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.
There must be a treaty between the United States and the investor’s
country of nationality. A current list of treaty countries can be
- 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
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.
- 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
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.