By Sukanya Raman, Associate, D&A Mumbai Office
On July 17th 2020, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) was updated by the United States Department of State (DOS). The updates state that an applicant need not have a physical office space to qualify for E Visa.
E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Visa applicants shall benefit the most. E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas. Under an E-1 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. wholly to engage in international trade. Under the E-2 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
The E visa the classification has a lengthy list of requirements, a few of the general ones are as follows:
Nationality of E visa qualifying country
50% ownership and/or control & possession
Trade is predominantly between the United States and the treaty country
Enterprise must be real and operating a commercial enterprise
Substantial capital investment
Must be in the position to “develop and direct” the enterprise
Physical office space(no longer mandatory)
Above mentioned are a few mandatory requirements for the E visa application. However, having a physical office space is now optional to qualify for an E visa application.
E visa can now be available for businesses with virtual offices in the U.S. This gives the flexibility to the applicants to save a huge amount of money from the substantial capital investment in leasing office space and other associated costs to it. We see a lot of clients substantial capital investment amount was invested in leasing the office premises, which they can now utilize in the business for explanation or for development, provided the other requirement of the E visas are met.
The new FAM reads as “An applicant does not necessarily need a physical office space to qualify for an E visa. Although having physical office space may be relevant in determining whether the requirements for an E visa have been met, it is not a requirement to qualify for the visa.”
The E-2 Visa is available to citizens of Treaty Countries. Click here to see if your country is on the list. If your country is not on the list, it is possible to become eligible by first obtaining citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. Click here to learn more about this process.
This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.