Ecuador terminated its investment treaty with the U.S. as of May 18, 2018. Ecuadorians are eligible for E-2 classification if they have qualifying investments in place in the United States prior to May 18, 2018. An immigration agency must adjudicate the Ecuadorian E2 applications prior to May 18, 2028.
Investment funds are committed timely if they were acquired or “in the process of investing” prior to May 18, 2018. “In the process of investing” for E-2 purposes means the foreign investor must,
- commit the funds or assets to the investment. The commitment must be real and irrevocable. For example, the investor may commit funds by entering into an agreement, and
- be close to the start of actual business operations. The investor may not simply be merely revocable contracts or scouting for suitable locations and property.
Immediate family members of an E-2 principal foreign investor are exempted.
Visa Applications Filed
After May 18, 2018: Ecuadorians may apply for E-2 visas through May 18, 2028, if they are coming to the United States to engage in E-2 activity in continuance of investments established or acquired prior to May 18, 2018.
Before May 18, 2018: An initial pending E-2 visa application filed on or before May 18, 2018 can be approved if the national that applied for the visa is coming to the United States to engage in E-2 activity based on investments acquired prior to May 18, 2018.
Essential Employees / Owner-Investors
Essential Ecuadorian employees may qualify for E-2 visas through to May 18, 2028, if the employees are “essential employees.” They must either,
- possess specialized skills necessary for the firm’s operations in the United States, or
- qualify as executive or supervisory employees.
This rule also applies to owner-investors that have a qualifying investment and apply for a visa within the specified time.