Is the Sponsorship Process Different For E-2 Workers Who is Already in the USA?
- If the treaty investor is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, they may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification
- If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification on the employee’s behalf
You can access all the Forms here
For DS-156E: Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader / Investor Application, Click here
What is E2 Visa?
- The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business
- Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification
- See U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
To read more about the general qualifications of E1 and E2 visas, click here
For dependent family members, “Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees” read here
What is the Filing Fee for E-2 Visa?
- The filing fee for all I-129 petitions is $460
- This fee must be paid each time that the petition is filed including for extensions and amendments
- if you are in the U.S., then your total application cost will be $460for each E-2 visa you need to file
If You are Outside U.S.A:
- If you are outside the U.S. and need to use consular processing, then you will need to pay a $205 filing fee for your DS-160 visa application cost
- There is also a biometric services fee of $85
- If your spouse or dependents are going to accompany you, an I-129 petition will need to be filed for each visa issued along with the required filing fee
- Some additional costs may include traveling costs to the embassy and the U.S. as well as the premium processing fee
- No rules govern who pays, but since the employer signs and submits the petition, the employer generally produces the payment as a practical matter.
- Check the USCIS website for the filing fee and location just before filing, as both change periodically
You can access all the Forms here
You can find the fee schedule here
Is There a Premium Processing Option?
Because the usual six-month processing time for the I-129 petition can be difficult to plan for, the USCIS has created the premium processing service. This allows you to have your petition processed within 15 calendar days for an extra E-2 visa fee of $1,440.
Note: The processing time will vary, depending on where you are.
- The processing times will depend on where you are applying for your E-2 visa
- In certain embassies or consulates, a complete application process may be completed in a few weeks
- It could take some months in other
- If you are in the United States, you will have the advantage of using premium processing which will reduce the processing time to 15 calendar days
- Another factor is whether you are setting up a new enterprise or buying an existing one
- If you are buying a business that is already registered as an E-2 enterprise, the registration process should be easier and quicker
How to File Nonimmigrant Worker Petition With USCIS?
An employer can file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change the status and extend the stay of a prospective employee who is in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status
Steps to Follow if You are already in the U.S. Under a Different Visa:
- You must first file an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS
- This may take up to six months to process if you do not opt for the premium processing service
- You must file this petition before your previous visa expires
- You will be considered “out of status, which can have serious consequences
- If your petition is approved, then your status will automatically switch to E-2 visa status
What Will Count as an “Investment”?
- You can only be considered to have made your E-2 visa investment after you have put the “money at risk”
- This means the investment amount has been irrevocably committed to the business enterprise
- Please note uncommitted funds put in a bank account or similar financial security will not count as an investment
- Speculative investments or a paper organization does not qualify as an E-2 investment
How to Sponsor an E-2 Visa Employee?
Once the principal investor has successfully registered as an E-2 treaty investor, they can file an E-2 visa application on behalf of their qualifying employees
An employee may qualify for an E-2 visa under one of these two categories:
E-2 Specialist or Essential Skilled Workers
For an employee to qualify for this category, they must be highly skilled level people. It must be demonstrated in the petition that the employee:
- The employee has specialized knowledge of the enterprise which may not be easily found in the United States
- It is necessary to bring the employee to the United States for the efficient operation of the enterprise
E-2 Managers, Executives and Supervisors
Under this category, the employee must meet any of the above three descriptions:
- E-2 managers and executives should be those in top positions and manage an entire structure of the business or a critical part of the business
- If it is a larger business, the principal investor may not even spend much time in the United States
- In such instances, the E-2 employee who will oversee the business operation must demonstrate the managerial or executive skills required for the smooth running of the enterprise
- Relevant supporting documents such as resume, job description, and supporting letter must also reflect the employee’s ability and experience in such roles
How to Maintain E-2 Status in The U.S.?
- On approving an E-2 petition, USCIS issues an approval notice to the employer that includes a status document for the employee
- The employer and employee must track the expiration date on the I-94. Typically, E-2 status is granted for an initial two-year term
- Before the I-94 expires, the employer can extend your employee’s status by filing a second petition with USCIS
- Theoretically, E-2 status can be extended indefinitely by the filing of a petition every two years
- But USCIS does require persuading anew each time, and employers are frequently asked to present some evidence that U.S. workers are not available for the job in question
- An employee who has processed abroad for an E-2 visa will normally be admitted with a two-year period of stay on entering the United States
- Since the visa itself is typically issued for a five-year term, the visa-holding employee will have an alternative to a USCIS petition for extending status, namely traveling and re-entering
- With each reentry during the life of the visa, the immigration officer at the point of entry should grant a new two-year period of stay so on and so forth
If you have any questions about the E-2 visa renewal or anything else about this Treaty Investor or employee eligibility talk to us. Talk to a reliable immigration attorney to explore the E1 and E2 visa options.