Starting or scaling a U.S. venture takes a lot of work if you’re a foreign investor or entrepreneur. Getting the right visa(s) can be a powerful step in the right direction. Here are some key things to know about the E-visa application process (for E-1 and E-2 visas).
Where Do You File?
- If you’re situated in your home country, go to your local United States Consulate. You’ll need to provide extensive documentation and do an interview. Depending on your circumstances, your E-visa can get approved within just weeks.
- If you’re in the United States already, file Form I-539 with USCIS to adjust your status. (Detailed information about that process can be found here.) Believe it or not, it can actually take significantly longer to get approved for an E-visa—6 months or longer—if you file in the U.S. However, you can expedite the process by paying $1,225 to get a response within 15 days.
Getting an E-Visa Does Not Guarantee You’ll Be Allowed in the U.S.
You must pass through customs and be granted official entry. And you can lose the privilege of staying in the United States if you violate the visa’s terms—for instance, by committing a serious crime or by abandoning or failing to finance your U.S. venture.
Here’s a quick (not complete) list of paperwork you might need:
- Photo ID;
- Money to pay for visa filing;
- Proof that you’re a citizen or national of one of these countries;
- Documents that prove that you own (or have a large ownership stake in) the business — for instance, copies of your stock or partnership agreement;
- Proof that your company is doing business/going to be doing substantial business in the United States. Depending on the venture, for instance, you may need to produce contracts, orders, proof of insurance, equipment or real estate leases, a list of customers, etc. You also need to demonstrate that you’re investing by submitting, for instance, financial paperwork or an escrow statement.
- Proof of your and/or your company’s worth. Again, depending on the nature of the venture, this paperwork could include things like your payroll, financial projections, statements certified by an accountant or your company’s tax returns.
- Documentation related to day-to-day operations. For instance, you may need to produce permitting and registrations, licenses to conduct certain types of activities, marketing and advertising materials, water and utility bills, etc.
Legal Insight into the E-Visa Application Process
Given the complexities involved in getting your immigration paperwork in order—to say nothing of the challenges of ramping up operations in the United States—you may find it extremely helpful to work with an experienced U.S. immigration law attorney. The Zanes Law team can simplify your work and allow you to concentrate on other mission-critical elements of your venture. Call us at 844-666-8181 or contact our team now to schedule a private consultation.