In this post I discuss the E2 visa for UK citizens who want to come to the US to run a business in which they have made a substantial investment. I cover the general E2 visa requirements, the domicile requirement that applies to UK citizens and provide an overview of the application process.
Why Pursue an E2 Visa as a British Citizen?
The E2 visa is appealing for UK citizens for various reasons. Notably, it provides a unique opportunity for talented entrepreneurs to reside in the United States while overseeing the operations of their US business. This offers access to the vast US market which can improve the odds of business success. Furthermore, the E2 visa extends favorable benefits to family members, allowing spouses to obtain a social security number and work in the US, while children under 21 can attend school in the country.
The Basic E2 Visa Requirements
I won’t get into all of the requirements in this video, but to qualify for the E2 visa, UK citizens must make a substantial at-risk investment geared towards creating job opportunities for American workers. And, while there is no fixed minimum investment requirement, it is important to demonstrate a commitment that positions the business for success and US job creation.
UK Specific Requirements–Proving Domicile
In addition to the standard E2 visa prerequisites, UK citizens must show that they are domiciled in the UK. This requirement can pose challenges for nomadic entrepreneurs who have resided outside the UK for an extended period. To establish ties to the UK, my clients typically submit documents such as leases, property records, utility bills, paystubs, school records, and bank statements reflecting local transactions.
The E2 Visa Application Process for UK Citizens
Ok, so assuming that you have looked into the requirements and weighed the pros and cons of the E2 visa, how do you apply?
British citizens who are interested in applying for the E2 visa can gain insight into the application process by visiting the E2 visa application page that is provided by the US Embassy in London. There you will find a list of typical documents and an overview of the steps involved in the application process. Currently, the application process looks something like this:
- Gather and organize your supporting documents
- Complete and submit the DS-160 applications for all E2 visa applicants
- Create an account and pay the visa fees($315 per applicant)
- Submit all of the required documents following the Embassy’s specific instructions
- Wait for an invitation to schedule an interview
- Attend the interview
- Wait for visa stamping and the return of your passport
E2 Visa Validity Period for UK Citizens
Citizens of the UK who successfully apply for the E2 visa will typically receive a visa that is valid for five years. And you will receive two years of E2 status each time that you use your visa to enter the United States.
Initial Steps–Establishing Your Business
Of course the application process cannot officially begin until you have set up your company and made a qualifying at-risk investment. The steps involved in this initial stage typically include:
- Selecting a business
- Developing a budget
- Establishing your business entity(LLC, C-Corp, Etc.)
- Applying for an EIN
- Opening a business account for your US business
- Transferring your personal funds into the US account
- Spending your investment funds on everything that is needed to establish the business
So, that is a general overview of the E2 visa for British Citizens. Of course, if you are interested in this visa option, I recommend that you reach out to one of the many amazing US immigration lawyers that you can find across the globe who can offer guidance that is tailored to your unique situation.
Thanks for your time!
Ben Frear, Esq.
Immigration Lawyer for Entrepreneurs