E-2 Essential Employee visa is for a skilled employee who can be a Manager/supervisor or just a worker and is someone who is essential for running the activities of business. It is important that the applicant to be an employee rather than an investor in order to apply for this visa. Another prior requirement is that the employee must be of the same Nationality of the investor OR Company/Enterprise that has majority ownership of the Business/enterprise. Only after these criterions are met, a person can apply for this visa.
The following eligibility criterions must be met before an applicant may apply for the E-2 Essential Employee visa:
- The investors or the owners must have personally developed and direct the enterprise in their own country. In case of a corporation, it must own 50% holding in a business developed in US, than such corporation must demonstrate it develops and directs the US Company.
- The manager or supervisory position must be the one that grants the employee ultimate control and responsibility for a large proportion of the enterprise’s operations or a major component of the enterprise. The employee must enjoy a principal and primary function to lead and the position is not one which involves the supervision of low level employees.
- At least 50 percent of the ownership must have the nationality of the treaty country. This is a primary requirement. In cases where resident aliens have a holding in the treaty country, then such cases will held no liability with the E-2 Essential Employee visa program. Moreover, shares of a corporation or other business organization owned by permanent resident aliens cannot be considered in determining majority ownership by nationals of the treaty country to qualify the company for bringing in alien employees under the E2 visa.
- The employer must have an E-2 visa status to be able to qualify to send his employee in US under the E-2 Essential Employee visa program. In cases when the investor does not have an E-2 status then it must be must be shown that the employee works for the US enterprise and is coming to US to fulfill the duties of an executive, supervisor, or essentially skilled employee.
- By special skills, the employee must possess the degree of proven expertise in the area of specialization, the uniqueness of the specific skills, the length of experience and training with the firm, the period of training needed to perform the contemplated duties, and the salary the special expertise commands.
An employee may apply for the E-2 Essential Employee visa directly at the Consulate of the Home Country of the employee without the prior approval of the USCIS or can file as a change of status if the applicant is in the United Sates. The employee may seek for processing his application under the premium processing in case he wants to collect the visa within a span of few weeks only. There are no quota limitations on the number of employees who can be permitted for this visa which is the case with H1B visa.