E2 Visa Journey

Old Nov 17th 2016, 3:28 pm
  #1  
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Default E2 Visa Journey

Hi all,

we have been lurking on here for a while, but decided to post today in order to help other people who are on their journey to getting an E2 Visa. Apologies for the length of the post, but I would have found the below information helpful and reassuring when I was going through the application process, so wanted to be as comprehensive as possible.

We have been living in MA for 2 years on an L1A visa, and wanted to make the move to start our own company while staying in the US. We were advised that the E2 visa route was the best option.

We started discussions with lawyers back in February of this year, who advised us to get the business plan finalised, and to set up the company while I was still employed. The L1A restricted me from being able to work on the new company, but not to set it up.

We decided not to apply for a change of status of visa in the US as we would still need to go through the process of applying for the right to enter the US back in London when we left the country, and did not want to have to do two filings.

We started the actual process of collating materials for our application at the start of July. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE. We believed at that time that the business plan was nearly ready, and we were ready to go, but little did we know that it would take until mid September before the application would finally get submitted.

My last day of employment was the 30th September, and as my L1A invalidated when I left my role, we had to leave the US the same day.

The consulate confirmed our application was in the queue on the 29th of September. Exactly 30 days later we received an email from the lawyers saying we had been invited to interview. The first available slot we were able to get was two weeks later on the 16th November.

We attended yesterday and were approved for a five year visa!!

A bit about the company and the actual visa interview to give more context:
- I am setting up a professional services company in a very niche sector
- we invested $52k, of which $23k had been spent at the time of submission (so considered 'at risk' and the remainder as working capital)
- I had hired a US worker three months before the interview
- I had rented office space, spent considerable amounts on computers etc and marketing

visa interview:
-we arrived at 7am for an 8am interview. There was already a small queue at the embassy, and we had to wait until 7.40 before they started letting us through security
-we were the first e-visa applicants to be called to the first window for finger printing. There was some confusion as to whether my husband's application had been included with mine (he is getting a spousal visa), but they registered him on site
-we then waited until 8.55 before we were called to the 'interview'
-We had been advised before we got there that the interview would focus on three things:
1) do I have the necessary skills and experience to run the company and make a go of it
2) would our meagre $52k investment be seen as 'substantial' enough
3) proving 'marginality' i.e. that the company is going to generate enough revenues to appoint US workers, and will be more than just enough money for us to live on
we were actually only asked:
- my background and relevance to run the company
- to explain the company
- how long we had been married
-what my husband will do for a living
-whether we had any criminal convictions

The official said that they do not usually grant 5 year visas to start-ups but wanted to give us a chance to give the company a real go before we had to check back in.

why I believe we got it:
- our motivation was to set up a company, rather than to get a visa. I think it would have been much harder for us to get the visa if we had bought an existing company or a franchise
- although our investment is definitely on the lower end of the scale, we were able to prove in our application that professional services companies can be set up for significantly less money that we had spent
- the company directly relates to my business experience. If I had bought a cleaning company or something completely unrelated to my current skillset, there is no way we would have got it, nor for the full 5 years
-I had already hired a US worker

I hope this is helpful. If anyone has any questions about the process, then just let me know and I would be happy to help.
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Old Nov 17th 2016, 5:18 pm
  #2  
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Default Re: E2 Visa Journey

Originally Posted by LMVB View Post
we have been lurking on here for a while, but decided to post today in order to help other people who are on their journey to getting an E2 Visa. Apologies for the length of the post, but I would have found the below information helpful and reassuring when I was going through the application process, so wanted to be as comprehensive as possible.
Congratulations on getting the visa! Outstanding write up - thanks!

Ian
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Old Nov 18th 2016, 9:48 am
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Default Re: E2 Visa Journey

Thanks Ian. We are very pleased and relieved. The waiting is the hard part
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Old Nov 22nd 2016, 11:37 am
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Default Re: E2 Visa Journey

Excellent report thank you for taking the time to write it.
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Old Nov 22nd 2016, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: E2 Visa Journey

Not a problem!
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