E2 visas allow foreign entrepreneurs to move to America to direct and develop their startup company in the US market. The application process for E2 visas is based on a hodgepodge of federal statutes and consular rules. While some of the requirements are straightforward, others can be confusing.
- Supporting documents: To prove eligibility for the E2 visa, a number of supporting documents must accompany the visa application. Which documents? An official checklist of required documentation does not exist. The burden is on the visa applicant to select and submit the best supporting evidence.
- Substantial investment: E2 visa applicants are required to have made a substantial investment in their US company. But exactly how much is “substantial”? The statutes do not explicitly state a minimum investment amount. Why? Because the E2 visa requirement for substantiality is relative, not absolute. In other words, the investment must be proportionally substantial when compared to the overall startup costs of the company. For example, if the startup company’s total startup costs are $110,000, an investment of $100,000 would be proportionally substantial. But if the startup company’s overall startup costs are $1 million, an investment of $100,000 would probably not be considered proportionally substantial.
- Consular variations: There is no standard process for submitting E2 visa applications. And some US consulates do not even accept E2 visa applications. For example, in Germany all E2 visa applications must be sent to the consulate in Frankfurt (and not to the consulates in Berlin or Munich), whereas in Italy all E2 visa applications have to be sent to the consulate in Rome (rather than the ones in Florence, Milan or Naples). Moreover, the requirements in Frankfurt differ from requirements in Rome. Failure to comply with the rules of the respective consulate may result in rejection of the visa application.
For an overview of E2 visa requirements for entrepreneurs, read the following infographic.
In summary, the application process for an E2 visa requires careful consideration of numerous rules and requirements. For more detailed information, read our FAQs on E2 visas. When you’re ready to apply for your E2 visa–or if you have any questions–contact our office for a consultation.