E-2 Visa Renewal Process with Rupert Law Group
Let’s get started talking about your E2 visa renewal. One of the most important parts of getting an E2 visa is making sure that you can renew it, so, let’s talk about it. When should you renew? Well, most people are gonna wait until the end. However, there are a couple of situations where you may not want to wait until the end. If you are from a country that the visa allows only one or two entries and you need to leave the United States, that would be an early renewal. As you probably know, if you’ve used up all your entries to the United States, you will need to renew before you can come back to the country.
So, sometimes people have a family emergency or something else they need to leave the country, they’re going to have to renew before coming back to the United States. In other instances, you may have personal reasons for wanting to renew early. In fact, I just did a visa renewal that was one year early. He had multiple entries and exits, so it wasn’t about that. He had a personal reason that he wanted to renew early. He’s going to be incredibly busy in the next year and didn’t think he would have a chance to get back to his home country to do an interview. It was successful.
So it’s really just about speaking with your attorney and making sure that you have a, you know, that you are prepared for the interview and you know kind of your reasons why and are able to articulate your reasons why you would do an early renewal. I should have skipped ahead because this is kind of all of the information that we just talked about. Oh, that’s true. Even though I did do an early renewal for someone with multiple entries and exits, you know, you need to be close-ish to the renewal time.
As I mentioned, I got a renewal that was one year before the visa expired, but, you know, renewing two or three years before probably will not be successful. And in addition, you cannot really base on business issues, right? So, if you know, “Wow, things are tanking, I better get this renewal while I can.” That’s probably not a great reason to renew your visa. It really needs [inaudible 00:02:17] personal reason if you have multiple entries and exits.
And like we talked about, for limited entry visas, mostly it’s going to be an emergency situation. I would ask you that if you know a situation is coming up, maybe a few weeks or even a month or two in advance, please contact an attorney right away, because then you can start gathering documents and get ready for your renewal when you leave. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling to find the documents that you need to renew and you may be in your home country for some time, which is obviously not great for your business if you’re not here to run it. So, if you know that you’re going to need to leave and you do not have another entry on your visa, please contact an attorney the moment you find out you’re going to need to leave. And you and your attorney can really work together to get the document and make sure that you’re going to be able to successfully renew. And if not, come up with a plan B, which we will talk about in a bit.
So, if you got just a regular renewal, please, please, contact your attorney about six months before the renewal is due. This gives you plenty of time, you’re not going to be scrambling, and you’re not going to be panicking, and neither is your attorney, about your renewal. And also, so important, as much of your original file from your original filing as possible. And if you have renewals before this, also those documents. It really will help your attorney make sure that you have the best possible chance for renewal. So, please keep all your documents from your first E2 and then all successive renewal. Keep as much of that as possible.
So, what’s the process for renewal? I wish I had a really short answer to this. I do not. Every single country is different. Some of them want your two latest tax returns and to make sure that you still have a valid passport. Some want a complete packet as if it’s the first time. So it really depends on your country. You can talk to your attorney about that, where you’re from and on your plans for renewal, because they vary greatly.
So, what are some renewal red flags? No or very few employees, that could be a problem. Low income, low revenue, that could be a problem. No office or a business plan that varies greatly from the original business plan. No or few employees, let’s talk about it. You are not going to be able to renew if you have no employees. You’re not going to be approved if you have no employees, or if you have too few. You need to talk with your attorney about this. If you have some employees, but not very many, talk with your attorney about it, and it’s really going to depend on the nature of your business, how many they’re going to expect. So, speak with your attorney about that. The solution for this, hire someone. If you have contacted your attorneys six months before renewal, like we’re hoping that you’ve done, you can hire someone. You have some time.
In fact, now is a great time. I’m working on one renewal right now of a person who had no employees. His renewal is due in July, which is fabulous. That gives us plenty of time, and even better, we are coming up on the end of the year. So if he hires someone in December, he will have a double E2 from 2018, and then of course we’ll be able to bring payment documents for 2019 up to the time of his renewal. So if you’re thinking, “Hey, I need to renew in 2019.” No matter what the timing is, now is the time to hire someone because you can show that you had them in 2018, and then all the way up to your renewal.
Make sure that they’re paid a living wage. Obviously there are minimum wages in every state, and you should of course know what the minimum wage is in your state and obviously you need to pay them higher than that. But the more the merrier. I mean, if you can pay them, you know, if your minimum wage is, I think it’s $11 an hour in California, if you could pay them $15 an hour, even better. They want to see, the more people, the higher you’re paying them, the better. Every business is different, of course, and every job title is different. You don’t want to be paying the janitor $85,000 a year, but, you know, make it as many people and pay them as much as you can do.
Let’s see, next year. So, low income or low revenue. As you may recall from your original E2, they expect this business to be what they consider not marginal, that’s the language that they use. So, in order to ensure that you are not marginal, you need to be supporting yourself and your family, and others need to be supporting themselves and their families as well. If your business is not generating enough revenue to do that, that’s going to potentially be an issue, so just remember that. You know, what is a low revenue? I have no idea. It’s gonna depend so much on your business, where it is, what you do, that type of thing. So speak with your attorney about that.
I have someone right now who doesn’t have very high revenue who’s getting ready to renew in Turkey. I am telling her to get signed Letters of Intent from clients that she thinks she’s gonna be working with next year. They haven’t signed a contract yet but they are speaking with her about projects that are coming up first quarter, second quarter. So have some people that are going to buy services from you, sign some letters. “Yes, I intend to do business with this person, it’s coming up in, you know, Q2, we expect this project to be a $50,000 project.” You know, that type of thing. Those are always helpful, you know.
And then if you are in the retail-wholesale business, maybe try to get some letters from or purchase orders from folks that maybe they don’t need it right now, but they intend to buy things of yours soon. Let’s see. And then also you need to speak with your attorney and your attorney may give you some tips about speaking with your CPA. Obviously, a good CPA is a double edged sword. You pay a lot less in taxes but it shows a lot lower revenue. So, in some instances, if you are here on an E2 visa and need to renew, you may need to show even more revenue than you normally would, which of course means you’ll pay more taxes than you normally would, but it’s something that you may need to consider.
So, no office. As you may recall from your first E2, they really expect you to have a signed lease in an office, same is gonna go for the renewals. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it doesn’t need to be fabulous, it doesn’t need to be in the downtown district, and, you know, big enough for 20 employees if you have 2. It just needs to be sign the lease, pay for it. I always say pay for it at least three months. It will help, you know, showing also a reinvestment, so.