E2 Visa – Kathryn From Australia
I moved from the UK to Australia in 1999 so have dual British/Australian citizenship. I went to Australia with my partner who passed away in 2008. It was his passing that took me on the path to training to become a Structural Integrator (Rolfer). Structural integration is a whole body manual therapy designed to release negative patterns in the connective tissue. The unwinding leads to improved posture, greater body awareness and it introduces deep proprioceptive awareness. Continued below….
My Structural Integration training took place in the US – Boulder, Colorado and Kauai, Hawaii. I have been visiting the States for many years as my sister has lived here since the late 1970s. In some deep part of me I had always wanted to live in the San Francisco Bay area and after the passing of my partner I realized that Australia was not the place I wanted to live forever. I have always enjoyed America and Americans. After my partner died, I no longer felt connected to Australia.
I set up a very successful practice in Australia and for 18 months didn’t consider the option of moving the the US. Knowing what immigration is like, I knew it would take marriage or similar and I wasn’t interested in traversing that route. While I was in San Francisco on a continuing education workshop I was chatting with a friend originally from the UK. She just said “why don’t you look into it. There may be a way.”
I researched various visas and discovered the E2 visa. It didn’t sound easy, so I called several attorneys to get an idea of success rate with the visa, and find out exactly what I needed to do. Chris Ingram gave me a huge amount of time up front to explain the ins and outs of an E2. He gave advice without charging and his advice differed slightly from other attorneys, some of whom had only entertained a conversation at a cost.
What I discovered was the Chris’s knowledge of the E2 was more indepth than the other attorneys with whom I spoke. They all suggested that ‘committed funds’ meant that I could just schedule the funds to spend once I had been granted the visa. Chris was adamant that ‘committed’ meant ‘spent’ money.
I applied for an E2 investment treaty visa which I was warned was an incredibly difficult visa to obtain. The only other option open to me was to marry my boyfriend, but I had no interest in having to be attached for the visa. Because I am a bodyworker, I don’t particularly need to invest a huge amount of money to set up my business. All I really need is a room and a table and some sheets. So I had to come up with a way to invest that made sense. Applying for an E2 visa meant that I had to seriously think about what I wanted to do and achieve. It forced me to build a business plan and consider my future beyond mere bodywork.
Creating my business plan was a breakthrough for me. It allowed me to consider my true vision for a business. The process took one year from the date I appointed Chris Ingram as my immigration attorney. Once my business plan was written, I organized leaving the life I had established in Australia and came to the US. My first job then was to find premises and a landlord kind enough to take me on (given immigration may have refused my visa, the landlord knew it was a risk). Most landlords wanted some sort of untenable clause written into the contract, but I finally found the ideal space and with it, the ideal landlord.
I then had to make purchases, and get the space ready for business. For the E2 Investment Treaty Vias, I needed to be ready for business in order for my application to be considered.
With the space ready, documents finalized, it became a waiting game. This was possibly the most stressful stage of the process. I paid for premium processing which means that immigration guarantees to have an answer to you within 14 days, so I quickly had a response to say that they required more ‘evidence’. They were effectively asking for more time and the documents requested, bar having a Yellow Pages listing, had already been produced.
So that took another couple of weeks and more expense to get the additional ‘evidence’ over to immigration. Immigration then made a positive decision within a few days. I liked that Chris Ingram was knowledgeable and willing to provide as much information as possible prior to my appointing him as my attorney.
I also like the website set up. It’s easy to keep track and beats having to mail everything.
When I found out I was approved, I have no idea what I was doing. I felt immense relief and absolutely delighted. The weight off my shoulders was tangible. I live in northern California. The climate is amazing (not that it was bad in Australia!), the people are friendly, unassuming and very encouraging.
In Marin County, where I have my business, there is a wonderful community feel and everyone is eager for me to succeed. In terms of what I’ll miss the most in Australia – friends, my horse and my property. I feel more at home in the US than I ever did in Australia or Britain, so all in all there is not a huge amount to miss.
The main advice I would give is that you need to be absolutely committed. Even when things look unlikely or you have doubts (which you will, frequently), you have to remain focused and committed. Only the commitment can pull you through. There is no point applying for the E2 Investment Treaty Visa unless you are willing to go through some pain – mental, emotional and psychological. It is not for the fainthearted. Your business plan must almost be like the love of your life. You have to believe in it and believe in yourself. You also need to have cash to invest for this particular visa.
My business was a start up. I was granted my visa in July 2012, it is now November 2012 and the plans I had in my business plan that were going to happen 3 years down the track are already coming to fruition. Having gone through the somewhat painful process of obtaining an E2 visa, my commitment to what I do and what I would like to achieve is higher than it ever could have been before.
I have extraordinary clients already, and they refer me to friends and colleagues. I feel blessed in the extreme.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
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Tel: 310 496 4292
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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