A little know visa option for the USA is increasing being used to enter and work in the country. The E2 visa, otherwise known as the non-immigrant investor visa permits people for a number of countries to enter the USA and start businesses. In order to apply for an E2 visa applicants need to be a citizen of a Treaty country. The countries on this list are perhaps surprising – China and India are off the list, whilst Bangladesh, Pakistan and Morocco are some of the countries on the list.
This visa option is a perfect choice for foreign national entrepreneurs that want to start a business in the United States although the investment must be “substantial”. The visa allows migrants to invest in a business in the USA whist not obtaining full immigration status. In the past five years the numbers entering on one of these visas has grown by 46% to 41,000. At present the visa does not allow for holders to become citizens of the USA after a period of time and they remain in a difficult limbo of residing in the United States but not being a citizen. Many attempts have been made to regularise the visa, for example a bill was introduced hoping to allow visa holders to eventually change their citizenship status and convert into US residential status after 10 years but this has since stalled.
Some states are have introduced legislation to help E2 visa holder’s children by allowing tuition to colleges and universities as under the rules children of E2 holders lose this at the age of 21.
“Students who entered California legally, many of whom know no other home, deserve an equal opportunity to obtain a college education to achieve their dreams.” said Chad Mayes, California State Assemblyman who has introduced this legislation.
There is hope that new legislation will allow holders of the E2 Visa to have a more secure future for both themselves and their children in the United States.