E-2 Visa Updates 2023

Jan 21, 2023

What is E-2 Investor Visa?

E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows citizens of specific countries (see list of Treaty Countries here) to travel, work and reside in the United States (with their family and/or their most important employees) upon an investment of a substantial amount of money in a U.S. commercial enterprise.

To be eligible for an E-2 visa, the individual must:

  • Be a national of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States
  • Be coming to the United States to invest a substantial amount of money in a bona fide enterprise
  • Be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to develop and direct the enterprise.

The E-2 visa is generally valid for five years (with some important exceptions) and can be renewed indefinitely as long as both the sponsoring entity and the beneficiary  continue to meet the requirements for this type of visa. Spouses and children of E-2 visa holders are also eligible for the E-2 visa and can attend school or work in the United States while on E-2 visa status.

To apply for an E-2 visa, applicants must:

  • Complete the appropriate forms and pay the necessary fees
  • Provide documentation that demonstrates their treaty eligibility, the existence of the business they plan to invest in, and their ability to develop and manage the business.

The E-2 visa is a popular option for individuals who want to start or invest in a business in the United States. However, it is important to note that the E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means that the individual must maintain their residence in their home country and cannot adjust their status to become a permanent resident (unless additional steps are taken).

Latest Updates to the E-2 Visa Program – 2023

The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (“Act”) for Fiscal Year 2023, approved by the US Congress on December 15, 2022, makes a few important modifications to the E visa program.

One of the most significant changes is that Portuguese nationals are now able to apply for both E-1 Treaty trader visas and E-2 Investor visas. Portugal, in fact, has been added to the E-2 and E-1 visa country list. It is still unclear, though, what would be the duration of an E-2 visa for Portuguese nationals.

Another change made to the E visa program impacts E-2 Visa prospective applicants who have obtained a second citizenship through investment with the purpose of becoming eligible for the E-2 visa classification.

The new rule, here, applies to nationals of countries not included in the E-2 visa program, such as China, India, Brasil, Russia, who obtained or seek to obtain citizenship of a country included in the E-2 visa program so to become eligible for E-2 visa.

A few countries around the world (most notably Turkey and Grenada) indeed allow foreigners to become citizens by investing a certain amount of money or purchasing real estate in such country. Once they have done that, in a matter of a few months they may become citizens of that country and then use that passport to qualify for E-2 visa.

Now, the Act has introduced this new rule by which prospective E-2 visa applicants must have resided in their new country of citizenship for a continuous period of at least 3 years before they can apply for an E visa.

As an example, if an individual was born in India and obtained citizenship of Grenada through investment, such individual will be permitted to apply for E-2 visa using the Grenadian passport only after residing in Grenada for at least 3 years. Before the Act went into effect, there was no official requirement to have resided in Grenada for a certain period of time before applying for an E-2 visa.

To our understanding, the Act does not apply if the secondary citizenship was acquired through ways other than investment, such as marriage or descent.

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