This article discusses can a spouse of an E2 visa employee open a business in the United States? The answer is yes, a spouse of an E2 visa employee can open and manage a US business without restrictions. However, it should be noted that children of E2 visa employees are not allowed to work or manage a business in the United States.
Spouse of E2 employee can open a business in the US
Spouses of E2 visa employees are allowed to open and manage a business in the United States because of a policy allowing E2 spouses with valid E2 dependent status to work for any employer, including for their own company. To open a business, spouses of E2 visa employees do not need to apply for a work permit because under U.S. law spouses of E2 visa holders are considered employment authorized incident to status. However, this was not always the case.
Prior to November 2021, E2 visa spouses had to apply for and obtain a work authorization card (EAD) before engaging in any employment or managing their own business. On November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented a new policy according to which USCIS considers E2 visa spouses or E1 visa spouses to be employment authorized based on their valid E status. In other words, spouse of E2 visa employees no longer need to apply for work authorization and can open a business in the US.
When should an E2 employee spouse open a business?
However, before opening a business spouses of E2 employees should check their I-94 record and make sure they have been admitted to the U.S. under the E-2S status.
If you are a spouse of an E2 employee, you can check the validity period of your E2 dependent status on the CBP official I-94 website. For a spouse of an E2 visa holder, the status shows as E-2S on the I-94. Prior to November 2021, an E2 spouse had to apply and wait 3-4 months to receive an employment authorization card before they could start working, including opening a business.
By being admitted under the E-2S status, spouses of E2 visa employees are allowed to work in the United States without having to obtain an EAD (work permit) from USCIS.
For example, if you are the spouse of an E2 visa employee and you arrive together in the U.S. with valid E2 visas, then at the border the CBP officer will give you 2-year E-2S status. With the E-2S status, you can start a business in the US immediately even the very same day, and actively manage it for the duration of your E-2S status.
Prior to expiration of the 2-year status, both the E2 visa employee and the spouse can choose to exit and reenter the US to renew the E2 status. Upon reentry, E2 visa employee and the spouse receives E2 status for 2 more years, provided they reenter with valid E2 visas.
Another option is to apply for extension of E2 status from the United States without leaving the country. The applications to extend must be submitted with USCIS well in advance to allow for processing time. It is necessary for both the E2 visa employee and his or her spouse to maintain valid E2 status for the E2 visa employee spouse to be able to manage and operate their business in the United States.
If you are a spouse of an E2 visa employee who is looking to start a business in the US or buy a business in the US, contact us or book a consultation with our best E2 visa lawyers in Miami, Florida USA.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers