If you are a foreign investor looking to renew your E-2 visa, you are faced with two options: you can either renew your E-2 status from within the United States, or you can obtain a visa extension at a U.S. Consulate abroad. As long as you comply with the original E-2 visa requirements, you can extend your visa indefinitely.
What is the E-2 visa USA program?
The E-2 visa USA program is a nonimmigrant investor visa which allows foreign nationals to invest into, develop, and direct a U.S.-based enterprise. In order to qualify for an E-2 visa, you must be a national of a country that has signed a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation with the United States. A list of the eligible countries is provided on our website.
If you would like to find out more about the E-2 visa requirements, this article provides detailed information that might help you determine whether you qualify for the E-2 visa USA program.
What’s the difference between E-2 status and an E-2 visa?
Your E-2 visa is the visa stamp in your passport that allows you to enter the United States. The E-2 visa allows you to reside in the United States in E-2 status, which determines what you can and cannot do while in the country.
When you receive your E-2 visa, it will either be a multiple entry visa that is valid for up to 5 years, or a single entry visa. Being a multiple entry visa holder means that over a 5-year-period, you as an E-2 visa holder can enter the United States multiple times using your E-2 visa. The single entry visa will only allow you to enter the United States once. Whether your visa is multiple or single entry is determined by your country of origin.
Even with a multiple entry 5-year E-2 visa, you cannot reside in the United States for 5 uninterrupted years. Once you enter the country with your E-2 visa, you are permitted to stay for 2 years in E-2 status. When this 2-year period expires, you can either leave the U.S. and re-enter with your valid E-2 visa, or you can request an extension of your E-2 status from within the United States.
What are the requirements for an E-2 Visa Renewal?
The most important factor in the initial E-2 visa application is the investment – whether it is substantial, whether it is marginal, and whether the funds are lawfully obtained. When you are applying for an E-2 visa renewal, what is most important is your business performance.
When applying for an E-2 visa renewal, your business will likely have been operational for at least two years. This means that you will have to demonstrate business growth. In order to qualify for a visa renewal, you will have to show proof that your enterprise satisfies the non-marginality rule.
You can demonstrate that you meet the requirement by providing your enterprise’s past financial statements. These should indicate that your business is generating more than enough income to support you, as the investor, and your immediate relatives. To best illustrate this claim, you should further provide evidence that your E-2 business employs U.S. workers. Revenue and job creation are the best way to demonstrate that your enterprise meets the non-marginality rule.
To further aid your renewal application, you can demonstrate that you have made further capital investments and that you intend to use these investments productively. An updated business plan that reflects the newly committed capital and demonstrate business growth can improve your chances of renewal.
How can you apply for E-2 Visa renewal?
If you are located outside of the United States, you can apply at a U.S. Consulate abroad.
If you are in the United States, you can apply for an extension of your E-2 status. In order to do this, you will have to file Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker. Along with it, you will need proof that:
- You satisfy the requirements for E-2 Visa Renewal;
- You have maintained your E-2 non-immigrant status;
- You are physically present in the United States;
- Your presence in the United States is still required for the successful development and operation of the enterprise.
You will also need to submit form I-539, Application to Extend Nonimmigrant Status if you have any family members applying with you.
There is no limit to the number of times you can apply to renew your E-2 visa or E-2 status, so long as you continue to satisfy the requirements. Timing and strategy, however, are of key importance when you are applying for an extension of status. If you fail to meet the strict deadlines dictating when you should file for an extension, you might have to leave the United States and apply for a renewal of your visa at a U.S. Consulate in your home country.
Whether it is better to file for an extension of your E-2 status from the United States, or to renew your E-2 investor visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad is determined by the specifics of each case. Our experienced immigration attorney can make sure your application is in accordance with the requirements, and can help you file for an extension in a timely manner, so that you can remain in the United States to direct your enterprise.
When should you apply for renewal of your E-2 status?
Upon each entry into the United States on an E-2 visa, you should check the I-94 website to see the expiry date of your status. As long as you file for renewal before your status has expired, that is, before the date listed on the I-94 website, you will be able to remain in the United States and to continue operating your E-2 enterprise for an additional 240 days from the expiry date.
What happens if your E-2 visa is denied?
While you can file for an unlimited number of extensions on your E-2 visa, there is no guarantee that your petition will be approved. You will receive a USCIS notice informing you of the decision that has been made regarding your E-2 visa renewal. Please note that your E-2 visa might be rejected or denied.
If you receive a rejection, that means you might have paid the wrong filing fee, you might have made a mistake while filling out your petition, or some of the supporting evidence or documentation might be missing. In other words, a rejection of your E-2 visa renewal is most likely due to a technical error. This error can be easily corrected by paying the proper amount, resubmitting your corrected petition, or submitting the missing evidence.
If your E-2 visa renewal is denied, this usually signals that you have not complied with some of the requirements for renewing your E-2 visa USA. Some of the reasons why your E-2 visa may not be renewed are that you have not demonstrated strong enough ties to your country, or that your enterprise has been deemed marginal. You will also be ineligible for renewal of your E-2 status if you committed a crime in the US, or if you somehow violated your nonimmigrant status.
You have several options in the case of a denial:
- You can ask USCIS to look at your petition again. This will entail either filing a motion to reconsider, or a motion to reopen. A motion to reconsider is a request for USCIS to review its decision on the basis of an incorrect application of the law. A motion to reopen is a request for USCIS to review its decision in light of the appearance of new facts. While both of these are viable options, you are strongly advised to not undertake either of them without the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
- You might want to appeal USCIS’s decision by taking it to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). This is not an endeavor you should undertake without the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
- You can reapply. Your E-2 visa renewal denial letter will contain the reasons why your E-2 visa USA was denied, so you will be able to change your circumstances and reapply for a renewal of your E-2 visa.
Keep in mind that if you are applying for an E-2 visa renewal from outside of the United States at a consulate abroad and your E-2 visa renewal is denied, you cannot appeal the decision. The interviewing officer will likely tell you why your petition was denied. You can then reapply for a renewal of your E-2 visa USA.
Our E-2 visa lawyer is here to help with your E-2 investor visa renewal
Do you need to renew your E-2 status? Do you want to renew your E-2 investor visa? Are you interested in finding out more about the E-2 visa requirements for foreign investors? Would you like an E-2 visa strategy devised specifically for you, and your employees? As an immigration law firm with experience with E-2 visas, Pandev Law, LLC has the ability to guide you through your E-2 visa journey.
Disclaimer: This blog article is provided by Pandev Law, LLC for general educational and informational purposes only. Although this article discusses general legal issues, it does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented in this article, or elsewhere on this website, without seeking the advice of appropriate legal counsel, or other professional counsel, licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. Pandev Law, LLC expressly disclaims any and all liability with respect to any actions taken, or not taken, based on any content of this article or website. This blog article may constitute attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.