The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows nationals from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation or bilateral agreements in effect with the U.S., to enter the U.S. for the purpose of directing and developing the operations of an enterprise they have invested in, or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
Applicants for Treaty Investor (E-2) status must first seek registration of the enterprise with the Treaty Visa Office of the U.S. Embassy in London. To register an enterprise, the applicant must establish that the trading or investment enterprise meets requirement of the law. Once the enterprise is successfully registered, E visa applicants will be required to appear in person before a consular officer for a personal interview.
In this article we cover the basic steps involved in applying for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa at the U.S. embassy in London, U.K.
Requirement of UK Residency For British Applicants
The controlling treaty between the U.S. and the United Kingdom requires that E visa investors be “inhabitants” of British territory in Europe. According to the treaty, this term means “one who resides actually and permanently in a given place, and has his domicile there”. Therefore, a British applicant must prove domicile in the United Kingdom. This requirement may be fulfilled by demonstrating payment of tax assessment imposed by local or national authorities, ownership of a primary residence in the treaty country or by the submission of similar documents tending to show the applicant resides permanently in the treaty country.
Registering Your Enterprise With The Treaty Visa Office
U.S. Embassy, London requires that E-2 applications must be submitted in a binder divided into sections clearly separated by lettered or numbered tabs and include a table of contents. Documents should be highlighted as necessary to emphasize pertinent information. Assertions made in the cover letter must be substantiated through the submission of documentary evidence to support those assertions.
Format of E-2 applications
The embassy requires the documents to be submitted in a specific format as set out below:
|Tab A or 1||A photocopy of the principal applicant’s passport. This tab should also include photocopies of any U.S. visas held by the applicant, regardless of its validity.|
|Tab B or 2||DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address.|
|Tab C or 3||Cover letter describing the enterprise, and the beneficiary, addressing all requirements for E visa eligibility.|
|Tab D or 4||Table of Application Contents.|
|Tab E or 5||Evidence demonstrating that the requisite treaty exists.|
|Tab E(i) or 5(a)||Evidence demonstrating that the individual and the enterprise possess the nationality of the treaty country. Documents may include passports and corporate instruments identifying of owners of ultimate parent company.|
|Tab F or 6||For applicants who are nationals of the United Kingdom, demonstrate the applicant permanently resides in the United Kingdom. This requirement may be fulfilled by demonstrating payment of tax assessment imposed by local or national authorities, ownership of a primary residence in the treaty country or by the submission of similar documents tending to show the applicant resides permanently in the treaty country.|
|Tab G or 7||Evidence demonstrating that the applicant has invested or is in the process of investing. Funds must be shown to have exchanged hands directly between the buyer and the seller or a duly appointed agent.|
|Tab H or 8||Evidence demonstrating that the enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise. This element may be demonstrated by the submission of items, such as annual reports, catalogs, sales literature, news articles, business invoices with corresponding bank accounts showing payment, receipts for the purchases of business equipment or inventory, and other documents tending to show the enterprise is producing some service or commodity.|
|Tab I or 9||Demonstration that the applicant’s investment is substantial and proportionate to the value of the enterprise. 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 J or 10||Evidence demonstrating that the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living. In this tab, include complete copies of all schedules of the enterprise’s U.S. corporate income tax returns. 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 K or 11||Evidence that the applicant is in a position to “develop and direct” the enterprise.|
|Tab L or 12||Evidence demonstrating that the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive or supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States.|
|Tab M or 13||Demonstrate the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates. Evidence may include documents relating to properties owned in the U.K., existing business in U.K. etc.|
|Tab N or 14||Form G-28 “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative”.|
Submitting an E-2 Application
The application should be clearly marked FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE TREATY VISA OFFICER and mailed to the Treaty Visa Office, 5 Upper Grosvenor Street, London, W1A 2JB; Tel: 020-7894-0544
Processing of the Application
Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Adjudication of an E visa application is complex and time-consuming; therefore, adjudication can take eight to ten weeks. Within eight weeks to ten weeks, you will receive notification by mail of the outcome of the adjudication and instructions regarding the next steps to take. If additional material is requested or submitted after the initial review, the new material will be logged in for adjudication at the time it is received and reviewed with all other cases in sequence.
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. On registration, the enterprise receives an identifying registration number.
Applying For Visa After Registration of The Enterprise
On registration of the company for Treaty Trader/Investor status with the Treaty Visa Office, investors and employees may apply for E visas.
E employee visas are available to managers, executives, or individuals with highly specialized skills which are not generally available in the U.S. workforce which make their presence essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise. Ordinary skilled or unskilled manual workers, clerical workers, or middle/lower-level management personnel do not qualify for employee visas.
Applicants aged 14 to 79 are required to schedule an appointment for an interview with a consular officer. Appointments may only be scheduled by e-mailing the Treaty Visa Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All E visa applicants, including children, are required to complete the visa application form DS-156, pay a visa application fee, present a passport and provide one passport type photograph which meets State Department Regulations. In addition, males aged 16 to 45 are required to complete the supplemental nonimmigrant visa application form DS-157.
Family Members: Spouses And Children
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative E visas. If the dependants are applying separately from the principal, a copy of the marriage certificate and/or birth certificate(s) for each child will be required. Spouses of E visa holders may seek employment authorization in the U.S. on derivative E visas by applying for an Employment Authorization Document.
Many 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, if they feel that will help them organize their application and their business activities.
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. Our ability to deliver fast, easy and economical service has helped VisaPro build a well-earned reputation of trust and efficiency within the business immigration community.
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