E2 Visa: You Now No Longer Need a Physical Office Space

By Sukanya Raman, Associate, D&A Mumbai Office

On July 17th 2020, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) was updated by the United States Department of State (DOS). The updates state that an applicant need not have a physical office space to qualify for E Visa.

E-1  Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visa applicants shall benefit the most. E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas. Under an E-1 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. wholly to engage in international trade. Under the E-2 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

The E visa the classification has a lengthy list of requirements, a few of the  general ones are as follows:

Treaty Agreement

Nationality of E visa qualifying country

50% ownership and/or control & possession

Trade is predominantly between the United States and the treaty country

Enterprise must be real and operating a commercial enterprise

Substantial capital investment

Must be in the position to “develop and direct” the enterprise

Physical office space (no longer mandatory)

Above mentioned are a few mandatory requirements for the E visa application. However, having a physical office space is now optional to qualify for an E visa application.

E visa can now be available for businesses with virtual offices in the U.S. This gives the flexibility to  the applicants to save a huge amount of money from the substantial capital investment in leasing office space and other associated costs to it. We see a lot of clients substantial capital investment amount was invested in leasing the office premises, which they can now utilize in the business for explanation or for development, provided the other requirement of the E visas are met.

The new FAM  reads as “An applicant does not necessarily need a physical office space to qualify for an E visa.  Although having physical office space may be relevant in determining whether the requirements for an E visa have been met, it is not a requirement to qualify for the visa.”

The E-2 Visa is available to citizens of Treaty Countries. Click here to see if your country is on the list. If your country is not on the list, it is possible to become eligible by first obtaining citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. Click here to learn more about this process.

sraman@usimmigrationadvisor.com

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.


E2 Visa Validity and Authorized Stay in the United States: Know the Difference

Cost of EB 5 Visa

Mark I. Davies is the Global Managing Partner and founder of our firm. Mark also Chairs our Global Business and Investor visa team and focuses his practice on EB5, L1, E2 and other business and investor visa solutions.

 

There is significant confusion as to the difference between E2 visa validity and the period of authorized stay in the United States.

What an E2 Visa Does?
A valid, unexpired, E2 visa gives you the ability to come to the US border and seek entry to the United States in E2 status.  Although an E2 visa does NOT grant the right to be inside the United States in E2 status or any other status it ordinarily results in a visa holder being lawfully admitted to the United States in E2 status.Beyond the tweet, there is very little detail on what would be covered in the executive order. Immigration is a broad concept in the United States, ranging from asylum and the rights of undocumented workers to green cards for investors under the EB-5 Visa program. Would, for example, spouses of Americans (K-1 visas) be included in a ban?

What is E2 Status
E2 status is legal status granted to individuals located in the United States who have been admitted to the United States under the terms and conditions of the E2 program or had their status changed to E2 status from another visa category.

How do I obtain E2 Status?
There are two ways to obtain E2 status:

  1. Using an E2 Visa to Seek Entry to the United States at an International Border
    When you use your E2 visa to come to a US border and seek entry to the United States the CBP officer at the border will approve or refuse your admittance into the United States in E2 visa status. Usually the officer at the border will admit the holder of a valid E2 visa holder into the United States for a period of two years of authorized stay, regardless of when the E2 visa expires.Please note that while a period of two years is usually granted on occasion CBP officers have granted a period of authorized stay of less than two years.  In addition, CBP officers often make mistakes when documenting the period of authorized stay in the US Government’s computer systems.
    Retrieve your Form I-94 here
  2. Change of Status
    If you are already in the United States in another visa status it is possible to “change status” to E2 status from within the United States.   In this way it is possible to be in lawful E2 status in the United States without ever having obtained an E2 visa.


My Authorized Stay is About to Expire but my E2 visa is still Valid?

The fact that you have a valid E2 visa is irrelevant to your period of authorized stay in the United States.  To extend your period of stay in lawful E2 status you can either:

  1. Apply for an extension of status form USCIS; or
  2. Leave the country and re-enter the US using your valid E2 visa. You will likely be given another two (2) year period of stay when you re-enter the US.

I am Inside the US and my E2 Visa has Expired
The fact that your E2 visa has expired is completely irrelevant to your period of authorized stay in the United States.  You can continue to live and work in the US until your period of authorized stay has expired.

When you next leave the United States you will need to go to a US consulate to obtain a new E2 visa renewed.  You will need a new E2 visa to re-enter the United States.

How do I know How Long my Period of Authorized E2 Stay is or if a Mistake has Been Made?
Every time you enter the US you must, within 24 hours, download a copy of your I-94 after entering the US.

Make sure the details are correct and that you have been granted a period of stay of two years.  If there is a mistake you can return to CBP at the port where you entered the US to have changes made.