E-2 Investor Visa Most Common Questions
What is E-2 Treaty Investor visa?
The E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa allowing individuals from a Treaty Country (see E-2 Visa country list here) to reside and work in the United States for a U.S. company in which they (or other people from the same Treaty Country) have invested a substantial amount of money.
What does a ‘substantial investment’ mean?
There is no minimum amount set for the E-2 Visa investment. Typically, the E-2 Visa investment is considered substantial when it is (i) proportioned to the total cost of either purchasing an existing business or creating a new one, and (ii) appropriate to support the likelihood of success of the business within a few years following its establishment. Despite no minimum amount set, U.S. consulates abroad generally are more inclined to adjudicate E-2 Visa petitions based on at least a $80,000 to $100,000 investment. See our post E-2 Visa Investment Requirements. This rule is not as strict in case of E-2 Visa applications filed from within the U.S. through change of status. See our related article here.
May I contribute assets instead of money?
Yes, you may contribute any tangible or intangible assets that may serve the purpose of the business that you are creating or acquiring in the United States. Tangible asset is, for instance, the equipment, whereas typically, intangible assets are trademarks, licenses and patents.
First you must be a citizen of a Treaty Country. Second, you need to show operational control over the U.S. entity, by either owning at least 50% of it, or by covering a position such as CEO or managing member, whereby you will nonetheless exert control.
Control means power of making binding decisions on behalf of the company, alone or together with an equal partner.
If you are an employee, you should: (i) hold the same nationality as the investor – who must be a national of a Treaty Country and (ii) be employed by the U.S. entity in a managerial or executive capacity, or be employed in a position that requires special skills and qualifications. See more details on the eligibility topic here: Who is eligible for E-2 Investor Visa?
Where should the E-2 Visa funds come from?
Funds constituting the investment should have a legitimate source, cannot originate from criminal activities. Money could derive from personal savings, earnings, wages, proceeds from a sale, or even gifts or loans.
Loans may be subject to additional scrutiny as the Consulate will want to see that the investment is actually at risk. To this end, a loan should be secured by a collateral that will be subject to loss if the E-2 Investor cannot repay the loan.
Unsecured loans will most likely not be considered a suitable source of funds for E-2 Visa purposes.
What’s a good business for E-2 Visa?
Any kind of business involving trade of goods or services is deemed an active investment and it is suitable for E-2 Visa purposes. On the other hand, buying and/or flipping real estate, trading stocks etc., are considered passive investments and therefore are not suitable for E-2 Visa.
Do I need an office for the E-2 Visa?
The answer, ultimately is, depends on the type of business. Securing the premises where to conduct the operations was generally considered a must for an E-2 Visa application.
Now, in the post COVID era, working from home is considered totally acceptable. Of course, if your business is, for instance, a restaurant, you still will have to show a lease agreement for a commercial space.
What benefits do I enjoy on E-2 Visa?
You can live, reside and work in the United States. As opposed to the majority of non-immigrant visas, the E-2 Visa is renewable for unlimited times, as long as the business is still active and profitable.
What are the limitations of the E-2 visa?
The principal investor and his/her employees may work only and exclusively for the E-2 Visa investor business, they would not be allowed to work for anyone else. They may own other companies in the U.S., but they won’t be allowed to work for them.
How long can I stay in the US on E-2 Investor Visa?
On E-2 Visa you will be able to stay in the U.S. for periods of up to 2 years at the time. Before the expiration of the said 2 year period, you will have to leave the country. To be entitled to a new 2 year period you just have to exit and re-enter the U.S.
How long does the E-2 Visa last for and can I renew it?
The E-2 Visa is typically granted for periods from three months to five years, depending on the Treaty Country. As noted above, the E-2 visa can be renewed unlimited times as long as the business is still active and profitable. Read more on this topic here.
Can I bring my family with me?
Yes, you may bring your spouse and your underage children. They will be entitled to E-2 Visa as your dependants.
May I bring employees to work with me?
Yes, you may, as long as your employees will cover a managerial or executive position or they possess skills that are essential to the successful outcome to the business and they won’t compete with American workers in the labor market.
May I travel while on E-2 Visa?
Yes, there is no limitation to travels outside of the U.S. while you are on E-2 Visa. There is no minimum time of permanence in the U.S. while on E-2 Visa status (as opposed, for instance, to the Green Card which requires to be actually present in the U.S. for at least 6 months per year). Different rules apply if you obtain E-2 Visa through change of status. Read more here.
How long does it take to get the E-2 Visa?
Typically 3 months, however, now, in the post COVID era, embassies are backed up and E-2 Visa applications are now suffering substantial delays. At the time of this articles, processing times differ depending on the country, from 9 to 999 days.
Is there a way to expedite the E-2 Visa application process?
E-2 Visa applications through consular process cannot be expedited. Only if you apply from the United Stated through change of status you can pay an extra fee and request the premium processing, lowering the processing time to a couple of weeks.
What can I do if I am not from an E-2 Visa Treaty Country?
Besides considering other visa options (such as L1 or EB-5) you may also pursue other routes, like obtaining a passport from a Treaty Country. For more information see our article: E-2 Visa For Indian, Russian and Chinese Citizens.
Can I change status to E-2 Visa while in the U.S.?
Yes you might apply for E-2 Visa through change of status from the United States, as long as you have valid immigration status at the time of the application. If you entered the United States without a visa or on a Visa Waiver Program, or your status has expired and you have accrued unlawful time in the country, you will not be permitted to change status.
Thinking about an E-2 Visa to move to the United States. Contact our E-2 Visa attorneys. The E-2 Visa application requires the assistance of qualified E-2 Visa lawyers, contact us today for a free evaluation of your case filling out the contact form below or our eligibility survey.