Why Should One Apply for e-2 Treaty Investor Visa in 2020-21?

Verdie is a Senior Attorney and a dual qualified lawyer who is qualified to practice immigration law in any state in the US.

The past year has changed the world as we know it. We have all been compelled to adapt to the ‘new normal’, which is characterized by working from home, wearing masks, observing social distancing, among others. Obviously, our travel plans, either for business or tourism purposes, have all been affected as well. In March 2020, the situations resulted in closure of U.S. embassies and consulates around the world putting those who are in the process of applying for US visas, either immigrant or nonimmigrant, in a quandary.

Aside from the closure, several Presidential Proclamations were also issued to restrict the travel of certain foreign nationals to the US. These travel restrictions further complicate the situation for entrepreneurs, investors as well as company executives, managers and specialized employees.

On top of all these, the unprecedented unemployment in the US has resulted in the ban of certain visa categories, like the H-1B working visa and the L-1 Intracompany transferee visa, with the objective of protecting vulnerable US workers.

On top of all these, the unprecedented unemployment in the US has resulted in the ban of certain visa categories, like the H-1B working visa and the L-1 Intracompany transferee visa, with the objective of protecting vulnerable US workers

Meanwhile, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa has remained relatively unscathed. This visa allows a person to move to the US for the purpose of owning and operating a business. Applicants have to option to start their own business or buy into a franchise, provided they can invest enough capital to deliver on a credible business plan.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa has not been covered by the Presidential Proclamation which temporarily bans certain visa categories. The E-2 visa brings jobs and investment to the US, so it does not perceive to have an adverse impact on the American work force.

E-2 visa applications continue to be accepted at US embassies and consulates worldwide. Aspirants have had their applications accepted, reviewed, processed, and approved, despite the temporary closure and reduced working hours for some embassies and consulates.

Based on the foregoing, enclosed below are few reasons why you should seriously consider applying for the E-2 visa in 2020-21.

1. It is not likely that it will be covered by a Presidential ban in the future because the E-2 category is governed by treaties with sovereign countries. Presidential administrations come and go, but these treaties mostly outlast them.

2. The Department of State recently relaxed the requirement that your E-2 business should have a physical office or retail space. This reflects a growing movement towards homeworking and shared office spaces.

3. The US embassies and consulates around the world continue to accept E-2 visa applications despite reduced staff and working hours. If you are already living in the US on other valid nonimmigrant status, USCIS accepts change of status applications to E-2 as well.

4. The embassies and consulates grant National Interest Exceptions waivers to E-2 Treaty Investors coming from countries covered by the situational travel ban.

The intent of the E-2 Treaty is to encourage foreign direct investment into the US to create employment for US workers. This is largely why the US government looks favorably at the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to the extent that they have relaxed the requirements.

It should be noted that, the approval of E-2 visa applications across all embassies and consulates are relatively high. And unlike many US visa categories, there are no quotas or limits on the numbers of E-2 visas available.

Per the Department of State statistics, 48,401 individuals or companies applied for an E-2 visa in 2019 and 43,286 were approved which puts that approval rate around 89 percent.

Despite all the advantages, a potential investor may still ask, why would I invest in the US during 2020? Let us enumerate the reasons.

1. The US market remains one of the biggest in the world. A lot of opportunities abound for investors and entrepreneurs.

2. While the existing situation has caused a lot of economic problems for the US, it has also opened doors for investors and entrepreneurs. There is huge potential for businesses that address the health and other issues. A prospective investor can invest in manufacturing of masks, disinfection services, wholesale and retail of products that are in demand, among others.

3. The US is poised to immediately recover with strong government support. For an entrepreneur or investor, now is the best time to position oneself in the US to take advantage of the economic opportunities and ride the recovery wave.

4. E-2 enterprises may potentially qualify for US government assistance. The recent relief package did not require US citizenship or residency for the company owners to qualify for assistance.

5. The E-2 visa option also allows the E-2 company to obtain E-2 visas for executive or supervisory employees, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications, provided that they have the same nationality as the treaty investor.

India does not have an E-2 Treaty with the US, but this is not a barrier. Indians have obtained E-2 Visas by first obtaining citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. Grenada in the West Indies, for example, is an E-2 treaty country that offers a fast and cost-effective route to citizenship. It is possible to complete the entire process and move to the US within just nine months.