Did you know the United Kingdom holds the oldest E-2 Treaty with the United States of any country in the world. It dates back more than 200 years and highlights how the E-2 Visa transcends the ever-changing political winds in Washington.
Yet, unlike other countries, Britain’s E-2 Treaty contains a quirk – applicants must be an “inhabitant” of the British Isles. This is taken to mean that you should be permanent residents of the UK and domicile there in order to obtain E-2 Treaty Investor Visa status. The same is also true for its sister visa, the E-1 Treaty Trader.
What this means is that a UK E-2 applicant who currently resides outside the United Kingdom, no longer retains a residence there, or spends long portions outside the country may find that their applications are rejected.
That contrasts with other E-2 countries. Take, for example, Grenada, an island nation in the Caribbean with an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Our firm has helped clients obtain citizenship by investment of Grenada and then proceed to obtain a US E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This route is mostly popular with people who do not come from countries with an E-2 Treaty with the US – India, Russia, China and Vietnam are examples of this.
To obtain and maintain Grenadian citizenship you never need to visit or be physically present in the country. We do recommend that anyone seeking an E-2 Visa from Grenada visit the island and establish a connection to the island, but you do not need to offer proof of residency in the same way as the UK.
That said, the E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and you must prove an intention to depart the US eventually – regardless of where you apply from. Of course, the E-2 visa can be renewed forever provided the underlying business continues to operate successfully. You can also transition to a Green Card under the Direct EB-5 visa route or the EB-1c Visa route. But the intention to depart must be clear when you are applying for a visa.
In this regard, the E-2 Visa contrasts with the L-1 Visa, which has so-called “Dual Intent”. For, while the L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, you do not need to prove that you intend to depart and can actively seek a Green Card (the EB-1c is the usual route for most L-1a Visa holders).
Acceptable Evidence of UK Residency
- If the applicant is employed in the UK, photocopy of the most recent payslip to show that Tax and Natonal Insurance is being paid in the UK
- At least 3 months of statement/record of payment of local utilities such as gas, water, electric, local council taxes
- At least 3 months of lease or mortgage payment
- Bank statements for a current account reflecting local direct debit charges or transactions in the last three months
- Signing onto the Electoral Register – not essential but we recommend this.
Non acceptable proof of UK residency:
- A copy of a U.K. Driver’s license or any information regarding the ownership of a car
- TV license
- Cell phone bill
- Rewards/sports club cards for supermarkets/departments, etc
- NHS, Doctor or Dentist information
- Letters from friends or relatives
As ever, the best course of action is just to speak with our team. Our network of talented immigration lawyers across the United States, supported by our team in London, can offer guidance on the credibility of your UK E-2 application and discuss alternative solutions if needed.
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