The E2 Visa Process: How to Get from “Country A” to the USA
If you’re like many investors, the investment portion of the E2 visa is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many questions about how the E2 visa process works. When do I spend the money? Where is the interview? What documentation are the officers looking for? How long does it take? Never fear – this article answers all of your questions and lays out the process in a simple-to-understand manner.
To be sure, the E2 visa process can be complicated; but if you’re working with an experienced lawyer, everything should go rather smoothly. At the Rupert Law Group, we focus on you – our client. We know that this is a stressful time, and we work hard to make sure you have a hand to hold and someone to answer all your questions at every step of the way. To that end, let’s get stepping!
- Decide what type of business you wish to start or buy. This is crucial, and it’s the one part of the process during which we can’t help. Only you can make this decision. The good news is that the sky is the limit when it comes to the business. You can start a new business or you can buy an existing business. Your only true limits are that the business needs to be for-profit and it needs to be legal on a federal level. (Sorry – no “pot” businesses at this point.) Look for a business in which you’re interested and in which you feel you can be successful.
- Contact us! This is the point where you need to speak with an attorney. Once you have decided what business you want to start or buy, you shouldn’t do one more thing except call us. We will go over the details of the business and figure out what steps in the purchase or launch of the business need to happen in order to satisfy the requirements of the E2 visa. Once we start working together, we will send you a checklist of all of the items you’ll need to show, and we’ll set up an online portal for you to upload your documents. No paper necessary! We can also advise you if you need additional legal help (a business broker, a business attorney, a CPA, etc.).
- Start investing. You will need to show that the investment is irrevocably committed and at risk by the time you officially apply for the E2 visa. This means that you’ll need to start buying inventory, paying rent on an office or warehouse, start paying employees, or any other number of things. The types of expenses you have will obviously be unique to you and your business. However, you will need to spend the money before we submit documents.
- Complete the “checklist” documents. As mentioned, when you and Rupert Law Group begin working together in the E2 visa process, we send you a checklist of documents we need in order to submit the E2 visa evidence to the consulate or embassy. This checklist is very specific and has all of the information we need in order to move ahead. Some of the basic documents include receipts (to show your investment), a copy of your passport, a copy of a lease agreement, and so on. This checklist will vary slightly depending upon the country of which you are a citizen and upon whether you are buying an existing business or starting a new business.
- Let Rupert Law Group handle the documents. Once you submit all of the needed documents, we will work to assemble the evidence. In addition, we will assist with the government forms for you and your family. (Every member of your family who plan to come to the US will need to fill out certain forms.)
- Get an appointment at the consulate or embassy. Once we have submitted the documents, we will make an interview appointment for you at the consulate or embassy in your “home” country. This usually takes 2-6 weeks to get an appointment. You and all members of your family over the age of 14 who wish to travel to the US with you will need to attend the interview.
- Prep for the interview. This is one of the most important parts of the entire process. Although the interviews are generally pretty short (2-10 minutes), you will need to prepare. We will help you understand the types of questions that may or are likely to be asked, and we will set up a mock interview for you. You will get practice answering the “tough” questions about your case so you can feel confident walking up to the interview window.
- Approval! In most cases, your case will be approved at the window. Once you are verbally approved by the interviewing officer, you will turn over your passport and your family’s passports in order for a visa to be printed. The visa will be ready in about 3-5 business days and mailed to you at the address you indicate within the “home” country.
- Come to the US! Every approved member of your family will be ready to come to the US immediately upon receiving the passports with the visas. Once you and your family get to the US:
- You, the investor, may begin working in your business.
- Your children may begin attending school.
- Your spouse will file an I-765, which asks for permission for him or her to work. This approval will take 3-4 months. After your spouse gets the approval, he or she may begin to work at any place of business in the US.
Questions about the E2 visa process? Give us a call at (323) 434-4385. We focus on the E2 visa, and we’re ready to help you along your journey.