By Sanwar Ali
The E2 visa program has many benefits for migrants. E2 Treaty Investor visa allows entry to the US for businessmen, their families, employees, with a far lower investment requirement, than say the EB5 immigrant investor visa that requires an investment of at least $500,000 and the creation of at least ten jobs. The E2 visa scheme is based on trade agreements with the US, with the first Country in the World to come under the E2 visa and E1 visa scheme being the UK in 1815.
The E2 visa can continue to be extended indefinitely. As long as the business continues in the US you can continue to extend your non-immigrant visa status. However, many E2 visa holders would like to obtain an immigrant visa (“Green Card”) which in many cases is not easy.
Children of E2 visa holders:
Once children reach the age of 21 years of age they can no longer remain under the E2 visa scheme. This is a serious problem for many E2 visa migrants. The options to stay in the US for children after reaching twenty-one years of age is somewhat limited. Interestingly, undocumented migrants may actually be in a better situation in many cases than legal visa migrants such as the children of E2 visa migrants in this situation. Under DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals there may be a route to a “Green Card” for undocumented migrants. This seems to be somewhat unfair. Companies and individuals wishing to obtain a work visa may wish to see if it is possible to come under the L1 visa as a manager or executive. There may be an easier route to a Green Card for L1A visa holders under the EB1C visa category.
E-2 Visa Improvement Act proposed
John Rutherford, a Florida Republican, and Ann Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat in April 2019 introduced the E-2 Visa Improvement Act. Unfortunately, the likelihood of any significant changes in E2 visa legislation is low. This was true under Obama. It is even more true under Trump.
The H.R. 2124 bill did not make very much news. US visa related news is dominated by the Border crisis, H1B visas, illegal immigrants, muslim bans, etc. For many E2 visa families this bill, if it goes through, will be incredibly important to them.
The HR 2124 bill would allow a route to a green card after ten years in the US on an E2 visa. In addition children of the E2 visa main applicant would be able to stay until the age of 26 years of age (they may already have gained a green card by then), and children would be able to obtain work authorisation from the age of eighteen years of age.
100,000 E2 visa businesses in the US employing two million people directly or indirectly
Bob Franklin the owner of Budget Transmission Masters and co-founder of E2visareform.org has commented recently about the enormous economic benefit that E2 visa owners bring to the US. The E2 Treaty Investor visa category is based on international trade agreements with various Countries. Mr Franklin has also asked people to support the E-2 visa improvement act H.R. 2124 bill.
US Visa Options limited
The US has a tough restrictive immigration system. There are not many visa options. In many cases the E2 Treaty Investor visa is the only viable option. The L1 visa is not likely to be suitable, unless you have a company in your home Country that will continue operating for at least a period of time while you are in the US. Obtaining an L1 visa has also become more and more difficult. The EB5 immigrant visa is just too expensive for many people. You have to invest at least $500,000 and create employment for at least ten people, and if you apply at an Immigrant Investor Regional Center you will also have to pay enormous agency fees. Other options might be the H1B visa in some circumstances or the B1 in lieu of H1B visa. Obtaining an H1B visa is not easy. There is a quota that is usually heavily oversubscribed.
Indian and Chinese nationals cannot apply for E2 or E1 visa
Nationals of India and China cannot apply under the E2 Treaty Investor visa scheme or the E1 Treaty Trader visa scheme, unless they are the spouse or dependents of E2 or E1 visa holders. Israeli nationals can now apply both under the E2 visa (since 1 May 2019) and E1 visa scheme, and New Zealand nationals will some time in future be able to apply under the E2 visa scheme. The population of these two Countries is quite small. This compares to India and China that are the most populous Countries on earth with populations of over a billion people each. Therefore, politically, adding India and China to the E2 visa and E1 visa scheme will be difficult. It should be noted that nationals of Taiwan can apply both under the E2 visa and E1 visa scheme.
Further US Visa information, help, and advice
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