I Obtained my E-2 Visa Now What?

For those foreign nationals, who have received an E-2 visa overseas and entered the US, figuring out the logistics of living here can be a little daunting.  Without a social security number and credit history in the US, it can be difficult renting an apartment or house, or even getting business insurance. Without proof of residence in the US, it can be difficult to get a driver’s license. What to do? We have some tips on what to do first.

  • First, apply for a social security number. The Social Security Administration suggests waiting 10 days after your arrival in the US to apply so it is easier for the SSA to verify your immigration documents online. It is probably a good idea to wait 10 days also if you are changing status to E-2. You will have to go to the local Social Security Administration Office in person to apply and bring your original US immigration paperwork, your birth certificate, and your passport.
  • If you want to rent a house or apartment, you will need to find a management company or landlord that does not require a credit history or background check, because you have no credit history in the US and your name might not even pop up on a background check. If you hired an attorney for your E-2, it is a good idea to have him or her write a letter attesting to the requirements of the visa and vouching for your financial stability. It is also a good idea to have your potential landlord call your attorney for a reference. Also be prepared to disclose your foreign bank statements (since you may not yet have a US bank account or you just opened one) and other financial documents to prove your reliability. As an aside, to open a US personal bank account, you will need ID and some banks may require other information like a social security number. In general, to open a business bank account in the US, you will need an EIN or ITIN number.
  • With a social security number and a place of residence, you can go to the DMV and obtain your driver’s license. You need to bring your social security card, your US immigration paperwork, your passport, and proof of residence like utility bill or lease agreement.

It also helps when planning to remember that your E-2 dependent spouse cannot legally work in the US upon arrival. While you, as the principal E-2 applicant, can immediately work when you arrive in the US, your E-2 dependent spouse will have to apply for a work card with USCIS and wait 3 months until that arrives. With the work card in hand, your spouse can then apply for a social security number and driver’s license.

It takes time and some legwork, but it is possible to sort out the logistics and establish yourself in the US while on an E-2 visa. Any questions about what to do after obtaining an E-2 entrepreneur visa contact attorney Catherine O Brown at 303-322-2117.