E2 Visa Attorney – New E1 and E2 Visa Processing Requirements in Italy

A few updates for our Italian Investor clients, Effective December 1, 2011, all E visas applications will be processed in Rome. Therefore, all new E1 Visa and E2 visa applications submitted after December 1, 2011 should be sent to the E Visa Section in Rome following the directions on the web. (http://italy.usembassy.gov./visa/vis/vis-6-en.html) All cases will be processed in the order received. All pending cases sent to Milan prior to December 1, 2011, will be processed to conclusion in Milan, in the order they were received.

In a Small Business Administration (“SBA”) study, the report found that, “Immigrants are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business than are nonimmigrants, and they represent 16.7 percent of all new business owners in the United States.” This SBA report also found that nearly 30 percent of all new business owners per month in New York, Florida, and Texas, are immigrants. In addition, business owners from Europe constituted a growing share of immigrant business owners.

The E Visa for those unfamiliar with the opportunity, provides nonimmigrant visa status for a national of any of the countries with which the United States maintains an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation, who is coming to the United States to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is actively in the process of investing substantial amount of capital.

An E-2 treaty investor must seek entry solely to develop and direct the treaty business. In certain franchises, the franchise contract may be too restrictive to establish this element of direction by the foreign investor, but a franchise business may qualify for E-2 status is the franchisee can exemplify sufficient control over the franchise operations.

Employees of treaty investors must have the same nationality as the E-2 employer. The position must be executive, supervisory, or require essential skills. As to executive or supervisory positions, the consular officer will review if the position principally requires management skills or key supervisory responsibility; or if the position chiefly involves routine work and only secondarily requires supervision of low-level employees. The E classification is intended for specialists and not for ordinary skilled workers. There are exceptions to this general rule. Some skills may be essential for as long as the business is operating.

Final tip for Italian investors, The most common reason causing delays in processing Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visa applications is the failure to submit a Banca Nazionale del Lavoro receipt for the Machine Readable Visa fee payment. Cases submitted without this receipt are not examined or processed until the Machine Readable Visa fee payment receipts are received.

For more information on the E2 Visa, feel free to email us at any time.