The E-2 Investor Visa: Requirements, Eligibility, and Benefits in the USA

The E-2 Investor Visa: Requirements, Eligibility, and Benefits in the USA

The E-2 Investor Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for individuals who seek to invest in a business in the US. This visa offers an avenue for investors, entrepreneurs, and business-minded individuals. To establish or purchase a business in the U.S., reside in the country, buy a house, and actively work for their business operations.

We leverage our expertise to provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of business immigration, from capital raising and daily business operations to strategies for business growth. There are basic standards that the investor must fulfill in order to be eligible for an E-2 Investor Visa.

What is the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa specifically for investors, entrepreneurs, and individuals aspiring to run a business in the US. To be eligible for an E-2 visa, you can initiate a business in the U.S. Purchase an existing business or franchise, or make investments in an established U.S. Purchase an existing business or franchise, or make investments in an established U.S. business. Additionally, the E-2 Visa permits foreign investors to bring essential employees to the U.S. to assist in running the business.

It’s important to note that the E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it does not grant permanent residency or automatically qualify you for a Green Card. However, there are pathways to transition from an E-2 visa to a Green Card, which we will discuss later. The E-2 Investor Visa allows citizens of certain countries that have an E-2 treaty with the United States to temporarily come to the U.S. together with their spouses and children to live and work. It also grants the flexibility to travel outside of the United States multiple times.

The E-2 Visa can be renewed indefinitely. As long as you continue to meet the E-2 visa requirements and your E-2 business remains operational.

What are the benefits of the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa offers numerous advantages for investors and entrepreneurs, including:

  • Full-time Living and Working in the U.S.: E-2 visa holders can live and work in the United States on a full-time basis. Providing an opportunity to actively manage their business.
  • Multiple Entry: The E-2 visa is multi-entry. Allowing the visa holder and their family (spouse and children) to travel internationally without restrictions.
  • Inclusion of Family: E-2 visa holders can bring their spouse and children under the age of 21. Moreover, the spouse on an E-2 visa has an unrestricted right to work in the U.S. Granting them the flexibility to work for any company in the U.S., either full-time or part-time, or even start their own business.
  • Education Opportunities: Children can attend U.S. schools, colleges, and universities without the need for an F-1 student visa.
  • Renewal Flexibility: E-2 Visa holders can renew or extend their E-2 visa as many times as they wish, allowing them to continue living and doing business in the U.S. indefinitely.

While the E-2 visa offers numerous benefits, there are a few disadvantages, such as:

  • Limited National Eligibility: The E-2 Visa is available only to citizens of certain countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. Individuals from countries without such treaties are not eligible.
  • Restriction on Employment: E-2 visa holders, including the investor and E-2 employees, can only work for the E-2 business, limiting employment options.
  • Status Duration: When entering the U.S., the investor and their family members are granted a two-year status, which should not be confused with the validity of the E-2 Visa in the passport. Requiring regular renewals is necessary to maintain legal status.

What are the E-2 Visa Requirements?

To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Citizenship: The investor must be a citizen of one of the E-2 Treaty Countries. The E-2 visa is contingent upon the existence of a treaty of commerce and navigation between the U.S. and the investor’s home country.
  • Investment: The investor must have invested or be in the process of investing in a U.S. business. The investment must be substantial. Meaning it should be a significant amount relative to the overall cost of establishing or purchasing the business.
  • Business Operations: The business must be real and actively operating. It should not be a shell company or a passive investment.
  • Non-Marginal Business: The business must be non-marginal. It must have the capacity to generate more than enough income to support the investor and their family. It should contribute to the U.S. economy.
  • Direct Involvement: The applicant must be in a position to develop and direct the business. Passive investors who have no hands-on involvement do not qualify for the E-2 Visa.
  • Intent to Depart: The applicant must have a genuine intent to depart the United States when the E-2 status ends. The E-2 Visa is temporary, and holders are expected to maintain ties to their home country.