E-2 Visa
From JoongAng
January 1, 2004

By Jong Hoon Kim

Because of a surge in Korean applicants for E-2 status, a temporary treaty investor visa [for non U.S. citizens who invest at least $100,000 in the United States], the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, has made the process tougher to complete.

Last year, Mr. Lee submitted an application for E-2 status, saying that he had invested in his relative’s business in the United States. He recently received a response from the Embassy that required him to submit a five-year business plan. This is an unprecedented requirement; there is not even a standard form for drafting such a business outline.

Immigration law firms explain that this change is the embassy’s reaction to the rapid increase in the Korean applicants for E-2 status.

The number of South Koreans who received E-2 status increased steadily from 510 in 1998, to 807 in 1999, 1,388 in 2000, 1,403 in 2001 and 1,670 in 2002. The number reached 1,961 in 2003, increasing 20 percent from the previous year. It was almost a four-fold increase since 1998.

The number of Korean E-2 applicants who are already in the United States is three times the number of applicants in South Korea. Thus, the immigration lawyers estimate that 6,000 Koreans living in both South Korea and the United States would receive E-2 status in 2003.

As a result, the State Department increased the required amount of investment from $100,000 to $300,000, and began requiring the submission of additional documents such as the business plan.

Seungki Kim, an immigration lawyer, said, “Many cases result in waste of time and money because applicants applied without prior information and preparation.”

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Translated from Korean by Bonhee Chung

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