E-2 Visa

Non-US citizens who want to work for or invest in a US business may be eligible for an E-2 visa if they meet certain criteria. In general, E-2 visas apply to treaty investors who invest a substantial amount of money into a US business and will manage or direct that business while in the US.

E-2 Visa Eligibility and Benefits

The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows eligible individuals to invest in a US business and live and work in the country to develop and manage that business.

Qualifying for the E-2 Visa

As a non-US citizen, you can qualify for the E-2 visa only if you are a citizen of a treaty country and you apply for the appropriate visa in your home country before entering the US. A list of current treaty countries can be found at the bottom of this page. Further, you must:

  • Have either invested or must be in the process of making a substantial investment in a bona fide US enterprise, and
  • Seek to enter the US for the sole purpose of developing and managing the enterprise or business receiving your substantial investment.

Whether invested funds are considered “substantial” will depend on whether there is a risk of the partial or total loss of your capital if the business enterprise fails. If yes, then the funds that you have deployed into the business will qualify as an investment for the purpose of the E-2 visa.

Benefits of Choosing the E-2 Visa

There are many reasons you may want to apply for an E-2 visa, including:

  • Buying or setting up a business in the world’s biggest and most powerful economy.
  • Living in the US to personally direct and manage the business/enterprise.
  • No minimum investment requirement. You will qualify as long as you make a substantial investment in your business.
  • No restrictions or conditions on the nature of business, scale of transactions, or markets of operations for your US enterprise.
  • No onerous conditions related to language proficiency, educational qualifications, work experience, or even business management experience.
  • You can qualify to live and manage the business in the US as a key managerial employee of the treaty investor.
  • Bring your family along with you and enjoy the right to live and work in the US as long as you continue to fulfill the conditions and requirements of the E-2 visa.

Is the E-2 Visa the Right Option for You?

  • Are you a citizen of a treaty country?
  • Do you want to invest in a new or existing business in the US?
  • Do you have the capacity to make a substantial investment in a US enterprise?
  • Can you prove the legal source of your funds and that they were not obtained, directly or indirectly, from any illegal activity?
  • Will you live and work in the US for the sole reason to develop, manage, and direct your US business?

If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, then you are eligible for the E-2 visa. However, be sure you understand each of the requirements before you apply for your visa.

What is a Treaty Country and Treaty Investor?

You are a treaty investor if you are a citizen of a treaty country.

A treaty country is one that has:

  • Entered into a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US, or
  • A qualifying international agreement with the US, or
  • Acquired the status of a qualifying country based on US legislation.

Citizenship of the treaty country is mandatory for the treaty investor and/or an investor’s employee performing executive or supervisory duties. Family members accompanying treaty investors and/or employees need not be citizens of a treaty country.

How is Substantial Investment Defined?

Unlike the EB-5 immigrant visa, there is no minimum investment required under the E-2 visa. Instead, your eligibility depends on making a substantial investment in a US enterprise.

Whether the ‘substantial’ requirement is met depends on multiple factors including:

  • Quantum of Investment

How does your investment amount compare to the cost of buying an established enterprise or setting up a new similar business in the US?

  • Investor’s Commitment to the Enterprise

Does your investment indicate your commitment to ensuring the success of the US enterprise? Is it significant enough to encourage you to ensure successful and profitable operations of the business?

  • Financial Commitment

What is the proportion of your investment compared to the total cost of the enterprise? This aspect will be considered to assess how likely you are to actively participate in the management of the operations of the business.

  • Marginal Enterprise

A marginal enterprise is one that cannot sustain the investor and his/her family in the US. A substantial investment in a marginal business will not help you qualify for the E-2 visa.

Generally, the capacity to generate adequate returns/profits will be assessed over a period of up to five years.

Visa Options for an Employee of a Treaty Investor

Similar to an E-1 visa, E-2 visas are available to the treaty investor as well as his/her employees.

The eligibility requirements for an employee of a treaty investor are substantially the same as those applicable to the E-1 Treaty Trader visa.

The employee must:

  • Either perform executive or supervisory duties that give them control and responsibility for the overall operations of the investment enterprise, or
  • Have such special qualifications that make him/her essential to the efficient operations of the investment enterprise.

Such special qualifications may include:

  • Proven operational expertise
  • Unique skills absent in other employees
  • Higher salary due to the special qualifications, and
  • Absence of workers with such skills/qualifications in the US

If the employer is a business, organization, or enterprise, then the following additional conditions must be fulfilled:

  • More than 50% stake in the employer business must be owned by citizens of the same treaty country.
  • Such owners must either be in the US as E-2 visa holders or should be eligible if they were to apply.

Living and Working in the US

Neither the investor nor the employee is permitted to work for any business or organization other than the investment enterprise.

An E-2 visa holder can work for the parent organization in the treaty country or any of its subsidiaries in the US provided:

  • There is a clear relationship between the organizations,
  • The duties continue to remain executive, supervisory, or essential skills, and
  • The terms of employment remain unchanged.

The investor/employee can be accompanied by their spouses and dependent children younger than 21 years of age. Their stay will run concurrently with the stay of the principal applicant i.e. the E-2 visa holder.

Validity of the E-2 Visa

The visa is initially issued for a period of two years and can be extended for further periods of up to two years per extension. There is no maximum limit on the number of extensions provided the investment and other requirements of the E-2 visa continue to be fulfilled.

Treaty investors, but not their family members, are eligible for an automatic two-year extension if their visa expires when they are abroad and they will be granted the same visa status when seeking readmission into the US.

Since the E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa, you must be able to prove intent to depart from the US at the expiration of the visa’s validity.

Trust an Experienced Immigration Attorney to Help Obtain Your E-2 Visa

When the future of your business is on the line and you need to be in the US to ensure its success, you need a skilled advocate to help you obtain an Entrepreneur Visa. Attorney Rohit Srinivasa understands what you are facing and he can create the best solution for your unique situation. Call (323) 739-7532 or complete our simple online form to schedule a free initial 20-minute consultation today.

List of E-2 Treaty Countries

● Albania

● Argentina

● Armenia

● Australia

● Austria

● Azerbaijan

● Bahrain

● Bangladesh

● Belgium

● Bolivia

● Bosnia and Herzegovina

● Bulgaria

● Cameroon

● Canada

● Chile

● China (Taiwan)

● Colombia

● Congo (Brazzaville)

● Congo (Kinshasa)

● Costa Rica

● Croatia

● Czech Republic

● Denmark

● Ecuador

● Egypt

● Estonia

● Ethiopia

● Finland

● France

● Georgia

● Germany

● Grenada

● Honduras

● Ireland

● Israel

● Italy

● Jamaica

● Japan

● Jordan

● Kazakhstan

● Korea (South)

● Kosovo

● Kyrgyzstan

● Latvia

● Liberia

● Lithuania

● Luxembourg

● Macedonia

● Mexico

● Moldova

● Mongolia

● Montenegro

● Morocco

● Netherlands

● New Zealand

● Norway

● Oman

● Pakistan

● Panama

● Paraguay

● Philippines

● Poland

● Romania

● Senegal

● Serbia

● Singapore

● Slovak Republic

● Slovenia

● Spain

● Sri Lanka

● Suriname

● Sweden

● Switzerland

● Thailand

● Togo

● Trinidad & Tobago

● Tunisia

● Turkey

● Ukraine

● United Kingdom

● Yugoslavia