E-2 Basics for UK Nationals
What Types of E-2 Visas are Available to UK Nationals?
While the E-2 visa is a non-immigrant investor visa it can also be thought of a s US business visa. The E-2 visa USA program allows both UK business owners and their UK National workers to obtain long-term US visas.
UK Nationals are eligible for two types of E-2 visas:
- E2 Treaty Investor Visas
- E2 Essential Worker Visas
E-2 Treaty Investor Visas: Directing and Controlling a US Business.
An E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the holder to come to the United States for the purpose of setting-up or acquiring and then “directing and controlling” a U.S. business.
It is important to note that a U.S. E-2 visa holder is only able to work in the E-2 business for which the E-2 visa was filed. Correctly structured that E2 business can diversity into multiple different businesses but the E-2 visa holder can only work in those businesses.
Can I Study or Take a Degree While on an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?
An E-2 visa holder is not able to engage in formal studies that are unrelated to the applicant’s E-2 work or work for unrelated entities. However where a degree or course of study is relevant to the a petioner’s E-2 visa work then part-time study may be possible.
E2 Essential Worker Visas: The Specialist Worker
An E-2 essential worker visa allows a U.K. national to come to the United States to work in a business owned by a UK National.
How much do I Need to Invest for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?
While there is no minimum investment required by the law your investment must be “substantial” in relation to the business, what is “substantial” will vary from business to business. While an investment of USD 100,000 may be “substantial” for a small coffee shop it is unlikely to be held to be “substantial” for a factory employing over 500 workers.
While US consular officers are guided to look for a minimum investment of USD 100,000 investment, investments of a lower amount are frequently approved.
Consular Processing Vs. Change of Status to E-2 Status
Instead of applying in a US consulate for an E2 visa it is possible to enter “E2 status” from within the United States without obtaining an E-2 Visa. More Details on Change of Status vs. Consular Processing
How Long does an E-2 Visa Application Take?
Assuming you have identified the business you wish to use for E-2 visa purposes there remain several phases to an E-2 investor visa application:
- Incorporating your business and obtaining necessary corporate documentation (1-8 weeks)
- Preparing a business plan (2-4 weeks)
- Filing your E-2 treaty investor visa case
- Attending consular interview. (Current Consular Waiting Times )
What is the most Important part of an E-2 Visa Application?
The business plan is probably the most important part of the E-2 visa application.
Much of the secret of E-2 success lies in convincing the consular officer that the applicant has a real business which is either currently operating or capable of immediately entering operation.
Can I bring my Family to the U.S. if I am on an E-2 Visa?
You are able to bring your spouse and children under the age of 21 to the United States as E-2 derivate visa holders.
Unlike the principal E-2 visa holder the holder of an E-2 derivative visa can obtain general work authorization and work for any business or engage in a course of studies. This often necessitates careful planning when deciding which member of a married couple is to be the primary E-2 visa applicant.
How Long Can I hold an E-2 Visa for?
There is no restriction on the total number of years for which a U.K. National can hold an E2 visa. Multiple entry E2 visas are issued to U.K Nationals in increments of up to a maximum of five years.
While other firms report lower approval periods to date all of our firm’s U.K. E-2 visa applicants except one have received an initial E-2 visa term of five (5) years. The one and only exception was a case filed for a very small business in a US Consulate in Australia where an E-2 visa was issued to a U.K. National for an initial term of two (2) years.
Are there any Special Conditions on UK E-2 Visa Applicants?
Yes, there is a unique provision requiring UK residency.
The terms and conditions under which the national of any country can obtain an E-2 visa are dictated by the terms of a treaty between the country in question and the United States.
The treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States contains a provision that results in a residency restriction on UK E-2 visa applicants. This residency restriction requires UK E-2 visa applicants to be resident in the mainland United Kingdom. This therefore raises a question about UK passport holders who are not resident in the United Kingdom.
While our firm has applied for E-2 visas for UK Nationals who are resident around-the-world the strict terms of the U.K./U.S. treaty do not permit the issuance of an E-2 visa for persons resident outside the United Kingdom. In our experience U.S. consulates seem to have interpreted this provision as requiring prior residency in the United Kingdom coupled with an intention to return to that home in the UK and the legal right to reside in the United Kingdom. British Citizens overseas and other persons holding UK Passports that do not have the right of residency in the United Kingdom are clearly not eligible for E-2 visas.
Basic Corporate Set-Up and Choice of Business Entity
Opening a business in any US State will require you to have a business address in that State. This business address needs to be a physical address. For E2-visa purposes we recommend businesses either own or lease appropriate businesses premises.
A variety of types of businesses are used in E2-visa cases. While the right type of corporate entity depends on the specifics of the business the use of a limited liability company (LLC) is very common. A business is also well advised to have a property written employment agreement and basic corporate documentation.
While not required for US E2 visa purposes, as a US business owner you are also going to want to consider having a registered agent for your business.
Having established a US business you will need o open a bank account and obtain a tax registration with the US Internal Revenue Service.
D&As Immigration lawyers and also assisted by our firm' corporate and tax lawyers who are able to assist clients with important business set-up and documentation issues.
Can I apply for an E-2 Visa from Within the United States?
It is NOT possible to obtain ANY visa from within the United States
Travelling to the United States to investigate business options is common. This raises the possibility of transitioning to “E2 Status” from within the United States.
It is possible to “change status” from another visa status to E-2 “status” from within the United States. For example, an applicant who enters the United States on a B-1 visa to investigate setting-up a business might later be able to “change status” to E-2 status and lawfully operate a business that has been formed.
As the visa waiver, or ESTA, program is NOT a visa it is NOT possible to change status from an ESTA to E-2 status from within the United States. This is the reason that many UK Nationals obtain a B1/B2 visa before entering the United States and do not rely on the ESTA/visa waiver program. While “changing status” to E-2 status means that you will enjoy the same benefits as persons admitted to the United States using an E-2 visa it is not the same as being granted an E-2 visa. Upon departure from the United States you will lose your E-2 “status” and will need to apply for an E-2 visa in a US consulate to re-enter the United States.
If a person in “E-2 status” were to never leave the United States and renewed their E2 status every two years they would never need an E-2 “visa”.
While occasionally UK Nationals do remain in the United States in E-2 status and never leave the country most persons in E-2 “status” do eventually travel outside the United States and apply for an E-2 visa.
List of United States Embassies, Consulates and USCIS in United Kingdom
E-1 treaty trader visa interviews are in the United Kingdom are conducted at the US Consulate in London and the US Consulate in Belfast. The US Consulates in United Kingdom are located at:
US Consulate in United Kindom, LondonAddress
33 Nine Elms Ln, SW11 7US, London
US Consulate in United Kindom, BelfastAddress
223 Stranmillis Road, BT9 5GR, Belfast, United Kingdom
Does an E2 Visa Holder have to Pay Tax in the United States?
An E-2 business and its owners generally pay tax in the United States on revues earned in the United States. The extent to which tax may or may not be payable on other income needs to be explored by one our firms tax lawyers on a case-by-case basis.
Local Expertise, International Service
Our firm has experienced E-2 visa lawyers “on the ground” in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Our London team are familiar with the unique procedures in place at the US Embassy in London.
Davies & Associates E2 Visa Lawyers in the United Kingdom
Based in the United States with a team of US E2 visa lawyers in London, Davies & Associates is recognized as a leading US law firm specializing in E-2 visa applications for UK Nationals.
Our resources across the US, including a team of specialist E2 visa corporate lawyers and E2 visa tax lawyers, are available to help to assist you with the formation or acquisition of your US business and your application for an E2 visa.
Our team in London can assist you with every step of your E2 visa process.
E2 Visa Interview Preparation Suite in Nine Elms, London
In 2022, D&A announced a plan to open an interview preparation suite opposite the US Consulate in London. Our E2 visa attorneys in London will receive clients at the suite before their interview and de-brief them in the suite after their interview.
Our interview preparation suite will potentially be located at: 3 Viaduct Gardens, London, SW11 7A, United Kingdom
Contact Davies & Associates Offices in United Kingdom
Check all of our locations around the world, here
69 Old Broad Street, Dashwood House,London EC2M 1QS, United Kingdom
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+44 207 562 8359