December 7, 2018
E-2 Visa Nationality Requirements
The E-2 Visa is a great option for foreign investors seeking to start or expand a business in the US. However, the first step in exploring whether to apply is to understand the E-2 Visa nationality requirements. In a previous blog, we discussed acquisition requirements for the E-2 Visa.
The E-2 Visa is a great option for foreign investors seeking to start or expand a business in the US. However, the first step in exploring whether to apply is to understand the E-2 Visa nationality requirements. In a previous blog, we discussed acquisition requirements for the E-2 Visa. In this article, we will explore the nationality criteria as it pertains to E-2 Visa applicants.
E-2 Visa Nationality Requirements: Who is Eligible?
One of the first tests of eligibility when considering an E-2 Visa is the investor’s country of origin. E-2 Visas are only available to citizens of countries with which the United States (U.S.) has signed a treaty of commerce and trade.
Other considerations when determining nationality eligibility include not only the type of business investors will operate but also the employees they will hire.
- Is the investor an individual?
- Is the investor a business owner?
- Does the investor have dual citizenship?
- Do the employees of the potential business come from the same treaty country as the investor?
E-2 Nationality Criteria for Individual Investors
For individuals, the investor nationality requirement for E-2 Visa eligibility is determined by the country in which the investor holds a passport. It is not enough to be a lawful, legal resident of a treaty country; applicants must possess the citizenship of that treaty country. Moreover, citizens of a treaty country who are lawful, permanent residents of the U.S. are not eligible for an E-2 Visa.
It is not necessary for the applicant to reside in his or her country of citizenship to meet the E-2 Visa nationality requirements. There is one exception to the rule—United Kingdom (U.K.) applicants must reside in the U.K. to be eligible for an E-2 Visa. However, for U.K. applicants, residence is determined by factual circumstances. An applicant can still qualify for an E-2 Visa even if he or she is not living in the U.K. if, for example, the applicant is on a temporary work assignment in another country. If you are a citizen of the U.K. and have questions, Prewitt Law can help to ascertain your eligibility.
E-2 Nationality Criteria for Business Investors
In order for a foreign corporation to meet E-2 Visa investor nationality requirements, at least 50 percent of the business owners must be nationals of the treaty country. Additionally, nationals of the treaty country must have the operational control of the corporation.
The place of incorporation of a business is irrelevant for the E-2 Visa eligibility. The one exception to this rule is when a corporation is listed in the stock exchange of a country, in which case it is then deemed a national of the country. For corporations listed in the stock market of multiple countries, the nationality is determined by factual evidence on a case-by-case basis.
E-2 Visas and Dual Nationality
Individual applicants holding dual or multiple citizenship from treaty countries must choose which nationality to use for the purpose of an E-2 Visa. In the event an individual holds dual citizenship from a treaty country and a non-treaty country, that applicant may choose to use the nationality of the treaty country to gain eligibility for an E-2 Visa. The only exception to this rule is for individuals from a treaty country who also possess U.S. citizenship. These individuals are not eligible according to E-2 Visa nationality requirements.
For businesses seeking to hire E-2 Visa employees, the owner and the employees must possess the nationality of the same E-2 Visa qualifying treaty country. They must also hold themselves as nationals of that same country regardless of whether they possess the nationality of another E-2 Visa country.
However, if the business is equally owned and controlled by nationals of two different treaty countries, E-2 Visa employees may possess the nationality of either treaty country.
Need Help Understanding E-2 Visa Nationality Requirements?
E-2 Visa nationality requirements can be confusing, and processing an application for an E-2 Visa can be challenging. Prewitt Law can bring clarity to E-2 Visa questions, help determine eligibility, and streamline the application process for owners and employees. Contact Francine Prewitt today to arrange for a consultation or call (+1) 646.583.1206. We look forward to serving you, and helping you to process a comprehensive, well-designed visa application that will start or expand your business in the U.S.