The E-2 visa for foreign investors is designed to promote investment in U.S. companies for people not looking to immigrate permanently. If your employer is in the U.S. on an E-2 “treaty investors” visa, you may also be eligible to travel on an E-2 visa for work in a new business enterprise or U.S. investment.
Your employer must already be a foreign investor with E-2 status living on a treaty investors visa in order for you, the employee, to also qualify for the E-2 visa. If you are looking to work in the U.S. but do not qualify for the E-2 visa, you may be eligible for other visas. Further, the E-2 visa is a non-immigrant, temporary visa. If you are looking to become a permanent resident of the U.S., look into information on the green card process.
To qualify for the E-2 visa, you need to be the same nationality as the employer who holds E-2 status. Your position in the enterprise should either hold some seniority or your skills should be considered irreplaceable to the firm. Things to keep in mind about this requirement can be whether or not you will be performing a unique or individual skill in the job, whether or not these skills are found elsewhere in the U.S., and whether or not your skills will garner a compensating wage.
If you think you are eligible for the E-2 visa, you can file for status as the employee of an investor. If you are not currently in the U.S., you should contact the state department for your visa and petition for E-2 status when you enter the country.
The E-2 visa lasts for an initial period of 2 years. If your skills are still necessary and your investor employer extends his or her stay in the country to grow the investment, your E-2 employee visa can also be extended. However, you should remember that skills considered necessary at one time may not be considered so at a later time. This means that there is no guarantee that you will be able to extend your E-2 visa performing the same job duties that got you that visa originally. The E-2 visa does allow for travel abroad and you are generally granted your 2 year stay upon returning to the country.
For more information and help about getting a visa, contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.