider or a motion to reopen. This will result in your application being reviewed by the USCIS, the same authority that denied it the first time.