In today’s discussion, we delve into the intricacies of the E2 visa for Australian citizens aspiring to establish and manage a business in the United States. We aim to demystify the core requirements of the E2 visa and guide you through the application procedure, highlighting a specific post-interview step that poses a significant headache for Australians.
Why Opt for an E2 Visa as an Australian Entrepreneur?
The allure of the E2 visa for Australians lies in its numerous advantages. It serves as a gateway for skilled entrepreneurs to not only reside in the U.S. but also to take an active role in their U.S.-based ventures. This opportunity extends beyond mere business establishment; it provides access to the vast U.S. market, thereby potentially enhancing business profitability. Furthermore, this visa offers substantial benefits for family members: spouses can secure a social security number and employment rights in the U.S., and children under 21 can pursue education within the country.
Key E2 Visa Requirements
While an exhaustive list of requirements is beyond this article’s scope, it’s crucial for Australian E2 visa aspirants to understand the necessity of making a significant, at-risk investment in a for-profit U.S. enterprise. This business must be a legitimate commercial entity, and the investor should be capable of guiding and developing it. For comprehensive details on all requirements, the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual is an invaluable resource.
The Application Journey: Getting Started
The application process commences once you have established your U.S. company and made a qualifying investment. Initial business setup steps usually involve:
- Choosing a business model.
- Crafting a detailed budget.
- Forming your business entity (like an LLC or C-Corp).
- Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Opening a U.S. business bank account.
- Transferring personal funds to this account.
- Allocating these funds towards establishing your business.
The E2 Visa Application Procedure
For Australians ready to embark on the E2 visa journey, a wealth of information is available on the U.S. travel docs site’s E2 visa application page. This resource provides a rundown of essential documents and outlines the steps involved, which typically include:
- Organizing and compiling supporting documents.
- Completing and submitting the DS-160 forms for all applicants.
- Filling out the DS-156E form for the primary investor.
- Registering an account and paying the visa fees (AUD $315 per applicant).
- Following the consulate’s instructions for document submission.
- Awaiting an interview invitation.
- Attending the interview at your consular district in Sydney, Perth, or Melbourne.
The Critical Post-Interview Step: The Reciprocity Fee
Post-interview, Australian applicants must pay a hefty reciprocity fee, currently set at $3,464.00 per person. For the latest fee structure, refer to the U.S. government’s online visa reciprocity table.
Finalizing Your Visa: Stamping and Passport Return
Once the reciprocity fee is settled, the next steps are visa stamping and the return of your passport.
E2 Visa Validity for Australians
Typically, Australians granted the E2 visa receive a 4-year validity, with a two-year period of E2 status granted upon each entry into the U.S.
Wrapping Up: E2 Visa for Australian Entrepreneurs
This article provides a basic overview of the E2 visa process for Australian entrepreneurs. For personalized advice, consulting with a seasoned U.S. immigration lawyer is highly recommended.
We hope you found this information valuable. If so, feel free to like, share, or discuss it further with peers who might benefit from it.
Thank you for your time!
Ben Frear, Esq.
Immigration Lawyer for Entrepreneurs