E-2 Investor Visa

E-2 Visa Summary

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows certain foreign national investors and their employees to obtain immigration status in the United States.  The status is valid for two years, and can be extended indefinitely.  The E-2 Visa holder’s spouse and children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive derivative E-2 visa status.

General Requirements

There are three major requirements for a company and individual to be eligible for E-2 visa status:

  • A qualifying treaty must exist between the United States and the applicant’s Country,
  • Majority ownership or control of the investing company must be held by nationals of a qualifying Country, and
  • Each employee or principal of the company who seeks E status must possess citizenship in a qualifying country.

E-2 Visa Qualifying Countries

Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus,Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, The Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Moldovia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, The Slovak Republic, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.

This list is subject to change, so please contact the firm if you think your country qualifies.

 Who Can Obtain the E-2 Visa?

A qualifying company can obtain E-2 visa status for certain investors and employees.  Qualifying investors must be coming to the U.S. to direct or develop the business.  Additionally, the investor must demonstrate either owning 50% of the business, or having another means of operational control over the business.

Employees of the company are also eligible for E-2 status if the employee is coming to act in an executive or supervisory position, or has essential skills to the company.

All E-2 visa applicants must have the same nationality as the qualifying company.

E-2 Visa Family Benefits

The E-2 investor can provide immigration status to his or her spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.  The spouse of the E-2 visa holder is eligible to obtain work authorization, but cannot work until he or she receives work authorization from USCIS.  Unmarried children are not eligible to work, but can attend school.

Specific E-2 Visa Investment Requirements

The investment made by the E-2 Investor must, among other things, be:

  • Possessed and Controlled by the E-2 Investor
  • Must be at Risk – the investment must be unsecured personal business capital or capital secured by personal assets.
  • Irrevocably Committed – If the investment has not already been made, the capital must be in the process of being invested and be irrevocably committed.
  • Made in Bona Fide Commercial or Entrepreneurial Undertaking – the investment must be in an enterprise that produces a service or commodity for profit and must be “doing business” in the United States.
  • Substantial – There is no set monetary floor as to how much capital must be invested.  Instead, the investment must be enough to ensure to a reasonable extent that the business invested in is not speculative, but is, or soon will be, a successful enterprise as a result of sound business and financial judgment.  This is perhaps the most important concept for small businesses.
  • In a Non Marginal Enterprise – The E-2 company must not be a marginal enterprise (a business that does not have a present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his/her family).  This concept is overcome by demonstrating the ability to expand job opportunities for U.S. workers.

E-2 Visa Application Process

In most cases, E-2 applicants apply for E-2 status by submitting an application directly to a U.S. Consulate in the applicant’s country.  In most countries the E-2 applicant will need to submit an initial application to the consulate.  The initial application will include a support letter from the E-2 investor and documentation demonstrating that the company and applicant is eligible for classification as an E-2 visa holder.   This initial application will be document heavy and will require significant documentation about the company, its investors, and the applicant.

After the initial application is submitted, the applicant will be summoned for an interview at the Consulate.  The interview will be much less document oriented, and will focus on the applicant’s eligibility for the visa.

Once the visa is approved, the E-2 applicant will be able to enter the United States.  Each time he or she enters the U.S., the E-2 Visa holder will be granted two years of admission.

In certain limited situations it is preferable and possible for an E-2 applicant to apply while in the United States and by submitting an application directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”).

E-2 Visa Attorney Contact Information:

For more information, please contact the firm immediately to discuss whether your company and employees are eligible for E-2 status.