How long is the E-2 Visa valid for?

Jun 22, 2021

E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows nationals of a Treaty Country to live and reside in the United States by making a substantial investment in a U.S. business enterprise.  You can get more detailed information regarding the E-2 Visa requirements here. Are you wondering how long is your E-2 Visa going to be valid for? Keep reading.

How long is your E-2 Visa going to be valid for?

The length of the validity of your E-2 Visa depends on your nationality and can range from 3 months to 5 years. This is also known as ‘reciprocity period’. Essentially, the validity period of the E-2 Visa is established by the Treaty between your country and the United States, and the logic behind such a wide range of E-2 Visa durations is often difficult to catch.

For instance, for countries such as Egypt and Bangladesh the E-2 Visa can be issued for max 3 months, whereas nationals from countries like Italy and UK, among others, may benefit from an E-2 Visa duration of up to 5 years.

So, if the validity of your E-2 visa is, for instance, 3 months, does that mean that you can stay in the United States for  three months only? The answer is no, otherwise it would not make any sense to get an E-2 visa.

The correct answer is that if your E-2 Visa validity period is 3 months, you will have three months from the date of issuance to enter the United States. However, upon arrival, you will be allowed to stay in the country for a period of 2 years at the time.

Validity Period vs. Period of Stay

In other words, it is important to understand the difference between the E-2 Visa validity period and the period of stay. The validity period is the timeframe the E-2 Visa is issued for: until your E-2 Visa expiration date you will be allowed to enter the United States.

The period of stay, on the other hand, is the length of your stay in the United States regardless of your E-2 Visa validity period. The period of stay will be assigned upon your arrival in the United States and for the E-2 Visa is going to be 2 years.

In order to renew the period of stay for another 2 years you will just be required to exit the U.S. and come back. Check your stamp on the passport or your I-94 card here to understand when your period of stay will expire.

A couple of scenarios might clarify the above:

  1. You are a citizen of Bangladesh and you have been granted a 3-month E-2 Visa, expiring on October 31, 2021. When can you enter the U.S. and for how long? You will be allowed to enter the U.S. until October 31, 2021, and you will be permitted to stay continuously in the country for the following two years.
  2. You are a UK citizen and your E-2 Visa has a duration of 5 years with an expiration date on October 31, 2026. Does that mean that you can stay in the United States without exiting the country until such date? No, you can stay in the United States for a max period of two years after your entry regardless of the duration of your E-2 Visa. What if you enter the country on October 29, 2026, two days before the expiration? Does that mean you can stay only for two days? No, you will be allowed to stay for two years starting on such date, regardless of the expiration date on your E-2 Visa.

If the treaty between your country and the United States establishes a 5 year-E-2 Visa validity period, is that the amount of time you will for sure get?

The answer is, not necessarily. In fact, the validity period is up to 5 years, not a full 5 year-period. It will be at the discretion of the consular officer to determine the validity period of your E-2 Visa. Typically, the consular officer does not depart from the treaty-assigned E-2 Visa duration, but there might be instances where the officer allows for shorter periods because he wants to closely monitor the development of the business.

How to renew your E-2 Visa

E-2 Visa can be renewed applying again at the US Embassy in your country or from the United States through USCIS. In the first case, you will be required to file a brand new application and you will be granted a max validity period according to the treaty between your country and the United States, exactly like for the first application.

In the second case (renewal through USCIS), you will be granted E-2 Visa status for a period of up to two years. You can apply through USCIS only if your E-2 Visa is still valid.

How to get another 2 year period of stay if your E-2 Visa is not yet expired

If your E-2 Visa validity period is longer than 2 years, nonetheless you will be required to leave the U.S. no later than 2 years after your entry. If you still have time left, the way to get additional two years in the U.S. is to leave the country and simply re-enter. No need for a new application.

You don’t have to go back to your country, you can also go somewhere else closer. For example Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Caribbean Islands, etc. It is advisable to stay wherever you go for at least a week.

Single entry vs. multi-entry E-2 Visa

Your E-2 Visa can be single entry or multi-entry. This depends, again, on the treaty between your country and the United States. A single entry E-2 Visa will allow you to get into the country only one time. Once you depart you will be required to apply again at the embassy in your country.

With a multi-entry E-2 Visa you will be permitted to enter the U.S. as many times you like within the period of validity of your E-2 Visa. Most likely, E-2 Visa with a very short duration (e.g. 3 months) will be single entry, whereas longer E-2 Visa will be multi-entry.

E-2 Visa Reciprocity Table

Here it follows a list of the most common countries and their E-2 Visa duration period:

Treaty Country Duration Entry
Argentina 5 years multi
Australia 4 years multi
Bangladesh 3 months single
Belgium 5 years multi
Canada 5 years multi
Chile 12 months multi
Colombia 5 years multi
Egypt 3 months single
France 25 months multi
Germany 5 years multi
Italy 5 years multi
Jamaica 5 years multi
Japan 5 years multi
Mexico 1 year multi
Netherlands 3 years multi
Spain 5 years multi
Turkey 5 years multi
United Kingdom 5 years multi

For a complete list of Treaty Countries and duration of the E-2 Visa you can check here.

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