The E-2 or Investment visa is available for investors in a new or existing U.S. business. The investor must play an active role in the development and direction of the business. As with the E-1 visa, the E-2 investor must show that a "substantial" investment or funds are available and committed to the investment. Again, the "substantial" requirement is determined on a case by case basis. Investment in a manufacturing plant would require a higher dollar investment than investment in a consulting business, which may simply require a computer, facsimile and a telephone.
The E visa application may either be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service for those already in the United States or with a U.S. consulate for those foreign nationals outside the United States. If filed with the USCIS, the application waiting period is generally several months. The USCIS offers an option for premium processing. For an additional $1,000 fee, the USCIS willprocess the application in 15 days. If filed with a U.S. consulate, it usually takes a few days for the visa to be issued after the interview. Wait times for interviews vary by consulate.
The E visa also has several advantages over other nonimmigrant visas for the families of E visa holders. First, the spouse and children (unmarried and under 21) of E-1 or E-2 visa holders are entitled to the same E-1 or E-2 classification as the principal. They
also may apply for work authorization once they arrive in the United States and may renew their E visa status indefinitely as long as the primary E visa holder maintains E status. Finally, these dependents may also apply for permanent residency with the primary E visa holder.