How to get E-2 Visa for the United States

Apr 10, 2021


The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is the perfect option for individuals who are looking to move, reside, and work in the United States by investing as little as $80,000. Thousands of foreign nationals choose the E-2 Visa route to the United States each year, and you could be next!

The E-2 Visa is available for citizens from countries that maintain special commerce treaties with the United States. An updated list of the Treaty Countries is held by the US Department of State and may be found here.

Key employees and certain dependent family members may be eligible as well, and no investment is required from these categories.

E-2 Visas can be valid for periods of up to 5 years and can be renewed indefinitely if the individual and the business maintain the necessary qualifications.

E-2 Visa approval rates are much higher than those of other visas. However, it is crucial to be prepared and know exactly how to obtain your E-2 Visa and whether you qualify to apply for one. Our E-2 Visa attorneys will guide you through everything you need to know about the E-2 Investor Visa so you can begin to reap the benefits of bringing your investment abroad.

E-2 Visa Requirements for Investors

General requirements to start your E-2 Visa process and qualify for E-2 Visa status are the following:

(a)  Be a national of a treaty country.

(b)  Make a substantial investment in a US business enterprise.

(c)  Put your investment “irrevocably at risk.”

(d)  Engage in a business capable of not just providing a living for the beneficiary of the visa and his family, but instead having a significant impact on the US economy.

Below, we explore these requirements in further depth to help you determine whether you may be eligible to apply for an E-2 Visa.

Nationality Requirements

E-2 Visa status may be granted to nationals of foreign countries maintaining special treaties of friendship or commerce with the United States. Employees should have the same nationality as the investor, whereas family members may be citizens of different countries.

When the E-2 investor is a business entity, the nationality requirement is met if at least 50% of the company is ultimately owned by a national of a treaty country.

E-2 Visa Investment Requirements

A qualifying investment for E-2 Visa purposes should be “substantial” e.g. sufficient to sustain your business and make it successful. No statutory minimum investment is required, but E-2 Visa applicants should expect to invest at least $80,000 US dollars. However, E-2 Visas have also been granted for lower investments. The magnitude of the investment really depends on the type of business you plan to run.

Additionally, funds should be placed irrevocably at risk, e.g. utilized for business-related expenses which should be no longer recoverable if the venture goes sideways.

To receive an E-2 Visa, the business in which you invest should engage in an active trade of goods or services, as opposed to a passive investment, such as buying stocks or real estate properties. Passive investments do not qualify for E-2 Visa purposes.

Business Should Not Be Marginal

An important part of qualifying for an E-2 Visa is showing that your business shoudl not be marginal. A marginal business is one that is capable of providing a living solely for the investor and his or her family. A business is not marginal, and therefore meets the E-2 Visa requirements, if it has a significant impact on the US economy by creating jobs and expanding business opportunities for other players.

At the time of the initial application, this requirement will be met by providing a 5-year business plan showing how the business will increase revenue and become self-sufficient within such time period.

E-2 Visa Requirements for Family Members and Employees

In addition to the investor, certain family members and employees may be eligible for an E-2 Visa. Knowing who can apply and how to do so can help expedite your E-2 Visa process.

E-2 Visa for Family Members

If the applicant has successfully obtained the E-2 Visa, certain family members will also be entitled to the E-2 Visa as dependents by filing the DS160 online form and showing up at the interview with the principal applicant (except for children under 14 years old, who are not required to attend the interview).

Entitled family members are limited to spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Their E-2 Visa will have the same duration as the principal beneficiary’s.

Once in the United States, the spouse shall be allowed to work for the E-2 Visa business, to work for any other business, or to create his or her own business.

The spouse is required to file form I-765 (work authorization) and obtain the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to legally work in the United States. Underage children, however, shall only be allowed to enroll in school.

E-2 Visa for Key Employees

The E-2 Visa is also available for the investor’s employees as long as they hold the same nationality as the investor and will be employed in an executive or managerial capacity, or if they can show skills or specialized qualifications essential to the efficient and successful operation of the business.

Executive, managerial, or supervisory duties are those which primarily provide the employee with ultimate control and responsibility over the company’s operations, or at least a department of it.

Essential skills and special qualifications are those that are not readily available in the US labor market. Several factors come into play when considering this requirement.

If the E-2 company is owned by nationals of two different treaty countries, qualifying employees may come from either or both countries.

E-2 Visa Costs and Processing Time

The E-2 Visa beneficiary and his family members will be charged $205 each at the time of the DS-160 online filing. An additional $305 will be charged to each one of them if the visa is approved. Attorney’s fees are charged in addition to said expenses.

The E-2 Visa processing time varies and can take anywhere from 5 weeks to 3 months. After the consular interview, you can get the E-2 Visa on your passport in just a few days!

From E-2 Visa to Green Card

The E-2 Visa does not automatically lead to, or result in, a Green Card in the future. However, since the E-2 Visa is a dual intent visa, you have the chance to apply for a green card while on E-2 Visa and change your status from non-immigrant to immigrant.

If you apply for the EB-5 Investor Green Card after the E-2 Visa, funds invested to qualify for the E-2 Visa can be applied towards the EB-5 required investment.

Basic Steps Toward Your United States E-2 Visa

In conclusion, the steps to get your E-2 Visa for the United States include the following:

  1. Determine if you are eligible for an E-2 Visa by scheduling a consultation with our E-2 Visa attorneys.
  2. Decide what kind of business you want to invest in.
  3. Form your US business entity.
  4. Transfer your funds to the US entity bank account.
  5. Start spending money in business related expenses, such as construction, rent, equipment, lawyers, accountants, etc.
  6. Put together and file your E-2 Visa application with the US Embassy in your country.
  7. Schedule and attend the consular interview.
  8. Pick up your passport with your brand-new E-2 Visa!

Need Help Getting Through Your E-2 Visa Process?

First, read more about the topic: take a look at our articles, E-2 Visa Investment Requirements and Who’s Eligible for E-2 Investor Visa, among others.

Then, start off the E-2 Visa application process. Making sure your application is filed correctly is crucial to the success of your E-2 Visa case. When you work with our E-2 Visa attorneys at E-2VisaWorld, we will help you navigate your E-2 Visa process smoothly and obtain the desired result.

Our E-2 Visa lawyers have helped hundreds of individuals with this specific process and we are ready to help you, too. Contact E-2VisaWorld today to schedule a free consultation! Or fill out our Eligibility Survey and we will contact you back immediately.

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