The validity period of the E2 visa
The E2 visa validity can range from three months to five years depending on your nationality. The validity period is also called the reciprocity period, which is the time frame the E2 visa is issued for. For instance, if your visa validity period is three months you can enter the United States within that three months from the date of issuance.
There is another term that you might confuse with the validity period, which is the period of stay. The period of stay is the duration of your stay in the US, which will be assigned upon your arrival in the US. For the E2 visa, the period of stay is two years. After the visa expires, it can be renewed for up to two years, for which you need to exit and re-enter the United States.
The right time for E2 visa renewal
The key to a successful renewal of an E2 visa is to plan in advance. The validity of your E2 visa depends upon your country of origin. The commonly issued period is five years with an extension of two years, as long as you satisfy the E2 visa requirements. On rare occasions, the adjudicator might shorten the period, if they have any concerns about the future of your business.
The best time to plan your renewal is immediately after getting the visa. You must plan your renewal after beginning the business. The majority of investors concentrate on business success and ignore visa requirements. It is recommended to hire an experienced immigration attorney to save money, time, and problems. You can learn more about the E2 visa requirements in our E2 Visa Requirements: A Detailed Guide.
Important preliminary considerations
For a smooth E2 visa renewal process, you need to adhere to all the visa requirements. Here are some important things to consider,
Hire immigration law attorneys or business consultants
Success rates are higher when working with attorneys or business consultants who are experts in US immigration law and plan everything ahead of time. An attorney will be able to frame a timeline with deadlines and check your financial status periodically to make necessary adjustments. Also, in case you start late for the renewal process or find it difficult to meet the requirements, an expert attorney can help you with new business options, or a new E2 visa.
Hire a bookkeeper or CPA
As soon as you begin your business, it is recommended that you work with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), or a bookkeeper to maintain all the financial documents. The financial documents include profit and loss statements, payroll tax documents, business tax returns, and balance sheets.
You need to show that your business is not marginal. A marginal enterprise does not have the present or future capacity to generate funds that is more than enough income to provide a minimal living for an individual and their family. Your company must generate sufficient income, and create job opportunities. The sooner you start hiring, the easier it will be to show that your business is not marginal.
Possible E2 visa renewal issues
The main focus at the time of your E2 visa renewal is how well your business is performing. The key issue to keep in mind is the marginality of the business. During the initial visa application, the US government accepts the business projections. But, for visa renewal, you must show concrete proof that your business is growing, hiring employees, and generating revenue in the last few years.
You might face hurdles while applying for the visa renewal if your company is operating with minimal revenue and is not capable to employ workers. One efficient way to overcome the hurdle is to invest more capital in the business and provide proof in the form of bank documentation. You must also show that your investment funds came from a legally appropriate source.
Visa renewal process through US Consulate/ USEmbassy
Most applicants opt for the US Consulate/ US Embassy abroad for E2 visa renewal, as it is easy, convenient, and less costly. For visa renewal through the US Consulate, you need to follow the below steps,
- Submit the DS-160 form to your department of state.
- Pay the required fee for filing the DS-160 form.
- Fill out the DS-156E form with the supporting documents. You can download the form DS-156E here.
- Show proof that you meet all the requirements of the E2 visa. You need to check with the consulate you are applying through, as each consulate will have some specific instructions for the E2 visa renewal.
- After submitting all the forms and documents, you will be called for an interview at the US Consulate.
Visa extension process through USCIS
If you are planning to file your extension for your E2 visa through USCIS, you have to file the following,
- Form I -129 – a petition for nonimmigrant workers.
- Form I-539 – a form for your family members (principal E2 visa applicants) to extend or change nonimmigrant status.
- I-94 – your arrival, and departure record.
- If you have extended your E2 visa in the past, then your original I-797.
- Copy of your passport along with your E2 visa.
- Letter of explanation on why you need an extension.
- Copy of your personal and business tax returns for the past two years.
- Show proof that you have maintained your nonimmigrant status.
- You must show proof that you are physically present in the US.
Things to consider when you apply through USCIS
If you are filing your extension through USCIS you must keep a few things in mind
- You should understand that you abandon your status when you leave the US after the E2 visa expiry.
- If you want to re-enter the US on an E2 visa, you have to go through a process at the US Consulate or US Embassy to endorse the E2 visa formally in your passport.
- If you have gotten your E2 visa through the US Consulate in the past, and this is your first time applying through USCIS, then you are expected to submit all the documents that you submitted with your initial application.
- If you are filing the extension with the same company before your status expires, you are automatically eligible for 240 days of your work authorization until the USCIS adjugate your case.
- You can opt for premium service if you need your response early. You need to pay an additional $2,500 to get a response (approve, request for evidence, or denial) within 15 calendar days.
Key points to consider when you can not travel abroad due to travel bans
If your E2 visa is about to reach its expiration date, and you are unable to travel abroad to get it renewed due to travel bans, you can consider the below-mentioned options,
- Check your I-94 (arrival and departure record) expiration date. Even if your E2 visa has expired already, you can still stay and work in the US until your I-94 expires.
- You can apply for an extension at a third country consulate, i.e., a different US Consulate other than your home country. Talk to an immigration lawyer or call the US Consulate you are applying from, to ensure that they will accept your application.
- You can apply for a visa extension in the USCIS as explained in the previous section.
The E2 visa is offered to foreign investors from a treaty country, by making a substantial investment into the US. The investment funds must come from a legal source. The E2 visa is valid from three months to five years based on your origin country.
The E2 can be renewed indefinitely post its expiry, there is no limit. To make the renewal process a success, you need to plan early. You should meet all the E2 visa requirements, which can be done with the help of an attorney who is an expert in US immigration law. The process of the E2 visa renewal will be easy and fast with a little bit of planning and strategizing.
An attractive reason to renew your E2 visa is that the US passport is considered one of the most powerful passports in the world. If you are interested to know more about the US passport power, check out our guide on US passport ranking in 2024.
To find out more about immigration opportunities, investment visas, and work visas in the United States, the following articles may be useful:
- What is the best US Investor Visa to apply for?
- EB-1 Green Card US – The Ultimate Guide by Experts
- How to Get a USA Investor Visa
- E-2 Visa USA 2023 – The Ultimate Guide by Experts | GCS
- EB-5 Visa US 2024 – The Ultimate Guide by Experts
- The E2 Visa to Green Card – Step by Step Guide
- E2 Visa Renewal and Extension- A Detailed Guide
- E2 Visa Requirements – A Detailed Guide
- Investment Green Card: The Difference Between an EB5 Visa & E2 Visa
- EB5 Green Card Process Steps – Ultimate Guide | GCS
- Investment Green Card: The Difference Between an EB5 Visa & E2 Visa
- An Expert Guide To The EB5 Visa Requirements
- All You Need To Know About the EB5 Visa Costs
- O-1 Visa US
- EB-2 NIW – National Interest Waiver US
- Why You Should Consider Hiring an EB-2 NIW Lawyer
Frequently asked questions
How many times can I extend or renew my E2 visa?
E2 visa can be extended through USCIS and renewed through the US Consulate/ US Embassy, any number of times as long as you meet the requirements.
Do I have to leave the US to renew the E2 visa?
Yes, you have to leave the US to renew the E2 visa. You can apply for the renewal through the US Consulate/ US Embassy abroad. If you are not able to leave the US due to travel bans or some other reasons, you can apply for an extension through the USCIS.
How does an E2 visa work?
The E2 visa allows foreign nationals from treaty countries to enter the US with some substantial investment into a profitable business. They can apply for the E2 visa through the US consulate abroad or by filing form I-129 at the USCIS.
What is the validity period of the E2 visa?
The validity period of the E2 visa depends on your country of origin. It can be from three months to five years.
How long does it take to renew the E2 visa?
It takes two to four weeks to get the renewed E2 visa, depending upon the caseload in the US Consulate.