E-2 Investor Visas

E-2  Visas For Investors

If you are from one of the Following Countries and you have money to invest in the United States, this visa option may work for you.

Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, or the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Whales).

If you are, with a personal investment of as little as $50,000 USD into your own business you and your family may be able to  live and work in the United States. Here is how it works:

  1. Create a new business (start up) or invest in an existing business using your personal funds of at least $80,000 USD.
  2. Personal funds can come from any legal source, such as savings, gifts or loans from friends and family, or any other legal source that is not secured against the business.
  3. Apply for Change of Status to E-2 or apply for an E-2 visa in your home country. Processing times are about eight (8) to ten (10) weeks. Premium Processing is available from USCIS for Change of Status at an additional cost, which will lead to an approval in as little as two (2) weeks.
  4. E-2 status will last for up to two (2) years and may be renewed for as along as you develop and control your busines.

Requirement 1 – As a treaty investor, you must be coming to the United States to invest in a new or existing enterprise.

USCIS defines an E-2 investment as the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of establishing a new business venture, or purchasing a pre-existing business. In either scenario, you must demonstrate that the capital you are investing is substantial.

An investment is the treaty investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit.  The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.  The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.  See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(12) for more information.

A substantial amount of capital is:

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
  • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.  The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.  It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.

Requirement 2 – Your investment must be in a bona fide enterprise and may not be marginal. 

A bona fide enterprise is one that is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.  The enterprise cannot be an idle investment held for potential appreciation in value, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to direct the enterprise.

A marginal enterprise is one that will not generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for you and your family or to make a significant economic contribution.

  • The investor, either a person, partnership or corporate entity, must have the citizenship of a treaty country.
  • If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.
  • The investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  • You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity.  Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

Marginal Enterprises

The investment enterprise may not be marginal.  A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.  Depending on the facts, a new enterprise might not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate such income.  In such cases, however, the enterprise should have the capacity to generate such income within five years from the date that the treaty investor’s E-2 classification begins.  See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(15).

REQUIREMENT 3- Period of Stay 

Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years.  Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted.  All E-2 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

An E-2 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States.  It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.

No Dual Intent

Regarding E2 visas and the requirement that an applicant overcomes the presumption of immigrant intent as required by Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Foreign Affairs Manual states that “..absent other evidence, a mere statement of intent to return [to their foreign residence] will suffice”. This is in contrast to the normal 214(b) guidelines which apply to tourist visas wherein the applicant must convince the consular officer that they have significant social, economic and family ties outside of the United States sufficient to convince the consular officer that the applicant will be compelled to return to their foreign residence.