E2 Visa – Requirements, Eligibility and Benefits
The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for individuals who invest in a business in the United States. Employees from the same treaty country as the investor are also eligible for E2 visas.
E2 investor visa allows you to live, work, and raise a family in the United States, while also providing the opportunity to buy a house and other assets. With an E2 visa, you can also bring your spouse and children to the US.
To obtain an E2 visa you can start a business or purchase an existing US business, including a franchise.
Our experienced E2 visa lawyers in Miami Florida USA, provide a comprehensive overview of the E2 visa requirements, eligibility, process and discuss frequently asked questions about the E2 visa.
We use our expertise to advise you on all aspects of business immigration, visas and green card options, daily business operations and growth strategies.
In order to qualify for an E2 visa, the investor must meet certain minimum requirements.
1. What is E2 Visa?
The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for investors, entrepreneurs and individuals who want to do business in the United States. To qualify for E2 visa, you can start a business in the US, purchase a business or franchise, or otherwise invest in an existing US business.
The E2 visa allows investors from treaty countries to temporarily reside and work in the United States together with their spouses and children. In other words, if you get an E2 visa, your spouse and children get one too.
The E2 visa is available only to investors who are citizens of countries that have an E2 treaty with the United States. In addition, investors can bring essential employees to the US to assist them with developing their business.
The E2 visa does not grant you permanent residency in the United States and does not automatically lead to a green card. However, you can go from an E2 visa to a green card, and below you can find several options to achieve that.
Generally, E2 visas are valid for many years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as you continue to meet the E2 visa requirements. With an E2 visa, you can travel outside the United States as many times as needed.
2. What are the benefits of E2 Visa?
- No set investment amount
- You can live and work in the United States
- You and your spouse and children can travel internationally without restrictions
- Your spouse and children under the age of 21 can reside in the United States
- Your spouse has authorization to work in the United States for any employer or be self-employed
- Your children can attend schools, colleges and universities in the United States without requiring an F-1 visa
- You can renew or extend the E2 visa indefinitely
- You can transition from E2 visa to green card
While the E2 visa has numerous benefits, it has some potential disadvantages. The disadvantages include:
- E2 visas are available only to citizens of E2 treaty countries
- E2 investors can work only for the business they are investing in
- E2 visa holders are granted two-year period of authorized stay each time they enter the United States
- With an E2 visa you are not a permanent resident (green card holder)
- E2 visas do not automatically lead to permanent residency
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- Investor is a citizen of an E2 treaty country
- Investor has invested or is in the process of investing in a US business
- Business is real and active
- Investment is substantial
- Business is not marginal
- Applicant is in a position to develop and direct the business
- Applicant intends to depart the United States when the E2 status ends
A. Investor is a citizen of an E2 treaty country
To qualify for E2 visa, you must be a citizen of an E2 treaty country, regardless of whether you became a citizen through birth or naturalization. If you are a citizen of multiple E2 countries, you can apply for an E2 visa using any of your citizenships. Currently, there are over 80 countries that have an E2 treaty with the United States.
If you are a citizen of a country that is not included on the E2 treaty countries list, you do not qualify for E2 visa.
As of November 2023, the E2 visa treaty countries are:
E2 Treaty Countries
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Trinidad & Tobago
Countries that do not have an E2 treaty, include:
B. Investor has invested or is in the process of investing in a US business
To qualify for E2 visa, investors must irrevocably commit the funds or assets invested to the US business. In addition, the investment must be at risk, meaning that you stand to lose the investment if the business fails or the E2 visa is denied.
In practice, funds are irrevocably committed when the investment has been made and the business is either operating or is very close to starting its operations.
For investors purchasing a business or a franchise in the United States, the purchase price usually qualifies as irrevocable investment. However, the success of this approach depends on how the business purchase transaction is structured. Holding the purchase price in escrow contingent upon the issuance of the E2 visa can qualify as irrevocable investment. To ensure compliance with the regulations and increase your chances of approval, it is important to work with an experienced business immigration lawyer who can structure the transaction.
For investors starting a business, expending funds on business expenses associated with the establishment of the business qualifies as irrevocable investment. However, the invested funds must be used only on expenditures that count as investment. Any investment in purchasing or leasing office space or other premises, paying marketing and technology expenses, salary and wages or purchasing equipment, inventory and professional services counts as an investment. Keep in mind that not all financial transactions constitute investment for E2 visa purposes.
Moreover, your funds must come from lawful sources and you must in possession and control of the invested funds.
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 can also be an acceptable source of funds but only in specific situations.
Sources of E2 investment:
- Salary and wages
- Sale of real estate (house, apartment, land)
- Sale of a business, asset sale or stock sale
- Loans under certain conditions
- Gifts and donations
- Capital gains on investments
While cash is the most common form of investment, it is not the only means of qualifying for the E2 visa. You can also contribute equipment, inventory, digital assets, cryptocurrencies and even intangible assets such as intellectual property to satisfy the investment requirement.
C. Business is real and active
To be real and active, the business must produce and sell goods or or service. For example, a real and active business can be a restaurant, bar, yoga studio, gym, hairdresser, marketing agency, yacht rental service, travel agency and others.
However, non-profit organizations and investments in land, stocks and bonds are not considered real and active businesses. Investments in real estate, such as real estate management or property management companies may qualify for E2 investor visa under certain circumstance. You should consult with an experienced business immigration lawyer to assist you with businesses based on investment in real estate.
D. Investment is substantial
To qualify for an E2 visa, your investment in the business must be substantial. The investment amount varies depending on the nature of the business and is determined on a case by case basis.
There is no amount of money that you are required to invest for an E2 visa. Generally, an investment of $100,000 or more is considered substantial, but lower amounts are also acceptable. However, investing $100,000 is not a mandatory requirement and does not guarantee visa approval. Our E2 visa lawyers have had successful E-2 visa applications with investments as low as $50,000.
To determine if the E2 investment is substantial, consular officers apply a proportionality test by comparing your actual investment in the business with the overall cost the business. The cost of an existing business is typically its purchase price. The cost of a startup is the actual cost to bring the business to the point of being operational.
For example, if you want to build a manufacturing facility in Texas, a nursing home in Ohio or a resort in Colorado, then $100,000 is not a substantial investment because the cost of establishing these businesses is significantly higher. These projects require investments of millions of dollars. However, if you want to open a fruit stand in Miami, Florida, an online business in California or a consulting firm in New York, an investment of less than $100,000 can be considered substantial for E2 visa.
E. Business is not marginal
The E2 business must be more than marginal. This means that it must be able to generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for the investor and their family.
According to regulations, the business must have the present or future capacity to generate sufficient income to support the investor and their family, hire employees or make a significant contribution to the US economy within five years of starting operations.
You can prove that the E2 business is not marginal in two ways:
- For a startup, you must present a comprehensive E2 business plan to show that the business has the capacity to generate sufficient income in the future and employ multiple workers. This business plan must include projected future revenue and expenses among others. Keep in mind that the E-2 business plans must adhere to specific immigration guidelines and standards.
- For existing businesses, you can show that the business is already generating sufficient income to meet this requirement or has hired US workers. To that end, you can present US corporate tax returns, financial statements, payroll reports or W-2 and W-9 tax forms.
F. Applicant is in a position to develop and direct the US business
The investor must be in a position to develop and direct the E2 business. This means that the investor either owns at least 50% of the business or has control of the business through managerial control or other corporate device.
As an investor, you can satisfy this requirement by showing that you you own at least 50% of the E2 business and are in a leadership position.
If a foreign business entity owns at least 50% of the E2 business, it must show that it is develops and directs the E2 business.
If you do not own at least 50% of the business, you can satisfy this requirement by showing that you have managerial control of the business.
However, you can also enter into an equal partnership or joint venture with another individual, business or franchise while still being in a position to develop and direct the business.
If you and your business partner each own 50 percent of an E2 business, or you are an equal shareholder in a joint venture or partnership, you can satisfy the “develop and direct” requirement by showing that you each retain full management rights and responsibilities.
You cannot be a passive investor in an E2 business. You must be actively directing the activities of the business. For example, you cannot invest in an E2 business with a partner and have your partner manage the entire business without any involvement from your side.
E2 employees do not need to show that they are entering the United States to direct and develop the E2 business.
G. Applicant intends to depart the United States when the E2 status ends
You must intend to leave the United States when the E2 status ends and not stay in the United States illegally. However, this requirement does not preclude you from applying to renew your E2 visa or obtain a green card. In fact, the E-2 regulations state that you can even sell your house and all your possessions in your home country and still meet this requirement.
The “intend to depart” requirement refers to your intent to obtain a green card, if you choose to do so, through consular processing at a US consulate abroad rather than through adjustment of status within the United States.
You can satisfy the “intent to depart” requirement by signing a statement stating that you intend to depart the United States when the E2 status ends.
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4. What is the process to get an E2 visa?
- First, you must decide whether to start a new business in the United States, purchase an existing business or franchise, become a partner in a business or form a joint venture.
- Second, you must select the industry and commercial activity your business will engage in within the United States.
- Third, consult with an experienced E2 Visa lawyer to ensure your business meets all E2 Visa requirements.
- Fourth, work with your E2 visa lawyer to gather the necessary documents and prepare a complete E2 visa application. This usually requires additional assistance with business formation, asset purchase agreements, joint venture agreements, financing arrangements, mortgage applications, real estate purchases, franchise agreements, franchise disclosure documents and E2 business plan preparation.
- Fifth, submit the application with the US Consulate abroad or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Sixth, after the submission of your E2 application, the US Consulate will review your application and invite you for an interview. The processing time for E2 visa applications varies depending on the specific US consulate where the application was filed and the current volume of visa applications being processed at that location.
- Seventh, attend an E2 visa interview at a US Consulate to discuss your application. On the day of the interview, you should know the details of your entire E2 application, including the business plan prepared for this visa. The duration of the interview can range from 10 minutes to an hour or more depending on the complexity of the E2 case, the nature of the E2 business and the background and individual circumstances of each applicant.
- Finally, upon approval, you receive your E2 visa and start your business venture in the United States.
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5. How to apply for E2 visa?
There are two ways to apply for E2 visa:
- Change of Status in the United States. If you are lawfully present in the United States you can apply for change of status to E2 by filing Form I-129 along with supporting documents to USCIS. In the case of E2 employees, the E2 employer can file Form I-129 on behalf of the employee, provided the employee is present in the United States under another nonimmigrant visa category. However, if you are outside the United States you do not qualify for a change of status.
- Get an E2 visa at a US Consulate abroad. If you are outside the United States you can file the E2 visa application with the US Consulate abroad. In this case, both the E2 visa processing and interview takes place at US consulate. Form I-129 is not required for applications submitted at US Consulates.
6. Do I need a business plan for E2 visa?
You must submit a comprehensive 5-year business plan with your E2 application when you invest in start-up business or business circumstances require a business plan.
However, you are not required to submit a 5-year business plan when you purchase a business.
The government examines your business plan to determine the viability of your E2 business. We work with experienced business plan service providers to ensure your success in obtaining the E2 visa. For a comprehensive overview of the essential components of an E2 visa business plan, visit our dedicated E2 visa business plan page.
7. Can I bring my family with E2 Visa?
Yes, with an E2 visa you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under 21 to the United States. Your spouse and children receive E2 dependent visas which allows them to live in United States for the duration of your authorized stay.
To qualify for E2 visa, your spouse and children do not have to hold the same nationality as you. In fact, they are not subject to any nationality restrictions. This means that even if they do not hold the citizenship of an E2 treaty country, they can still obtain E2 dependent visas.
Your spouse can work in the United States and does not need to obtain a separate work permit. With an E2 visa, the spouse can also study in the US and attend schools and universities.
Your children are not authorized to work but can study and attend any school in the United States.
8. Can child on E2 Visa work?
Regarding volunteering, children on E2 visa can participate in unpaid volunteer activities as long as such activities do not constitute unauthorized employment. However, before engaging in any volunteering activities, it is important to consider the nature and structure of the activity to ensure compliance with immigration laws.
USCIS defines unauthorized employment as any service or labor performed for an employer within the United States by a foreign national who is not authorized to accept employment or who exceeds the scope or period of their employment authorization.
9. Can an E2 visa holder get a social security number (SSN)?
Yes, the E2 investor and their spouse can get a social security number (SSN). Children of E2 visa holders cannot get a SSN because they are not authorized to work in the United States.
However, for your children, you can obtain an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) to claim them as dependents on your IRS income tax return and obtain medical insurance. For more information on how to get an ITIN, contact U.S. Internal Revenue Service or your accountant or tax professional.
All E2 visa holders except children are required to apply for SSNs individually. To obtain the SSN, E2 visa holders must establish their identities and prove their valid immigration status.
To apply for a SSN, the E2 investor and their spouse can submit a request for a social security number online with the Social Security Administration. Following the online submission, they must visit their local Social Security Office within 45 days to present the required documentation and complete the application process in person.
Upon verification of eligibility, the Social Security Office will mail the SSN card to the address provided. To learn more, visit the Social Security Administration website. Applying for a SSN and card is free.
10. What are common E2 visa interview questions?
You should be prepared to answer the following E2 visa interview questions:
- What business are you investing in? Why?
- Where is the business located?
- Why are you applying for E2 visa?
- How are you qualified to run the E2 business?
- What happens with your investment if the E2 visa is denied?
- What do you plan to do after the expiration of the visa?
- What is the source of your funds?
- How many workers do you plan to hire and when?
- How do you plan to develop the E2 business?
- Are you bringing your family with you?
While these questions are examples of common E2 visa interview questions, you may not necessarily be asked the same questions during your interview. However, you should expect to answer similar questions.
Keep in mind that the E2 visa interview questions are tailored to the specific circumstances of each applicant, and as a result you are not asked the same set of question as another applicant.
E2 visa interview questions also vary based on whether you are applying as an investor, E2 spouse or E2 employee.
If you apply for an E2 visa in the United States through change of status with USCIS, you are not required to attend an interview as part of the application process.
11. What is the E2 Visa processing time?
The processing time for an E2 visa varies from two weeks to five months, depending on the specific US Embassy where the application is filed. This includes the time it takes for the US consular officers to review your application and schedule you for an interview.
If your visa application is approved, you can typically receive your passport with the E2 visa within three to five business days. In some cases, you may be able to pick up your passport on the same day as your interview.
You can file your E2 visa application at a US Embassy abroad or directly with USCIS in the United States.
Here is a breakdown of the E2 visa processing timeline:
- Application review: 2 to 4 weeks
- Interview scheduling: 1 to 5 months
- Interview and decision: 1 day
- Passport with E-2 visa: 3 to 5 days (or same day at certain Consulates)
If you apply for E2 visa within the United States, the processing time for E2 applications submitted to USCIS is 15 calendar days with premium processing or about 2 months with regular processing. For the most up-to-date processing times at USCIS, please consult USCIS website.
E2 visa processing time around the world
Please note that the E2 visa processing times at US Embassies are subject to change. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please consult the website of the specific US Embassy.
1. Processing time for Albania is 7 days.
2. Processing time for Argentina is 3 weeks. The initial application or renewal must be sent for review at least 3 weeks before the interview appointment.
3. Processing time for Armenia is 2-4 weeks for initial E2 applications at the US Embassy in Yerevan.
4. Processing time for Australia is approximately 4 weeks at US Consulates in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
5. Processing time for Austria is between 2 to 4 weeks at the US Embassy in Vienna.
6. Processing time for Azerbaijan is 14 days before the interview.
7. Processing time for Bahrain is up to 1 week.
8. Processing time for Bangladesh is on average 4 weeks at the US Embassy in Dhaka.
9. The current E2 visa processing time for Belgium is on average 10 weeks (2 to 3 months) to review the E2 application and supporting documents.
10. As of 2012, Bolivia no longer accepts E2 applications except for renewing applicants until June 10, 2022.
11. Processing time for Bosnia and Herzegovina is 1 week at the US Embassy in Sarajevo.
12. Processing time for Bulgaria is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Sofia.
13. Processing time for Cameroon is up to 1 week at the US Embassy in Yaounde.
14. E2 visa processing time for Toronto, Canada is between 4 to 6 months. Initial E2 visa applications and renewals are processed at the US Consulate in Toronto.
15. Processing time for Chile is about 1 week.
16. Processing time for China (Taiwan) is between 2 to 4 weeks.
17. Processing time for Colombia is approximately 2 to 4 weeks at the US Embassy in Bogota.
18. Processing time for Congo (Brazzaville) is up to 1 week.
19. Processing time for Congo (Kinshasa) is up to 1 week.
20. Processing time for Costa Rica is about 1 week at the US Embassy in San Jose.
21. Processing time for Croatia is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Zagreb.
22. Processing time for the Czech Republic is between 2 to 3 weeks before the interview appointment. The visa processing times vary based on the time of year and the current workload at the US Embassy in Prague.
23. Processing time for Denmark, not including Greenland, is approximately 1 week. After review, the US Embassy in Copenhagen notifies the applicant to schedule an interview.
24. As of 2012, Ecuador no longer accepts E2 applications except for renewing applicants until May 18, 2028.
25. Processing time for Egypt is about 1 week at the US Embassy in Cairo.
26. Processing time for Estonia is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Tallinn.
27. Processing time for Ethiopia is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa.
28. E2 visa processing time for Finland is about 1 week. Upon receiving and reviewing the E2 application, the US Consulate in Helsinki contacts the applicant to schedule an interview.
29. E2 visa processing time for France, including Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion is 2 to 3 weeks.
30. Processing time for Georgia is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Tbilisi.
31. E2 visa processing time for Germany is about 4 weeks.
32. E2 visa processing time for Grenada is approximately 2-3 weeks.
33. E2 visa processing time for Honduras is between 2 to 3 weeks at the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa
34. Iran is no longer eligible for E2 visa.
35. E2 visa processing time for Ireland is on average between 6 to 8 weeks.
36. E2 visa processing time for Israel is approximately 1 week.
37. E2 visa processing time for Italy is a minimum of 5 weeks.
38. E2 visa processing time for Jamaica is about 1 week.
39. E2 visa processing time for Japan, including Bonin Islands and the Ryukyu Islands is between 3 to 4 weeks.
40. Processing time for Jordan is on average 1 week.
41. E2 visa processing time for Kazakhstan is approximately 2 weeks at the US Embassy in Nur-Sultan or US Consulate General in Almaty.
42. E2 visa processing time for South Korea is approximately 1 to 2 weeks at the US Embassy in Seoul.
43. E2 visa processing time for Kosovo is about 2 to 3 weeks at the US Embassy in Pristina.
44. E2 visa processing time for Kyrgyzstan is approximately 2-3 weeks at the US Embassy in Bishkek.
45. E2 visa processing time for Latvia is about 1 week at the US Embassy in Riga.
46. The E2 visa processing has been suspended at the US Embassy in Liberia.
47. E2 visa processing time for Lithuania is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Vilnius.
48. E2 visa processing time for Luxembourg is between 2 to 3 weeks at the US Embassy in Luxembourg.
49. E2 visa processing time for North Macedonia is approximately 2-3 weeks at the US Embassy in Skopje.
50. E2 visa processing time for Mexico is 3-5 months at the US Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez.
51. E2 visa processing time for Moldova is about 1 week at the US Embassy in Chisinau.
52. E2 visa processing time for Mongolia is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
53. E2 visa processing time for Montenegro is on average 1 week at the US Embassy in Podgorica.
54. E2 visa processing time for Morocco is about 1 week.
55. E2 visa processing time for the Netherlands, including Aruba and Netherlands Antilles, is 12 weeks or more (minimum 3 months).
56. E2 visa processing time for New Zealand is approximately 3 weeks.
57. E2 visa processing time for Norway, not including Svalbard Spitzbergen, is 6 weeks on average for first-time company registration.
58. Processing time for Oman is about 1 week.
59. E2 visa processing time for Pakistan is between 2 to 4 weeks.
60. E2 visa processing time for Panama is approximately 2 to 3 weeks at the US Embassy in Panama City.
61. E2 visa processing time for Paraguay is 1 week at the US Embassy in Asuncion.
62. E2 visa processing time for the Philippines is approximately 2 weeks at the US Embassy in Manila.
63. E2 visa processing time for Poland is between 1 to 2 weeks.
64. E2 visa processing time for Romania is 15 business days (2-3 weeks) at the US Embassy in Bucharest.
65. E2 visa processing time for Senegal is approximately 4 weeks at the US Embassy in Dakar.
66. E2 visa processing time for Serbia is 2-3 weeks at the US Embassy in Belgrade.
67. E2 visa processing time for Singapore is approximately 2 weeks.
68. E2 visa processing time for Slovakia is about 1 week at the US Embassy in Bratislava.
69. E2 visa processing time for Slovenia is on average 1 week at the US Embassy in Ljubljana.
70. E2 visa processing time for Spain is on average 5 weeks.
71. E2 visa processing time for Sri Lanka is about 1 week at the US Embassy in Colombo.
72. E2 visa processing time for Suriname is approximately 1 week.
73. E2 visa processing time for Sweden is 60 days (8 weeks) on average to review applications before the interview.
74. E2 visa processing time for Switzerland is about 2 months (8 weeks) at the US Embassy in Bern.
75. E2 visa processing time for Thailand is about 15 business days (2-3 weeks).
76. E2 visa processing time for Togo is about 1 week.
77. E2 visa processing time for Trinidad & Tobago is approximately 1 week at the US Embassy in Port of Spain.
78. E2 visa processing time for Tunisia is between 6 to 8 weeks at the US Embassy in Tunis.
79. E2 visa processing time for Turkey is approximately 6 to 8 weeks.
80. E2 visa processing time for Ukraine is on average 90 days (3 months) at the US Embassy in Kyiv.
81. E2 visa processing time for the United Kingdom, the British Isles, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar is approximately 45 days (6 to 8 weeks) not including the Republic of Ireland.
12. Who is eligible for E2 Visa?
To be eligible for E2 visa, you must be a national of a country that has an E2 treaty with the United States. This means that individual investors and entrepreneurs must be nationals of E2 treaty countries to qualify.
To determine nationality, individual investors and businesses must meet certain E2 nationality criteria.
E2 Nationality Criteria
- An individual investor’s nationality is determined by the authorities of the foreign state of which they are a national. This means that the government of your country of nationality establishes your nationality. Typically, you can rely on your citizenship to prove nationality regardless of whether you became a citizen through birth or naturalization.
- If the investor is a business or an employing entity, then nationality is determined by examining the nationality of the individual owners of that business, tracing ownership back to the ultimate beneficial owners. At least 50 percent of the business must be owned by nationals of the E2 treaty country. Shares owned by US permanent residents cannot be factored in when determining the nationality of the business for the purpose of bringing in E2 employees.
- Generally, E-2 business must have only one qualifying nationality, which must be held by the business owner and all E2 employees. The only exception is if the E2 business is owned and controlled equally (50/50) by nationals of two E2 treaty countries. When the E2 business is structured in this manner, employees from either of the two treaty countries are eligible to obtain E-2 visas to work for that company.
- Individual investors who hold dual nationality from two E2 treaty countries enjoy the flexibility to apply for an E2 visa utilizing any of their nationalities.
- Investors who do not hold the nationality of an E2 treaty country are not eligible for this visa.
- Investors who are permanent residents of E2 treaty countries are not eligible for E2 visa because they are considered nationals of that country.
E2 Treaty Countries
- Currently, there are over 80 countries that have an E2 treaty with the United States. The E2 treaty 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 The United Kingdom.
- To access an up-to-date list of countries eligible for E2 investor visa, please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries List.
The E2 investor visa operates under a reciprocal framework, and the list of eligible countries is subject to change. Additionally, the terms and conditions of the E2 visa for each country undergo frequent revisions. To navigate this, an experienced E2 visa lawyer can provide you with up-to-date information on treaty country status, visa terms, and application procedures, ensuring compliance with the latest regulations.
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13. What is the E2 visa minimum investment amount?
While there is no minimum investment amount required to obtain an E2 visa, our experience suggests that it is advisable to invest about $100,000. Investments lower than $100,000 can qualify, and we have had success with investments as low as $50,000 in cases where the business shows strong potential for success. However, you should avoid investing less than $50,000.
To qualify for the E2 visa, you must invest, or be in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a US business.
A substantial amount refers to an investment that is proportionate to the nature of the business, the overall cost of purchasing an existing business or establishing a new one, and the financial commitment required to ensure the success of the business.
For capital intensive businesses, the E2 visa minimum investment amount can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
Conversely, for businesses that are not capital intensive, investments of $100,000 or less may be sufficient.
Ultimately, the E2 visa investment must be large enough to ensure the success of the E2 business.
When purchasing an existing business, the investment amount typically corresponds to the purchase price, which is normally considered to be the fair market value.
When establishing a new business, the investment amount should correspond to the total cost associated with establishing the business.
Our experienced E2 visa lawyers can provide tailored guidance on the investment requirements specific to your business and help you determine the appropriate investment level for your application.
At risk Investment
The capital invested must be placed at risk in the US business in the hope of generating a financial return. Moreover, the investment must be subject to total or partial loss if the business fails.
Simply depositing funds into a bank account is not sufficient to show that the investment is at risk and does not meet the investment requirement for E2 visa purposes.
Moreover, being in the preliminary stage of signing contracts or searching for suitable locations and properties does not meet the investment requirement.
Similarly, inheriting a business does not constitute an investment for purposes of E2 visa .
The E2 visa regulations governing the investment of funds are designed to ensure that the investor is committed to the success of the business and is not simply a gamble.
Furthermore, the investment funds must not be derived, directly or indirectly, from criminal activities. If you have any doubts about proving that the source of funds complies with US immigration laws, it is recommended that you engage an experienced E2 visa lawyer to guide you.
Finally, the investor or entrepreneur must develop and direct the business in which they invest. They cannot be a passive investor in the E2 business and must show that they own at least 50% of the enterprise or possesses operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.
Small joint ventures may also qualify as E2 businesses, provided that at least 50% is owned by a citizen of a treaty country.
14. How Long Can I Stay in the US on an E2 Visa?
You can stay in the United States indefinitely through unlimited visa renewals or two-years status extensions, provided that you continue to meet the E2 requirements. There is no cap on the number of renewals or extensions you can apply for.
E2 Visas are valid for a period ranging from three months to five years, depending on your nationality and the terms of the E2 treaty between your country and the United States.
For example, the maximum validity period for an E2 investor visa issued to a Mexican citizen is four years based on updated visa terms effective as of 2020. Conversely, for citizens of most European countries, the E2 visa validity is two to five years, with certain exceptions. Ukraine, for example, has a validity period of three months.
However, even if your E2 visa is valid for five years, it does not mean that you can stay in the United States for the entire five year period without interruption.
Your E2 visa status, not the visa validity, determines how long you can stay in the United States.
Each time you enter the US with an E2 visa, you are granted two years of status. This means you can remain in the country for two consecutive years during a single stay. To extend your stay, you can either request a status extension from USCIS or depart from the United States and re-enter to receive an additional two years of status.
E2 investor visas can be renewed indefinitely, allowing investors and entrepreneurs to maintain their status in the United States for an extended period.
15. E2 employee visa
To obtain an E2 employee visa, you must secure employment with an E2 business. This visa category is designed for executive, supervisory and specialized skills workers employed by an E2 business. To learn more, visit E2 visa for employees.
The E2 employees do not have to show that they are entering the United States to develop and direct the E2 business.
To qualify for an E2 employee visa, you must:
- Have a job offer or already be employed by an E2 business
- Possess the same nationality as the E2 business
- Hold an executive, supervisory or specialized skill position
The three types of employees eligible for E2 employee visa are:
- Executive employees. Individuals who hold high-level executive positions within the E2 business
- Supervisory employees. Individuals who oversee and manage specific functions, departments or teams within the E2 business
- Employees with specialized skills. Individuals who possess specialized skills that are essential to the operation of the E2 business.
16. Why work with an E2 visa lawyer?
The E2 visa laws and regulations are complex because they are designed to ensure that investors are committed to the success of the business. Moreover, investors must ensure that specific business transactions, such as loans or business purchases, align with both US immigration standards and E2 visa regulations.
In the United States, only lawyers licensed to practice law in the United States are legally authorized to provide legal advice on US laws, including immigration laws. Individuals who are not admitted in any of the US state bars, are not authorized to practice law in the United States or interpret or advise clients. Moreover, clients who seek legal counsel from licensed attorneys benefit from confidentiality and attorney-client privilege, which is a fundamental protection under US laws.
In addition, an experienced E2 visa lawyer can provide valuable support to foreign investors, business owners and entrepreneurs, including:
- Develop long-term business and immigration plans
- Prepare and file E2 visa application and documents
- Ensure that investments comply with regulations
- Apply for additional immigration benefits
- Keep you up to date on E2 visa terms and requirements
- Provide you with personalized advice tailored to your specific needs
- Ongoing assistance and access to information to help you stay compliant with US immigration laws
- Expert guidance on green card options and the process to transition from E2 visa to green card
The E2 visa sits at the crossroads between business corporate and immigration law, requiring a deep understanding of complex concepts. Our E2 visa attorneys possess the requisite background and expertise in business and finance to provide comprehensive and competent legal counsel in the realm of E2 visas and other business visas.
17. How to go from E2 visa to green card?
After obtaining an E2 visa, the next step is to transition to a green card. Going from an E2 visa to a green card is not automatic process and requires proactive steps and careful planning.
The options to go from E2 visa to green card are:
- EB-5 Investor Visa
- EB-2 NIW
- EB-1C and EB-1A
- Employer-sponsored PERM EB-2 and EB-3
- Family-sponsored green card
- Diversity Visa Lottery
Foreign investors can go from the E2 visa to a green card by investing in the EB5 investor visa program.
To qualify for the EB-5 immigrant investor program and go from an E2 visa to an EB-5 green card, foreign investors must make an investment of at least $800,000 in a commercial enterprise primarily operating within a targeted employment area. Alternatively, they can invest $1,050,000 in a US business located in an urban area. In both cases, the business must create at least 10 full-time jobs.
For troubled businesses, EB-5 investors can preserve the existing employment levels, eliminating the requirement to create 10 additional full-time jobs. Instead, they can focus on preserving the existing jobs.
In practice, E2 investors can make additional investments into their E2 business to meet the investment threshold for the EB-5 green card. This includes the initial E2 investment and any subsequent investments made to grow the E2 business. In other words, you can apply for the EB-5 green card using the same business for which you obtained an E2 visa.
Importantly, jobs created through the initial E2 investment can count towards the 10 jobs required for the EB-5 green card.
For example, if you invest $100,000 into an E2 business providing cleaning and maintenance services and later expand you business from rural Miami to other parts of Florida and Georgia, your initial investment can be applied towards the EB-5 investment requirement. The minimum investment in rural areas for an EB-5 green card is $800,000, meaning you need to invest an additional $700,000 into your E2 business to qualify for an EB-5 green card.
Alternatively, investors can maintain their existing E2 business while simultaneously investing in EB-5 regional center projects. For a discussion about the risks associated with EB-5 investments, visit Is EB5 risky?.
EB-1 visa is available to:
- Individuals who possesses extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, athletics, education or business
- Outstanding professors or researchers or
- Multinational managers or executives (EB-1C).
The EB-1C visa category for multinational manager or executive is a viable path to permanent residency for E2 investors who have held managerial or executive positions at a related foreign entity for at least one year in the prior three years.
In addition, the EB-1A visa category for individuals who possess extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, athletics, education or business serves as a potential route to a green card.
EB-2 Visa National Interest Waiver
For E2 investors seeking to transition from an E2 investor visa to a green card, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) is an option.
The EB-2 NIW is for individuals who hold an advanced degree or posses exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would significantly benefit the nation. Both advanced degree holders or individuals with exceptional abilities are eligible for this visa category.
Do you want to go from E2 visa to green card?
To obtain a green card through employment, a US employer must first file a PERM Labor Certification with the US Department of Labor (DOL). Upon approval of the PERM Labor Certification, the investor becomes eligible for a green card through employment.
Keep in mind that the PERM Labor Certification requires the US employer to go through an extensive recruitment process to ensure that no qualified US workers are available for the sponsored position.
Family-sponsored green card
Family members or close relatives who hold US citizenship or green cards can sponsor E2 investors for permanent residency.
Transitioning from an E2 investor visa to a green card is a complex process with many intricacies. Hiring an experienced business immigration attorney can save time and money as you work towards a green card.
18. How to renew or extend an E2 visa?
If you want to continue to live and work in the United States, you must renew or extend your E2 visa before it expires. If your E2 visa is expiring soon or you simply want to plan ahead, it is important to be aware of this requirement.
To renew your E2 visa, you must initiate the renewal process before the expiration date of your visa stamped in your passport. Remember to also maintain and extend your E2 status every two years, as per the I-94 record. To check your I-94, visit the I-94 Official Website.
Despite your visa’s validity, there are instances when you must apply for an E2 visa extension in the United States to maintain your status even if your visa is still valid. Such situations arose during the COVID-19 pandemic and due to travel restrictions.
The initial validity of E2 visas varies based on your country of nationality and the robustness of your business. Occasionally, US Embassies issue visas for a shorter period than the maximum allowed due to the inherent volatility of E2 businesses.
If the business is successful, US Embassies tend to renew E2 visas for the maximum period allowed under the specific E2 treaty. This is for example the case with UK where initial E2 visas are generally granted for three years (maximum period is five years) and if the business succeeds then the E2 visa is renewed for 5 years.
E2 Visa renewal or extension?
Where to apply to renew or extend your E2 visa?
Upon expiration of your E2 visa, you can apply for renewal or extension at the US Embassies and Consulates abroad or directly with USCIS, if you are currently residing in the United States.
If your valid E2 visa is not expiring and you are unable to depart the US to obtain an automatic two-year re-entry on E2 status due to travel restrictions, the closure of US Embassies and Consulates abroad, or for any other reason, you must file for E2 status extension directly with USCIS, following the same procedures as a new E2 application
If you are in the US and you do not intend to leave and your E2 visa is expiring, you can apply for renewal or extension directly with USCIS up to six months before the expiration date of your I-94.
Whenever USCIS approves your E2 renewal application, you are granted an additional two year extension. This process can be repeated indefinitely, allowing you to maintain your E2 status for extended periods.
However, please note that if you renew your E2 status through USCIS and you depart the United States, you need to obtain a valid E2 visa to reenter the US. This means, you must applying for a new E2 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and complete the application process and E2 interview. US Embassies and Consulates are not bound by decisions made by USCIS when adjudicating visa applications.
19. How many employees do you need for E2 Visa?
You do need to hire any employees when applying for an E2 visa for a startup business. However, if you want to improve your chances of approval, you can hire one to two employees either part-time or full-time.
When you purchase an existing business, the number of employees required for an E2 visa depends on the nature and size of the business. Nevertheless, you should have few employees to operate the business and generate revenue.
20. Do E2 visa holders pay taxes?
Yes, generally E2 visa holders pay taxes in the United States. You should contact a certified public accountant (CPA) to discuss your tax obligations.
21. Can I bring my parents on E2 visa?
No, you cannot bring your parents on E2 visa. However, in certain circumstances your parents may qualify independently for an E2 visa.
22. E2 visa investment examples
- Purchase a bakery shop
- Start a software development company
- Start an online business
- Start an import business
- Start a business or IT consulting firm
- Purchase food truck business
- Purchase a truck repair shop
- Start a construction company
- Start or purchase a trucking company
23. Do E2 visa holders have any travel restrictions?
No, E2 visa holders do not have any travel restrictions. With an E2 visa, you can travel as many times as needed without seeking special permission.
You can also spend time outside the United States, provided that you have an intention to return and your business continues to operate. The duration of your stay abroad is not subject to any specific restrictions.
Additionally, you are free to travel to any country as there are no restrictions as to the countries you can visit while holding an E2 visa.
If you have any questions about travel restrictions or have any travel related concerns, you should consult with an immigration lawyer.
24. Can I buy a business for an E2 visa?
Yes, you can buy a business for an E2 visa. In fact, buying an existing business can be a great way to qualify for an E-2 visa, as it shows that you have made a substantial investment in the United States, you are hiring US employees and your business is likely to succeed.
25. Can E2 visa holder apply for green card?
The answer is yes, as an E2 visa holder, you can apply for a green card. However, you do not automatically qualify for a green card simply by holding an E2 visa. Instead, you need to identify suitable green card options based on your particular situation.
There are several different green card categories you may be eligible for, including:
- EB-5 investor program: This visa is for investors who are willing to invest a significant amount of money in a US business. To learn more about about the risks associated with the EB-5 visa program visit Is EB-5 risky?
- EB-1 employment-based visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational managers or executives. It does not require a PERM labor certification. No job offer is required and you can self-petition for EB-1A visa for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
- Self-Petition employment-based immigrant visa (EB-2 NIW): This visa category is for professionals with an advance degree (or equivalent) or exceptional ability who can demonstrate that their proposed work in the United States is in the national interest. No job offer or PERM labor certification is required.
- PERM Employment-based immigrant visa: This visa category is for workers who have been sponsored by a US employer.
- Family-based immigrant visa: This visa category is for individuals who are spouses, parents or children of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident.
26. How can our best E2 Visa Lawyers assist you?
For a successful E2 visa application, investors are encourages to work with an experienced E2 visa lawyer who can represent them throughout the process, including at USCIS and US Embassies and Consulates.
Our experienced business and immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA can provide comprehensive assistance with your E2 visa application, from evaluating your eligibility to gathering and preparing the necessary documents and ensuring you meet all E-2 requirements. Together with our immigration lawyers, you can explore all available visa options and gain expert advice on making a successful E-2 investment.