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E-2 visa, the most popular visa for foreign investors


E-2 visa – The most popular visa for foreign investors

An E-2 visa allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.  Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

General Qualifications of a Treaty Investor

To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty foreign investor must demonstrate the following:

  • The investor is the national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation (Evidence: the investor’s foreign passport).

  • The investor has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States (Evidence: see here a general list).

  • The U.S. company is a for-profit, real and operating commercial enterprise (Evidence: tax returns, financial statements).

  • The investor possesses and controls the funds (Evidence: complete money trail showing investment is derived from investor’s foreign business, salary, bonus, dividends, sale of real estate property etc.).

  • The investor puts the investment capital at risk (Evidence: unsecured personal business capital or capital secured by personal assets)

  • The investor irrevocably committed the capital to the E-2 enterprise (Evidence: proof that actual investment was already made in the U.S.)

  • The visa applicant’s investment is substantial and is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living. Businesses that do not have the capacity to generate future income or create jobs are regarded as vehicles to providing the owner a job and compete against U.S. workers (Evidence: 5-year business plan with financial and employment projections indicating that this is not a speculative business but one that is likely to become a successful enterprise)

  • The foreign investor is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise (Evidence: proof of ownership of at least 50% of the enterprise)

  • The visa applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive / supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States (Evidence: qualifications to show education, experience and know-how to successfully manage the business);

  • The E-2 foreign investor intends to depart the United States when the E status terminates (Evidence: written statement from investor);

Period of Stay

Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years.  Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 non-immigrant may be granted.  All E-2 non-immigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

Terms and Conditions of E-2 Status

A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted.  An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:

  • Relationship between the organizations is established

  • Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills

  • Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.

Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees

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

For more information about how to prepare and apply an E-2 visa, contact our office here to get started.