E-2 Employee Visa Requirements

By Tiara

The second most common visa for work in the United States is the nonimmigrant (or temporary) worker visa, or E-2 visa. These visas are issued to individuals who will be employed by an employer that has been approved under this category.

The term “nonimmigrant” refers to those people who come into our country for a specific purpose (to study, visit, or work). Once their stay here expires, they must return home unless they have obtained another type of visa.

There are two main types of E-2s: employment certification and treaty nationals. This article will focus only on the first one. Employer certification requires proof that there are positions available for you at your destination and that your potential employer can provide workers’ compensation insurance, as well as payment of employee taxes like Social Security and Medicare.

Treaty nations refer to countries with which the US has an established working relationship. For example, Canada and many other Western European countries grant citizens special immigration privileges if they want to live and work there. Australia and New Zealand have what are called Work Visas where professionals from certain countries may enter and apply for citizenship within three years.

This article will talk more about the differences between these two types of E-2s and how to prepare for them! So, read on and see what it takes to prove your qualifications as an employment immigrant in the USA.

Who can get an E-2 visa?

An individual may apply for employment authorization under the E-2 nonimmigrant status if they are hired to work in a professional position that requires at least two years of full time work as a doctor, dentist, or physician assistant, nurse, pharmacist, surgeon, or veterinary medical officer, or other similarly demanding positions requiring advanced education.

This includes positions with educational institutions and hospitals, but not public health agencies such as state departments of health. The employer must be able to prove to USCIS that there were no qualified applicants available for the position.

The employee has to live and work outside the visa year, which is usually one fiscal year (January through December). They cannot overstay their stay once granted. There is also a maximum length of time employers can hire someone under this status – six months. This comes with conditions like having adequate documentation and proof of sufficient funds to support yourself while here.

If your job falls short of the requirements mentioned above, you can still apply for H-1B visas instead.

What does an E-2 visa allow you to do?

An employee nonimmigrant (or E-2) visa allows your business to hire qualified professionals in a specific profession or area of expertise. You must have a job offer for this professional, they need to be paid enough via employment documents such as a W-4 or I-9, and you must be able to prove that their health insurance is already covered by another employer or individual.

The employee can work at your company during the time frame of the visa but not longer than six months. Beyond that, they must either leave the country or apply for other types of visas that permit them to remain in the US longer. If they stay longer, they cannot work outside of your company unless there are no eligible employees available here so it’s best to make sure there are!

If the employee leaves within the first year, then they don’t need to file any kind of return visa paperwork because they are “voluntarily departed” from the United States. Just make sure to notify Social Security and every state where they lived during those first twelve months.

Do I need a job offer to get an E-2 visa?

e-2 employee visa requirements

Even if you do not have a job, you can still apply for this visa! You must show that you will earn at least US$1,250 per month while in the United States, however, it is easier to secure employment once here.

There are two types of employment visas that allow someone to work in the U.S.: the B-2 visitor visa and the F-1 student visa. The Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is what you use to prove your employment status, requires only that you have a job offer in order to be issued. This means that even if you are seeking employment as a housekeeper or grocery store clerk, you are eligible!

This may also be referred to as being “non-job” position qualified.

What are the requirements for an E-2 visa?

An employer can petition to bring an individual onto U.S. soil as an employee if they fall under one of these three categories: Treaty Trader, non-Treaty Traders or professionals.

The employer must prove that there are no eligible workers in America and that employing this person will only increase employment opportunities.

Furthermore, the immigrant worker must be paid at least $60,000 per year and cannot do any of the following: work where alcohol is sold, own real estate, or perform medical procedures.

These individuals cannot participate in activities that promote extremism or contribute towards violence. They also have to agree to live in the United States and apply for citizenship within six months.

How long do I need to get an E-2 visa?

The length of time it takes to process your application for employment authorization depends mostly on two things: how quickly your employer submits their paperwork, and whether you are able to prove adequate financial resources while in America.

If it’s determined that you don’t have enough money saved up to finance your return home, then we will work with you to find ways to lower your expenses so you can save more rapidly. You also may be allowed to live with family members who are willing to help sponsor you.

In either case, remember that it is always possible to reapply for permission to stay in the United States. So even if you aren’t immediately granted permission to remain here, don’t give up!

It often helps to know what questions people have about the process – talk to others who have immigrated before, or look online for tips.

Can I get an E-2 visa if I live abroad?

An employee with employment in a non-profit organization or for a government agency can also apply for this visa, known as the EB-2 visa. This second type of visa is only available to individuals who are working for these qualifying organizations and will be here full time.

Individuals must show that their job offers them no more than 30% salary coverage while living outside of the United States, and they cannot receive any benefits other than health insurance unless they are paid for travel or relocation (these things are not benefits).

These conditions make it very difficult to obtain an E-2 visa for this reason alone. If you have an employer offer that does not meet the requirements for an E-2 visa, consider looking into H1B visas instead.

Benefits of an E-2 Visa

For many, an E-2 visa offers various advantages over other types of visas. Firstly, it enables employees from certain countries to enter the US to work in specialized occupations. This is particularly useful for companies that have specific skill requirements and find it challenging to hire local professionals with those skills.

Moreover, while the visa duration is initially limited to a maximum of two years, it can be renewed indefinitely as long as the individual remains employed in the capacity specified in the visa and the conditions for the visa continue to be met. This offers flexibility for both the employer and the employee.

Additionally, immediate family members of E-2 visa holders (like spouses and children under 21) can also come to the US. In many cases, spouses can seek work authorization and take up employment.

Common Misconceptions about E-2 Visas

There are several myths and misconceptions regarding E-2 visas which can lead to confusion. Here are a few common ones:

  1. Automatic Citizenship: Many assume that holding an E-2 visa puts them on a direct path to citizenship. This is not the case. While it can be a stepping stone, there are separate procedures and criteria for obtaining US citizenship.
  2. Investment Confusion: The E-2 visa is sometimes confused with the E-2 Investor Visa, which is for individuals who invest a substantial amount in a US business. They are distinct categories, and their requirements differ significantly.
  3. Full-time Employment: Some believe that the E-2 visa mandates full-time employment. However, it's about the nature and significance of the role rather than the number of hours worked.
  4. Unlimited Renewals: While E-2 visas can be renewed, it's not guaranteed. Renewal is contingent on the visa holder continuing to meet the specific conditions of the visa.

Before pursuing an E-2 visa, it's essential to understand its nuances and consult with an immigration attorney to clarify any misunderstandings and receive proper guidance.

What if I get an E-2 visa and then I want to change or cancel it?

If you receive your E-2 VISA and decide that you no longer desire to work in the United States, you must notify USCIS within 30 days of when you received your visa.

You have two options: You can either request permission to voluntarily withdraw from employment with conditional entry (VOL) status or ask for nonimmigrant status as a tourist or scholar.

If you choose VOL withdrawal, you will need to give a reason for leaving the country and returning home. This can be done at any time while under conditional entry status, but not later than six months after the initial departure.

Your employer cannot charge separation pay or other fees related to the termination.

What are the consequences of getting an E-2 visa?

e-2 employee visa requirements

An employee for a foreign company can face many different types of issues if they overstay their visit in this country.

Most employers will not hire someone who has expired visas, or at least that is what most embassies tell us. If you apply through an employer, they may ask why you needed to come back earlier than expected.

Getting an E-2 visa does not give you automatic entry into America, only employment authorization. Once your work visa expires, you must leave the United States immediately unless you have another type of visa (like B1/B2 tourist visa).