I promised in a previous post from yesterday I am gonna write a new one about my E-2 visa + NIE (National Interest Exception)
Honestly, I personally think that E-2 Visas are one of the best work visas for those who want to start/buy a business in the U.S, and later if the visas are approved move to the US and work and manage the business there. Especially for people without millions of dollars. They are issued for 5 years and they can be extended as long as your business can financially support the applicant and his/her family. I would like to emphasize that the main E-2 visa applicant can only work and be employed in his/her business. The big advantage is the fact that the spouse of the main applicant is eligible for a work visa but can work anywhere.
There are many requirements for being able to get E-2 Visa. Below some most important from my view:
- You must be a citizen of the treaty country. I mean your country and the USA has some agreement about this kind of visa. Most of the countries are treaty countries but google it if you can apply for E-2 visa from your country.
- You must own at least 51% of some business entity such as a corporation or LLC. In my case, I own 100% of stocks.
- You have to prove that you invested or you are currently in the process of investing a significant amount of money into your business. This is could be very tricky and if you will look for how much you should invest you usually get an answer of at least $50,000 or $100,000 or even more according to the type of your business. Especially lawyers and companies helping E-2 visa applicants recommend this minimum amount of investment.
- You have to also prove how did you earn the money for the investment.
- You will have to prepare the whole E-2 visa application including a detailed business plan. My application with all attachments had almost 150 pages. It took me let’s say a month to prepare and write everything. I did it completely by myself and of course whole in English.
- If you think your application is ready for review you send it to the US embassy in your country, you pay a non-refundable fee for an e-2 visa. I think it was around $200.
- Officers from the embassy can ask you for additional information. I personally did not receive additional questions.
- You can finally apply for an appointment in person.
- I talked in English with the very kind officer. He only asked me a few questions such a what is my business about and told me he believes that my business has big potential in the US. (my business is mail forwarding)
- In two business days my visa was prepared and I could pick up my passport with visa at US Embassy in Prague.
Well, I did not include some important facts from my recent experience. I applied at the end of February. I waited one week for an email when I have been told that due to COVID-19 all applications are currently stoped and they most likely reopen processing in July 2021. I was shocked because I already had monthly commitments such as an office lease and so on. However, in a few days, I got another email. They allowed me to apply for the emergency process of my application and the first possible available date was on 9th March. I felt pretty confident because I thought something like ohh! They checked it again so I will definitely get my visa! Approximately one week before the appointment I got the last email that the government recently changed the condition for many travelers from the EU including E-2 visa applicants and holders and all applicants must be eligible for NIE (national interest exception). They sent me 5 questions that I should have prepared for the appointment in person. I was shocked again and totally hysteric because there was very little information on the internet about that. From what I read I had little chance to get NIE because my business from my view did not support the critical infrastructure of the US. However, I hoped and prepared something like: My business helps other businesses and I am the only employee at the moment and have to be physically in our office in Los Angeles. Universe probably wanted me in LA so I got both E-2 Visa and NIE! Remember that you have only 30 days to enter the US if you have NIE.
Hope you guys that the COVID-19 will not be here soon and you won’t need to apply for NIE as I had to. If you still have to though read this article.
You can find endless sources about E-2 visas on Google, YouTube. What I suggest before deciding on an E-2 visa. Study about the visa as much as you can. It is a serious decision and it will cost you energy, effort, time and money. Always follow officials’ requirements issued by the US government or embassy. I am Czech so I followed instructions placed on the official US embassy website in the Czech.
Finally, I have to say it wasn’t easy but it wasn’t that difficult, especially the appointment at the embassy. Let’s say I started work on my business in fall 2020 and in spring 2021 I had an E-2 visa! 3 weeks later I was in LA!