PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY UK CITIZENS WHEN APPLYING FOR THE E-2 VISA
The E2 investor visa is quite popular amongst UK Citizens. Many British Citizens are currently resident in the US on the E2 visa. The flexibility of the visa and the ability to renew indefinitely make it attractive for those looking to settle in the US.
The United Kingdom became part of the treaty in July of 1815. This means that British Citizens have been making E2 visa applications for over 200 years. During this period there have been adjustments to the interpretation of the rules and many lessons learned in preparing E-2 visa applications.
As a Solicitor and Attorney in the US dealing with Immigration and Business Law, I too have learned many lessons in the preparation of this E2 Visa application. As a British citizen, I specialize in dealing with applications from UK Citizens, and over the years have been able to assess where and how people get things wrong.
I find that I have been able to group potential applicants into 4 groups or categories that can lead to E-2 visa refusals or complications. It is noteworthy that there is no right of appeal against the denial of an E-2 visa application which has been submitted to the US consulate or embassy. This results in a waste of money and time, especially when you take into consideration the fact that the minimum investment for the E-2 visa is between $60,000 and $200,000, depending on the type of business.
I realized a lot of UK Citizens continue to make mistakes when applying for the E-2 visa, without seeking proper advice.
I set below my description of the 4 groups of applicants that I have identified that potentially make mistakes with their E-2 Visa applications.
Group 1: Investors with limited funds: This group comprises people who really want to move to the US. They have identified that the E-2 visa is their best path. Some may already be business savvy people, and some may be completely new to business.
The difficulty they face is limited funds, as a result of which they try to do the applications themselves to save money. The group often feels that getting a consultation with a lawyer or getting a lawyer to review their application package before submission will be more cost-effective. Some even feel that the lawyer is simply completing forms and putting their documents together.
Many of these clients often end up spending more money or they get refused. Usually, by the time they are sending their self-prepared packet to a lawyer they have already done many things the wrong way that would require rectification, thus costing them more in legal fees, other fees, and time. False Economy? I certainly feel so.
Group 2: Smart Professionals: This group of applicants is well-educated and articulated. They are usually from the professional world such as Architects, Medical Doctors, Engineers, and even non-US lawyers. They are usually confident they can interpret the law. Many would have carried out a lot of internet research before approaching a lawyer.
However, many are wrong with their interpretation. It’s not usually the letter of the law; it is the way the evidential burden is interpreted by the US immigration service that is most important.
When these professionals accept that their immigration lawyer is the best person to guide them and when they follow those instructions, they usually do well in the E-2 approval rates. However, when they don’t, it is usually very upsetting for them because many do not expect the denial and often feel that the Immigration officer who denied the application was wrong and they wonder why there is no right of appeal. However, the fact remains that E-2 denial at the consulate does not generate a right of appeal. Once your visa application has been denied, the applicant will also not usually be able to travel to the US for pleasure using the visa waiver program. They will now need to obtain B1/B2 visas.
Group 3: Financially Secured or Wealthy individuals: They may have not encountered many difficulties in different aspects of life and applications relating to numerous things. Their financial status has always provided them with an advantage and sometimes, they unintentionally act entitled. To this group, the E-2 visa requires investment; they have the funds so what is the problem? Many do not understand or agree with the fact that the E2 visa require the investment to be at risk. The business must be ready to trade before an E-2 application can be accepted. This means that you must have followed a certain establishment plan and carried our several tasks to get the business ready. Having your funds sitting in a business account is not sufficient. These clients usually need legal convincing that they must spend their investment funds before applying for the E-2 visa. Many clients get refused and only listen to their lawyers when they need to reapply having wasted much time, effort, and money.
Group 4: The naïve clients who believe all lawyers can do all legal work. They have a friend who is a lawyer, they ask this friend to prepare their E-2 application, even though the friend specializes in employment law litigation. This will usually go wrong, and they do go very wrong.
I came to know all the aforementioned groups over my years of practicing, because many clients come to me after their visas have been denied or when they get stuck.
About 3% of the people in the groups are successful in their application, that is, 30 out of every 100
The moral of the story is, get advice from an experience E-2 immigration lawyer before you embark on your visa journey, appoint the lawyer, and follow instructions.
I am a dual-qualified US and UK attorney and have been practicing immigration law for over 18 years. I specialize in business immigration and advise many clients on E-2 visas.
Below are issues to consider when applying for the E-2 Visa:
- What types or sizes of businesses qualify?
- What type of registration for your type of business or company formation is needed – S Corp, C Corp, LLC, etc.
- Importance of investment control
- Expected investment amount for your type of business
- Source of funds
- Real operating business
- How spouse and children should be presented
- Foreign employees’ application is required in the future as the business expands
- Application procedure
E2 visa application is one of the most sought-after visas amongst many UK citizens and it’s quite detailed and complex. You need an attorney that understands the UK system and understands the US business and immigration law to assist.