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E2 Treaty Investor Visa

An E2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa reserved for foreign businesspersons of countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. E2 investor visas allow foreign investors to enter and work inside of the United States based on a considerable investment in a valid enterprise.

The preliminary period of stay in the United States is up to 2 years, which may be extended or renewed for a period of 2 years at a time.

When making a decision to petition for an E2 work visa, it’s important to take into consideration the key E2 visa requirements both for investors and individual guidelines.

USCIS defines an E-2 investment as the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets at risk (in the commercial sense) with the objective of generating profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of founding a new business project or purchasing a pre-existing business.

Here are several options you could qualify under E2 investor’s visa:

There are two types of investor visas so before looking into E2 visa requirements for investors you need to make sure the E2 visa is right for you as a foreign investor. If you find that this is not the right choice for you there is the option to consider - EB-5 investor green card.

The E-2 visa and the EB-5 visa are both great prospects to consider if you are an investor or entrepreneur planning to come to the US.

Both these visas appear to be very similar. Both of them allow you to enter, live and work in the US based on making an investment in a US business. Yet, both of these visas are very different in numerous ways.

To determine which visa is right for depends on your particular immigration goals and your individual circumstances.

To qualify for E2 visa classification, the treaty investor must:
  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains an agreement of commerce and navigation. List of US Treaty countries.
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a considerable amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the US.
  • Be seeking to enter the US exclusively to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or ownership of operative control through a managerial position or other corporate device.
On E-2 visa, you may:
  • Work legally in the company that is an investment vehicle in the U.S.
  • Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
  • Stay on an extended basis with unlimited two-year extensions as long as you maintain E-2 qualifications
  • Be accompanied by your dependents under 21, relatives and spouse. Your spouse may also work while in the U.S. while your dependents may attend U.S. schools, colleges, and universities, and do not have to apply for separate student visa.
However, the disadvantages are as follows:
  • E2 visas are available exclusively to nationals of countries (listed below) having investment agreements with the U.S.
  • You are restricted to work exclusively for the specific employer or self-owned business that acted as your E2 visa guarantor
  • E2 visas are approved for two years at a time which makes the application/extension process slow.

Nonetheless, these disadvantages can be considered positive features if they do not affect with your case.

When making a decision to file a petition for an E-2 work visa, it’s important to be aware of the main E-2 visa requirements and individual guidelines for investors. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines an E-2 investment as “the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of establishing a new business venture or purchasing a pre-existing business”.

The investor must invest or be in the process of investing in a company inside the United States in a significant amount (min. $ 100,000).

How to get E-2 status classification if you are inside the US

If the contracted investor is currently in the United States with legal non-immigrant status, he or she can apply for a change of existing status to E-2 classification. If the employee is currently in the United States with legal non-immigrant status, a qualified employer may file on behalf of that employee.

How to get E-2 status classification if you are outside the US

An E-2 classification application cannot be filed if the person is physically outside the United States.

After issuing a visa, the person can then contact the DHS immigration office at the port of entry to the United States to enter as a non-immigrant E-2.

Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities do not need to be the same as the investor’s or employee’s. These family members may seek E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, will be granted the same timeframe of stay as the employee.

If interested, please contact our office for more information on E-2 non-immigrant visa.

For further information click here.

Here are several choices you could qualify under E2 investor’s visa:

Ownership and Control over the business

For E-2 visa, you must show that you own 50% or more of the business or that you have operative control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.

Bona fide enterprise

You must invest in a bona fide new or existing business. A bona fide business is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial enterprise that produces services or goods for profit. The business cannot be an idle asset held for probable appreciation in value, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to conduct business.

Investment must be at risk

You must demonstrate that the wealth you invest is irrevocably dedicated to the business and may be partially or completely lost in the event of bankruptcy. This means that you may not provide a loan to the business with the anticipation of return. Also, the wealth that you invest cannot be idly held in the bank account. You need to demonstrate that the money is used for operational expenses, in order to establish the business, etc. The funds you invest must also be your own.

Investment may not be marginal

The funds invested should be substantial in relation to the total purchase price of an existing business or the creation of the type of business you are considering. The amount of investment depends on the nature of the business.

A marginal business is an enterprise that will not bring more than sufficient income to provide a minimum standard of living for you and your family or to make a substantial economic contribution.

Source of Funds

You must specify a clear and lawful path regarding the source of wealth that you will invest. You must also demonstrate that the funds you invest were not obtained through illegal means.

You are coming to the U.S. to Direct and Develop the Business

You must demonstrate that you will develop and guide the investment business, showing ownership of at least 50% of the business or having operative control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.

Family of E-2 Visa Holders

The spouse of an E-2 nonimmigrant is authorized to obtain employment authorization after submitting an application to USCIS.

Contract investors and employees may be accompanied or followed by immediate family members (spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age). Their nationalities do not need to be the same as the treaty investor’s or employee’s. These family members may seek E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, will be granted the same timeframe of stay as the employee.

If the family members are already in the United States and are seeking a change of status to or extension of stay in an E-2 dependent classification, they may submit a request to the USCIS. Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for an authorization to work in the US. If approved, the E-2 spouse way seek employment anywhere within the US.

The E-2 contract investor or employee may travel abroad and will generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission at the entry port to the United States. Except if the family members are accompanying the E-2 contract investor or employee at the time he/she seeks readmission to the United States port of entry, the new readmission period will not automatically apply to the family members. To legally remain in the United States, family members must apply for an extension of stay before their own authorized stay expires.

It is also possible to apply for a change in your status from E-2 to another classification in order to pave your way US permanent residence (Green Card).

Click here for Ways To Convert An E-2 Visa Into A Green Card

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