E-2 Treaty Investor visas are authorized on the basis of treaties of commerce and navigation or bilateral agreements between the United States and certain other countries, to enter the U.S. for the purpose of directing and developing the operations of an enterprise the applicant has invested in, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. France is a treaty country, which under the treaty includes metropolitan France and La Martinique, La Guadeloupe, French Guinea and La Reunion.
There are different procedures for individual investors or small investing enterprises and larger multinational corporations. In this article we cover the basic steps in applying for an E-2 Investor visa at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.
Qualifying For E-2
Application for a Treaty Investor (E-2) visa is a two-step process. First, the U.S. business (the Enterprise) must qualify under the terms of U.S. law and regulation; second, the investor, or the employee (the Applicant) of the enterprise must apply for the visa to be placed in his/her passport.
The enterprise must meet the following conditions for E-2 status:
a.The Enterprise must be majority-owned, as well as developed and directed by nationals of the Treaty Country.
b.Individual employees must have the same nationality as the Enterprise to qualify.
c.The Enterprise must be real and operating and the investment must be substantial.
Applicants who are employees of the enterprise must either:
a.be going to the U.S. to work at an executive/managerial level on temporary basis or
b.be going to the U.S. to use their special skills which are (1) essential to the Company’s operations in the United States and (2) not readily available in the U.S. labor market.
Submitting Your E-2 Visa Application
Before submitting your application for an E-2 visa, you need to pay the application fee of 85 euros at any French post office (La Poste) and obtain a Mandat-Compte, account #2006L. You will be required to send the original postal receipt with the application.
U.S. Embassy, Paris requires that E-2 applications must be submitted in a binder divided into sections clearly separated by lettered or numbered tabs. A cover letter from your attorney or representative may be included outside the binder.
Required format of E-2 applications
|Tab A or 1||Form DS-156 nonimmigrant visa application, one 5X5 cm photograph andForm DS-157, if appropriate. The Mandat-Compte receipt for the application fee should be stapled to the back of the DS-156 application form.|
|Tab B or 2||Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport. This tab should also include photocopies of the applicant’s prior US visas, as applicable.|
|Tab C or 3||Form DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address.|
|Tab D or 4||Cover letter describing the Enterprise and the beneficiary addressing all requirements for E visa eligibility. If the company has previously qualified for E-2 visa status, include the date and location of the initial qualification. The letter may also include a paragraph concerning the applicant’s unequivocal intent to depart the U.S. when E-2 status ends.|
|Tab E or 5||Proof of treaty country ownership and controlling interest in the Enterprise. Articles of Incorporation, Secretary of State certificates, Minutes of Board of Directors’ meetings showing who the officers are and the distribution of capital and other documents of this nature may be included.|
|Tab F or 6||Proof that funds have been invested or that the investor is actively in the process of investing. You need to provide proof of actual purchases and/or signed contracts and leases related to the Enterprise, not just wire transfers to a U.S. account.|
|Tab G or 7||Proof that the enterprise is currently running or will open its doors imminently. This element may be demonstrated by submission of client lists, letters from clients attesting to their involvement with the Enterprise, signed contracts with clients, and photographs of the Enterprise.|
|Tab H or 8||Evidence that investment is substantial. New businesses must identify start-up costs and demonstrate costs identified are the reasonable and actual costs necessary to establish a similarly situated business to the point of being operational.|
|Tab I or 9||Evidence that enterprise is more than marginal. Under this tab you may include proof of external sources of income that will be used to support the applicant and his or her family in the U.S. Start-ups may include a detailed business plan showing the financial projections and personnel plan of the entity. Include documents to show that the business will be profitable and will generate employment in the U.S.|
|Tab J or 10||Applicant’s resume and, if an essential employee, evidence that employee has essential skills that the Enterprise urgently needs, as well as the projected duration of this essentiality. You should include relevant diplomas, job training certificates or letters from previous employers in this section. Include an organizational chart, particularly for managers or executives. You may also wish to explain why the enterprise was unable to find a qualified U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to fill the position.|
|Tab K or 11||For newly created enterprises or those in existence for 2 years or less, submit a business plan for the next five years, including projected expenses and profits. The plan must verify the capacity of the enterprise to realize a profit within a maximum of five years. Other enterprises may also submit a business plan, though it is not mandatory for them, especially if they have previously qualified for E-2 status.|
|Tab L or 12||G-28 “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative” (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number.|
Mailing the application to the Embassy
Applications in the above format with supporting documentation must be mailed to:
U.S. Consulate General
Treaty Visa Officer
18 Avenue Gabriel
Processing of The Application
Adjudication of an E visa application is complex and time-consuming; therefore, adjudication can take five to eight weeks. On receipt of the application, the embassy will send you (or your representative) an email with a unique Reference Number that you can use to view the status of your application online. Information on pending E-2 visas can be found out from the Embassy’s website.
Adjudication of the case may result in any of the following:
- Refusal under INA Section 214(b) for failing to meet requirements for treaty investor status.
- Refusal under INA Section 221(g) for providing insufficient information to make a final determination in the case. In this case you may submit additional information to address the insufficiency identified in the refusal.
- Successful registration of the enterprise by approval of your E-2 case.
Approval of The Application And Personal Interview
On approval of your E-2 case, the Embassy will invite you for a personal interview. The principal applicant and dependents over 13 years old require a personal interview. You need to carry the following documents:
a.Valid passport for the principal applicant and dependents.
b.The issuance fee, if you are not a French citizen. French citizens are not required to pay any issuance fee.
c.A self-addressed envelope for the return of the passport(s).
Family Members: Spouse And Children
Spouses and all unmarried children under age 21 are eligible for derivative E visas. A separate DS-156 application form must be completed and separate photo provided for each eligible family member. Include proof of the family members’ relationship to you, such as a copy of your marriage certificate and/or a copy of your children’s birth certificate(s). The Mandat-Compte must accompany EACH application. Spouses of E visa holders may seek employment authorization in the U.S. on derivative E visas by applying for an Employment Authorization Document.
Special Procedure For Large Multinational Corporations
If the enterprise meets the following requirements, the application procedures for a large multinational corporation may be followed:
- Enterprise has been incorporated and doing business in the U.S. for 2 years or more
- The U.S. Enterprise and its affiliates have combined annual sales of more than US$25,000,000 or has a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees
Applications must be submitted in a binder divided into sections clearly separated by lettered or numbered tabs. A cover letter from the applicant’s representative may be included outside the binder.
|Tab A or 1||Form DS-156 nonimmigrant visa application, one 5X5 cm photograph, andForm DS-157, if appropriate. The Mandat-Compte receipt for the application fee should be stapled to the back of the DS-156 application form.|
|Tab B or 2||Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport. This tab should also include photocopies of the applicant’s prior US visas, as applicable. Copies may be in black and white but must be legible.|
|Tab C or 3||Form DS-156E. Contact information must include the e-mail address of the applicant or his or her legal representative.|
|Tab D or 4||Letter signed by the multinational corporation’s Chief Financial Officer stating the following:|
|Tab E or 5||The visa applicant’s resume and, if an essential employee, evidence that employee has essential skills that the enterprise urgently needs, and the projected duration of this essentiality. You should include relevant diplomas, job training certificates or letters from previous employers in this section. Also include an organizational chart that identifies the position that the applicant will occupy in the enterprise. You may also wish to explain why the enterprise was unable to find a qualified U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to fill the position.|
|Tab F or 6||G-28 “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative” (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number.|
Validity Period of The E-2 Visa
Treaty visas issued to applicants of most treaty countries are valid for multiple applications for entry to the United States during the visa validity period. The maximum validity period for French treaty visas is five years, but the actual validity of each visa is subject to the discretion of the Consular Officer. If your application is well-prepared and the Consular Officer is convinced, you may be granted a five-year visa.
The permitted length of stay in the United States is determined at the port of entry. An initial period of twelve months is granted in the beginning, renewable annually as long as the individual and the enterprise are entitled to treaty status. A valid visa and passport are always necessary for entry into the United States.
Consular Posts often change policies and visa processing procedures making it difficult to be aware of the latest policies. Prospective investors and E-visa applicants should always review regulatory requirements and seek professional advice from an immigration law attorney before submitting an application. We advise our readers to consult a VisaPro Attorney to know the latest policies and procedures being followed by any U.S. Consular Post and assist them through their E-visa procedure.
We at VisaPro have successfully helped our clients at all stages in the process. We advise our readers to contact us to determine your eligibility for an E-2 visa. Our attorneys will answer all your preliminary queries and devise the most suitable strategy for the successful processing of your E-2 visa application.
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