In this article we discuss the top requirements for E2 treaty investor visa for the United States and how to apply for E2 visa.
The E2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant visa investor program of the United States government that allows an E-2 investor to live and work in the US together with their family in exchange for investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business.
The E2 visa does not automatically lead to a US green card or US citizenship and should not be confused with a citizenship by investment program offered by other countries.
The United States has a different citizenship by investment program – the EB5 Investor Program – which is available to foreign nationals investing the required minimum amount of $800,000 in rural areas or $1,050,000 in urban area under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.
However, the E2 treaty investor visa is available to a broader category of investors and entrepreneurs and can be obtained by investing much lower amounts and there are no required minimums necessary to qualify for an E2 visa. Another benefit is that the E2 visa can be renewed indefinitely.
Key E2 treaty investor visa requirements
The key E2 treaty investor visa requirements for E-2 investors are:
- The E-2 investor must be a citizen of one of the E2 investor visa countries.
For the most current list of E2 investor visa countries please visit out dedicated page. We also provide a list below of all E2 visa countries as of January 2023.
Currently, the E2 investor visa countries are 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, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
- The E-2 investor must invest a substantial amount in a US enterprise.
The E-2 investor must invest a substantial amount of money or other assets in a US enterprise, either by purchasing a business, franchise or starting a new business in the United States. The amount of investment is not set up by law and whether the investment is substantial is determined on a case by case basis.
For example, a $50,000 can be a substantial amount of investment if the total cost of doing business is not high. A business consulting firm for example does not require the same amount of investment as a restaurant or bakery and for a business consulting firm $50,000 may be considered a substantial amount but not for a restaurant. In simple terms, whether the amount of investment is substantial depends on the type of business.
- The E-2 investor must be in control of the funds.
The E-2 investor must have the funds obtained from a legal source and not as a result of illegal activities.
The source of the funds can include inheritance, gifts, sale of real estate property, sale of intellectual property, sale of a business, prizes and others. Loans, however, may be an acceptable source of funds for E2 visa but only in specific situations. For more information about loans for E2 visa, please contact us below.
In addition, the E-2 investor must place the funds at risk and the funds must be irrevocably committed meaning that the investor must spend the funds or assets (or at least part of the funds) prior to submitting the E2 application. In other words, it is important that the E-2 investor is in a position of losing the investment funds if the E2 treaty investor visa is not approved.
- The E-2 investor must be in a position to develop and direct the business.
The E-2 investor must own a majority stake in the US business. In addition, the investor must have a position in the business that allows he or she to actively participate in developing and directing the business.
The E-2 investor cannot take a passive role in the business because the E2 visa is not designed for investors who are looking to make a passive investment and not participate in the management and success of the E2 business.
However, the E-2 investor may enter into a partnership or joint venture with another individual, company or franchise to assist with running the business while still being a position to develop and direct the business.
Our E2 visa attorneys in Miami, Florida USA can help you with the E2 visa corporate structure, partnership agreements, joint ventures and the entire E2 visa process.
- The E2 business must be real and active.
The E2 business must conduct commercial activities and offer a tangible good or service to customers. It cannot the type of business that is idle or passive such as company that invests in stocks, bonds other securities or intellectual property. Investments in a real estate business may qualify for an E2 visa only in certain circumstances. To find out more about the E2 visa and real estate please contact us below.
- The business must not be marginal.
The projected business income must be significant enough to hire employees and contribute to the US economy.
The E2 treaty investor visa can also be used to send employees to the US. The E2 visa requirements for employees are discussed in a separate article.
How to apply for E2 visa?
There are two options to apply for E2 visa:
- If the E2 investor is in the United States on a different nonimmigrant visa, he or she can file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E2. In the case of E2 visa for employees, if the employee is in the United States on another nonimmigrant visa, the E2 employer can file Form I-129 on the employees’ behalf.
- If the E2 investor is outside of the United States, then the E2 application is filed with the US Consulate at US embassies abroad and the E2 investor does not need to file Form I-129. In this case, the processing of the E2 application and E2 interview takes place at US consulates and embassies abroad.
Malescu Law can assist
For more information about the E2 treaty investor visa contact our Miami, Florida USA E2 visa attorneys below.
Our E2 investor visa attorney in Miami, Florida USA assists investors and entrepreneurs with E2 treaty investor visa application, E2 business plan, E2 business selection and franchise and any other services related to the E2 visa process.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers