The E-2, also called the treaty investor visa, is for investors who are nationals of a treaty country and who would invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. A treaty country is a country with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation. A list of these countries is available on the Department of State’s website here. If your country is not listed, there are options still available, but these options are beyond the scope of this article. Please view our visa services and contact us by filling out the form below, and we can discuss your other options.
To be eligible for this visa, the investor must be a foreign national of the treaty country, have invested or in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business, and have the intention of entering the U.S. for the sole purpose of pursuing that business.
An investment is the treaty investor placing his or her own capital at risk in the commercial sense with the purpose of generating a profit. This means the capital must be subject to total loss.
The level of investment must be substantial, and a substantial investment is where the investment is substantially proportionate to the total cost of either purchasing the business or establishing a new one and sufficient to ensure the success of the business.
Finally, the business must be a real, active, and operating commercial undertaking that produces services or goods for profit. Marginal businesses, where the business will earn a slight or marginal profit, are prohibited. The business must be capable of supporting the treaty investor and his or her family within 5 years the investment occurs.
The length of stay for the E-2 treaty investor visa initially is 2 years. The treaty investor may leave and return to the United States using the E-2 visa for re-entry. Upon re-entry, the E-2 visa will be renewed for an additional 2 years. This renewal happens automatically. There is no maximum length. However, the treaty investor must continue his or her relationship with the business.
Family members may accompany the treaty investor, such as spouses or unmarried children who are under the age of 21. The spouse may apply for work authorization. However, the family member’s E-2 status will not be automatically renewed unless they accompany the treaty investor. Family members must watch for the E-2 status expiration and file for renewal.
As you can see, the E-2 visa is complex but allows for a foreign national to enter the U.S. for the purpose of owning and operating a business. Please fill out the form below to discuss with us your options.