As an entrepreneur or investor seeking to start or expand a business in the United States, the E2 visa can be a valuable pathway. However, E2 visa denial can be a disheartening setback. In this article, we will explore the common reasons behind E2 visa denials, the steps you can take after a denial, and possible alternatives to ensure your business dreams remain within reach.
Common Reasons for E2 Visa Denial
- Insufficient Investment: The E2 visa requires a substantial investment in the US business. If you fail to demonstrate that your investment is significant relative to the total cost of the enterprise, you may face denial.
- Not at Risk: Your investment must be at risk, meaning it must be irrevocably committed to the business. If your investment is contingent on specific conditions or does not involve personal financial risk, your application could be rejected.
- Non-Bona Fide Enterprise: The E2 visa necessitates that the business is a real and active commercial enterprise. If the consulate suspects that the business is a shell or solely created to secure visa status, they may deny the application.
- Marginal Enterprise: The business must have the capacity to generate more than enough income to provide for you and your family. If the consular officer believes your business is marginal or will not contribute to the US economy, your visa may be denied.
- Non-Treaty Country: E2 visas are only available to nationals of treaty countries. If you are not a national of a country with a qualifying treaty, your application will be rejected.
Steps to Take After E2 Visa Denial
- Reapply: In some cases, an E2 visa denial can be resolved by addressing the issues identified by the consular officer and reapplying. Be sure to gather additional documentation and evidence to strengthen your case.
- Request an Advisory Opinion: If you believe your E2 visa was wrongly denied, you can request an advisory opinion from the US Department of State. This process involves submitting a request for a review of your case, but it is not an appeal and may not result in a reversal of the decision.
- Consult with an Immigration Attorney: A knowledgeable immigration attorney can help you understand the reasons behind your E2 visa denial and guide you through the appropriate steps to increase your chances of success in future applications.
E2 Visa Alternatives
- L1 Visa: The L1 visa is designed for intracompany transferees who are managers, executives, or employees with specialized knowledge. If you have a business in your home country and want to expand to the US, the L1 visa may be a suitable alternative.
- EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: The EB-5 visa is an option for entrepreneurs who can invest a minimum of $900,000 in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.
- O1 Visa: The O1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics. If you possess a high level of expertise in your field, this may be a viable alternative.
E2 visa denial can be a frustrating obstacle for entrepreneurs and investors seeking to establish or grow a business in the United States. By understanding the common reasons for denial, such as insufficient investment, lack of risk, non-bona fide enterprise, marginal enterprise, and non-treaty country status, applicants can better prepare their applications to avoid these pitfalls. In the event of a denial, reapplying, requesting an advisory opinion, or consulting with an immigration attorney can help you navigate the next steps. Moreover, considering alternative visa options, like the L1, EB-5, or O1 visas, can offer alternative routes to achieving your entrepreneurial goals in the US. With persistence and proper guidance, you can overcome E2 visa denial and continue pursuing your American dream.
Sylvain Perret is a business professional who has been living in the United States since 2010. Along with his wife Daphnee, he has established several businesses in the country, including Integrity International Brokers, an agency based in Orlando where he works as a business broker, real estate broker, business consultant, and business plan writer. Over the years, he has helped numerous clients from around the world achieve success in their projects to create or take over a company in the United States with an E2 visa. He is highly knowledgeable about U.S. immigration issues and is the author of the book "S'expatrier aux USA grâce aux visas d'entrepreneurs," which is soon to be translated into English. Sylvain is also a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) by the International Business Brokers Association and is regularly consulted on issues related to this field. He is active on LinkedIn and Twitter, where he shares his insights and experiences with a wider audience.