- 01/–/2012 JA last arrives as F-1 student to attend boarding school at WI. F-1 since 2009.
- 02/02/2012 HA, AG and AA arrive as B-2 visitors.
- 05/31/2012 HA files an I-129 (premium processing) to change his status from B-2 to E-2.
AG (with AA and JA as dependents) files I-539 and I-765.
- 06/28/2012 RFE is issued for HA’s I-129.
- 07/28/2012 The entire family is approved for E-2 from 07/27/2012 to 05/14/2014.
RFE is issued for AG’s I-765.
- 09/14/2012 AG is approved for EAD from 07/27/2012 to 05/14/2014.
- 05/06/2014 The entire family files I-129 and I-539 to extend E-2 status.
- 05/13/2014 The entire family’s E-2 status is extended from 05/15/2014 to 05/14/2016.
HA and his family are all nationals of Mexico. HA’s father is a well-established businessman in Mexico. HA graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1994. HA and his family had obtained 10-year B-1/B-2 border crossing cards which allowed them to enter the U.S. via El Paso, TX. HA was able to get his son JA into boarding school, which in turn allowed JA to get an F-1 student visa. JA stayed in the U.S. to attend school and went back home to Mexico when a term ended.
However, HA wanted a longer-term immigration option for himself and for the rest of his family, especially since he wanted to raise his young daughter AA in the U.S. HA started exploring the benefits of the E-2 treaty investor visa.
HA, his wife AG, and AA entered as visitors on February 2, 2012. On March 31, 2012, HA established “A Inc,” an IL S-corporation. HA owned 100% of A Inc.’s stock, and opened all of the associated bank accounts, leases, licenses, etc. On the same date, A Inc. finalized its purchase of a Sears Hometown Store southwest of Chicago. HA funded A Inc. partly with his own funds, and partly with a donation from his father. Since the Sears store already had its own employees, A Inc. absorbed them all and continued paying their salaries. This is an important point to consider when applying for an E-2 visa, while the hiring of employees is not an absolute requirement (but it will be indispensable for a green card for an EB-5 application later on down the road), it is a strong proof of having funds that are irrevocably committed to the enterprise, which one of the regulatory requirements to be issued the visa. Furthermore, this fact adds to the merits of the application – since this is a job-generating enterprise that hired U.S. nationals.
HA gathered all documents related to A Inc. and filed his petition to change his nonimmigrant status from B-2 to E-2. AG, JA, and AA, as HA’s spouse and children, filed a separate petition to change their status as well. Because the family can stay in the U.S. for only less than 90 days at a time, the family had their petitions premium-processed for an additional filing fee. Premium processing guarantees a response from the USCIS within 15 days from the petitions’ receipt.
The entire family was approved for the E-2 visa on July 28, 2012 (after some delays caused by a Request for Evidence or RFE). The family is now on their first E-2 extension, until 2016. Both husband and wife are issued Social Security Numbers, and their children can attend schools in the U.S. As of writing, HA’s business is on track to meet the investment targets to be able to obtain an EB-5 green card.