Can My Kids Come with Me on the E2 Visa?
If you’re considering the E2 visa, you may be concerned about your family and close relatives. The good news is that your spouse and your children can come with you!
As you likely know, the E2 visa is renewable indefinitely as long as you and the business still meet the requirements. Your spouse will continue to renew his/her visa indefinitely as well. Your kids will renew their E2 visas, but only to a point.
Which Children Are Eligible for E2 Derivative Visas?
Children are generally eligible for the E2 visa as long as the following evidence is supplied with the E2 visa petition:
- Legal parentage: This is usually shown by a birth certificate or adoption papers. In the case of stepchildren, you must supply the marriage certificate between you and your spouse and the birth certificate showing the spouse is their legal parent. (In this case, you will likely need some documentation from the other legal parent giving permission to take the children to the United States.)
- Under age 21: You must show that the children are under 21 years of age. On the child’s 21st birthday, they is no longer eligible for an E2 derivative visa.
- Unmarried: Even if the children are under 21, if they are married, they are not eligible for the derivative visa.
What Can Children Do on the E2 Visa?
So, assuming that the above criteria are met, what will your children do once they get to the United States? Go to school, of course! Children of E2 visa holders are allowed to go to school while they have the E2 visa. They can attend either public school or private school. They can also attend college/university. They cannot, however, work with an E2 derivative visa.
What Happens to the Child’s Status at Age 21?
Once the kids celebrate their 21st birthday, they must either return to their home country or switch to a different type of visa and/or status. Most children of E2 investors or employees switch to an F1 visa, which is the student visa.
If your child has an F-1 visa and graduates from college, they will either need to return to the home country or get a different type of visa/status. Some students decide to go on for further education. In that case, they can apply for the F1. If the children have no interest in returning to school, they may decide that they would like to start their own business and try for an E2, or maybe they will get a job offer and go to work on O1 or H1B visas, or maybe they are somehow eligible for a green card through a familial relationship.
How Long Will My Child’s Visa Be Valid?
The time of validity and the travel availability will be the same for you as well as for your child (assuming that the child doesn’t “age out” during the visa validity period). Of course, each country has a different agreement with the United States, which means the amount of travel and the length of visa varies from country to country. (To check your visa reciprocity, see the Department of State site.)
One thing to keep in mind – the length of stay in the United States is typically two years for each entry. If you and your child travel separately, the date they need to leave the country may be different than the date you need to leave the country. This is crucial. Please do not ignore this, and please make sure that you check the important dates on the government site. If there are any issues with the dates or the type of visa, please let your attorney know immediately.
What if My Child Doesn’t Have the Same Passport as I Do?
This isn’t a problem. Your children can still come with you even if they are citizens of a non-treaty country.