Immigration Law Firm

Treaty Investor Visa (E-2)

Treaty Investor Visa (E-2): The E-2 nonimmigrant visa allows foreign nationals who are citizens of certain treaty countries to enter the United States in order to direct and develop a business in which the foreign national has made, or will make, a substantial investment.

General Requirements:

  • The individual investor and/or business must possess the nationality of the treaty company.
  • Jointly owned businesses must be able to prove the enterprise is at least 50% owned by the foreign national.
  • The individual must be entering the United States solely to control, develop and direct the investment enterprise.
  • The investment enterprise must be real and operating to generate a profit.
  • The investment must be at risk of loss and irrevocably committed.
  • The investment must be substantial. There is no official dollar amount required, but our firm advises E-2 applicants invest at least $100,000. The necessary amount of capital varies depending on the cost of the business and the nature of the enterprise.
  • The investment must not be marginal and should have the present or future capacity to generate more income than that necessary to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.
  • Employees of an investment enterprise may enter the United States if they are executives, hold supervisory positions, or are essential to the investment enterprise.

Derivative Benefits and Time Limitations:

  • The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the principal E-2 visa holder to the United States on E-2 visas. The derivative spouse of an E-2 visa holder may apply for employment authorization with USCIS. If the work authorization is approved, there are no restrictions on where he or she may work.
  • Treaty investors are allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extensions may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 via holder may receive. After their initial admission, treaty investors are generally readmitted to the United States for two years, regardless of the expiration date on their visa, if the visa is valid at the time or readmission.
  • The E-2 visa does not allow dual immigrant intent. Thus, treaty investors must maintain intent to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

Procedure:

  • If the individual is outside of the United States, he or she may apply directly for an E-2 visa at the appropriate consulate abroad. There is no need for a previously approved petition from USCIS.
  • If the individual is already within the United States in another lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may petition USCIS for a change of status to E-2.
  • If substantive changes to the nature of the E-2 business take place, an amended petition with USCIS may be necessary to continue eligibility for E-2 status.

Example:

A foreign entrepreneur from a country with an investor treaty with the United States decides to start a restaurant in the U.S. specializing in her local cuisine. She documents the substantial nature of her investment, fulfills all the regulatory requirements for an E-2 visa, and applies at her local consulate abroad.

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