E-2 Investor Visa - U.S. Immigration for Investors

Citizens of countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States, may apply for the E-2 Investor temporary work visa. This visa enables the alien to "Develop and Direct" the active US business enterprise. To qualify, the applicant must make a "Substantial" investment in an active US business. Investments in real property (for appreciation potential), and investments in Stocks, and Bonds, are not considered to be active investments. The amount of investment capital required in order to considered "Substantial" is relative to both the total value of the US investment enterprise; and the amount of capital generally required to conduct the particular business enterprise. Thus, where the total value of the investment enterprise is $100,000, an investment of $75,000 may be considered substantial. As a rule of thumb, in cases where the total value of the investment enterprise is less than $500,000 the investor must invest at least an amount equal to 75% of the value of the investment enterprise, for businesses valued at between $500,000 and $1,000,000 the principal investor must invest an amount equal to at least 50% of the value of the investment enterprise, and for businesses valued at over $1,000,000, the principal investor may invest less than 50% of the value of the enterprise to qualify for the E-2 visa.

E-2 Visa Overview

The E-2 visa is valid for one (1) year periods renewable for additional one year periods indefinitely.

At least 50% of the US investment enterprise must be owned by citizens of the E-2 qualifying country.

Managers and Essential personnel from abroad may also qualify for E-2 visa status. Thus. foreign companies and individuals from qualifying E-2 countries may send managers and/or essential personnel to the newly established E-2 enterprise. the nationality of a corporation is determined by the nationality of the corporate shareholders.

Persons with valid nonimmigrant status in the United States may submit an E-2 petition to a regional USCIS Service Center, and apply to change their status to that of an E-2. Aliens entering the United States under the visa waiver program may not change their status in the US to that of an E-2.

Nationals of the following countries may apply for E-2 status:

Albania, Armenia (pending), Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, CANADA, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Korea (South), Kyrgystan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Jordan, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunizia, Turkey, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia, and Zaire.

The legal fee to have our law office prepare and submit an E-2 Visa Application on your behalf, is only $4,000 US dollars, plus application/petition fees, and incidental expenses.

E-2 Visa FAQ

What is a substantial investment for an E-2 Investor Visa?

There are no specific guidelines on what constitutes a substantial investment for the E-2 treaty trader visa, however, an investment of around $200,000 USD is often considered to be a substantial investment. In some cases, however, investments of much less will qualify. The amount invested ultimately depends on the specific business. For investments of $500,000 USD and above, you may then qualify for permanent immigration, if you meet the requirements set forth by the USCIS.

How long is an E-2 Visa Valid for, and can I renew my E-2 Visa?

E-2 Visas are typically valid for 5 years, however, this depends on your country of permanent residence. E-2 visas can be renewed for 5 years at a time, and you may also obtain 2 year status extensions. In this regard, with an E-2 visa, you may remain in the United States indefinitely, as long as you remain qualified for the E-2 visa.

How do I apply for an E-2 visa extension?

  • Complete and submit Form I-129 Peition for Nonimmmigrant worker
  • Complete and submit the E supplement
  • Complete and submit form I-539 (Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status

Along with the above referenced documents, you must also include:

  • A copy of Form I-94 Arrival-Departure document
  • A complete copy of your passport
  • A copy of your original Form I-797 Notice of action
  • A letter from the employer confirming that an E-2 extension is required
  • A copy of your personal and business tax returns (U.S. tax returns) along with payroll tax returns from the past two years

When should I apply for an E-2 Extension?

You should file your E-2 visa extension before your I-94 expires. If you apply for an E-2 visa extension before your I-94 expires, then you may resume work in the United States for 240 days, while waiting for the decision on your extension. If however, you apply for the extension after your I-94 expires, then you may resume for 40 days while waiting for the decision. If you do not receive the decision by the end of the 40 day period, then you must stop work and leave the United States. This is why it is crucial to file your extension for an E-2 visa before your I-94 Arrival-Departure document expires.

Can I change status while on E-2 status?

Yes, you can change your status while in the United States by filing Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). You may also file Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant status. You must indicate the appropriate change of status and include any supporting documentation for the status that you wish to obtain.

Can I study While on an E-2 Visa?

You can study while on an E-2 visa, however, you may not enroll in a full length program at a college or university. You may take a few classes, however, enrolling in a full length program is not allowed, since it conflicts with the purpose of the E-2 visa.

Can I bring my husband of wife and children with me while on an E-2 visa?

Yes you may bring your spouse and dependent children under  21 with you to the United States while you are under E-2 visa status.

Are there any travel restrictions for E-2 visa holders?

There are no travel restrictions associated with an E-2 Treaty Investor visa. You may freely travel in and out of the United States as often as you like, and there are no restrictions on the amount of time that you may spend abroad.

Can my spouse and children work in the U.S. while I am on E-2 Status?

Yes you may bring your spouse and dependent children under  21 with you to the United States while you are under E-2 visa status.

Can my children study at schools while I am on E-2 status?

Your dependent children are allowed to study at schools, colleges, or universities while you are under E-2 status. Your dependent children do not need to obtain separate student visas.

What is the E-2 Visa processing time?

The E-2 visa processing time is usually between 2-4 weeks, however, the actual time may vary depending on the U.S. Consulate at which you applied.

Can I apply for a green card while on E-2 visa status?

You are eligible to apply for a Green Card while under E-2 status as long as you meet the guidelines for one of the following methods:

  • EB-1 Green Card: You can obtain a green card while under E-2 status if you are an “Alien of Extraordinary ability” or a “Multinational Manager or Executive.” If you find yourself in one of these categories, you can file an immigration petition under one of these categories.
  • Family Based Immigration Green Card: You may obtain a green card if you have close relatives in the United States. Your relatives may file a petition in this case.
  • National interest Waiver: If you are an “alien of exceptional ability,” have an advanced degree or an equivalent level of experience, and can show that your services will greatly benefit the United States, then you may file a National Interest Waiver (NIW).
  • Employment Based Immigration: If you can find an employer who is willing to file a Labor Certification form with the Department of Labor, then you may qualify for a green card through the employment based immigration process.

Written by:Mark Carmel