United States: E1 and E2 Visas terms to change this September

  • Etats-Unis
Published 2019-09-11 12:48

The changes will only be operated as from the 26th of September. From this date on, visas E1 and E2 granted to French entrepreneurs will have to be renewed every 15 months instead of every 60 months. What are the implications of this change? Two experts give us their insight.

From September 26th onwards, the E1 and E2 visas will have to be renewed almost every year. Indeed, this permit will only be valid for 15 months instead of 60 months. This was announced last August by the US authorities. The change is not retroactive and only applies to those who will send in their applications or renew their existing visa after the 26th of September. "All E2 visa candidates whose interview will be held after the September 26 will need to get their visas renewed more regularly," said Stéphane Deneux, expert in franchises in Miami.

But what are the E1 and E2 visas? E1 and E2 visas are for entrepreneurs. These visas are intended for citizens of countries with which the United States has signed a treaty, including France. "The E1 visa is appropriate for French entrepreneurs wishing to develop an activity with at least 50% of transactions (products or services) between France and the United States. The E2 visa applies to entrepreneurs who want to create and develop a company in the United States," says Francine Prewitt, a lawyer specializing in business and immigration rights. The latter explains that the two visas allow entrepreneurs to settle temporarily in the United States to develop their business.

Both experts agree this change can be inconvenient but is not a barrier to starting a business in the United States. "Although French contractors installed in the US will have to renew their visas almost every year, the measure should not affect the examination of visa applications by immigration officers. In theory, any entrepreneur who fulfills the visa requirements should not have any difficulty obtaining a visa,” says Francine Prewitt. So says Stéphane Deneux. "Anyway, this change is probably temporary. If your business plan is in line with reality, renewal after a shorter period will be just a formality. "

Still, there are other permit alternatives for those who would like to invest in the United States. For example, the EB5 investor visa. According to Francine Prewitt, this visa gives to its owner the right of residence in the United States. "But it requires a significant investment of at least $ 900,000. This was previously $ 500, 000 and has only just been set at $ 900, 000 last July," says Francine Prewitt. But there is also the L1 visa. This visa, says the lawyer, is granted to French companies wishing to open a subsidiary in the United States. However, it is only granted for a period of one year, and renewable for two years but with a maximum duration of seven years. But there are also ways to get round this inconvenience, explains Stéphane Deneux. For example, if an investor holds a second passport or his spouse does, he can still obtain an E1 or E2 visa for a period of 60 months.