The E-2 Visa

In a sense this is the simplest of all the Investor/Permanent residency visas. The E-2 Visa is based on a treaty between the U.S. and certain other countries. It is issued to the foreign nationals of these treaty countries solely based on the foreign national investing (this includes buying or starting a business) in a U.S. business. They must develop and manage the business in which they have invested. As such, to qualify for this visa the applicant must have invested or plans to invest in the near future a substantial amount of capital within America.

To be eligible for the E-2 Visa, you must:

Additional Expectations and Requirements

The USCIS will expect the minimum employment for E-2 Visa holders. The visa holder needs to act as the owner, CEO, President, Chairman of the Board etc. They cannot act as workers. Under them, a manager (optional) and under the manger at least 1 to 2 workers (if no manager 2 workers). Note that a spouse, child, or parent can frequently qualify as an employee or manager (even though they are coming here under the same visa).

Let’s take a simple example such as a Beauty Salon (Hair Dresser). The owner can act as the greeter, receptionist, cashier (they need to be perceived as overseeing the business and not as being a cashier or receptionist) and/or a bookkeeper for example. However, the owner cannot act as a hair dresser or a stylist even though they may be qualified to do so. They could be a supervisor overseeing the hair dressers/stylists. This at times can be a little tricky where you have few employees.

While the investor does have the opportunity to bring his employees to the U.S. The individuals from the foreign country needs to establish they will work in the E- 2 business in either a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity for them to qualify for an E-2 Visa. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify. In some instances, it may be best to explore the L-1 visa when companies are transferring employees to the U.S. Also this is usually easier in larger companies (by number of employees) with specialized needs.

The E-2 Investor Visa is initially valid for two to five years typically and may be extended indefinitely. However, there is no direct path to permanent residence or citizenship for the investor or their family.

Other Considerations:

The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States – read this to mean it must employ U.S. citizens or residents.

BENEFITS OF OBTAINING AN E- 2 VISA: This visa is great for families of treaty nations who wish to either buy an existing business or create a new business in the U.S. The individual seeking the business must be at some level active in it. The investment is considered to be active rather than passive. With the visa: you can work legally in the U.S. for a U.S. company that is the subject of the investment. You can stay on a prolonged basis with unlimited extensions as long as you maintain valid E-2 status (i.e. so long as the business remains in operation). Approvals of E-2 Visas tend to be fast as compared to other visas and are not subject to annual limits or quotas. You may bring your dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) to live with you in the U.S. Your spouse may seek employment by applying for an employment authorization card once the E -2 Visa is approved. Your children under 21 years of age can study in the U.S; and you may purchase real estate in the U.S. ​