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U.S. Immigration Law

E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

E-2 Visa AttorneyWhat is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a temporary visa for foreign nationals of countries that have entered into commerce and navigation treaties with the United States.  E-2 individuals enter the United States solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.  Key supervisory or managerial personnel may also enter on E-2 visas.

Nationals of which countries are eligible for E-2 Visas?

Foreign nationals of countries who have a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the foreign state are eligible for the E-2 treaty investor visa. The nationals of the following countries are eligible for this visa:

  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ethiopia
  • France
  • The Federal Republic of Germany
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Liberia
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • The Philippines
  • Spain
  • Sultanate of Muscat and Oman
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
  • Viet-Nam
  • Yugoslavia


Criteria for the E-2 Visa:

To be eligible for the E-2 treaty investor visa, the foreign national must meet the following requirements:

  1. There is must be a treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation (FCN) or the equivalent between the United States and the country of which the applicant is a national.
  2. The treaty investor, business and key supervisory and managerial personnel applying for E-2 status must possess the nationality of the treaty country.  Fifty per cent of the business must be owned by nationals of the treaty country.
  3. The applicant must have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, in a U.S. enterprise. He or she must show possession and control of capital assets, including the funds invested.  These funds or assets must be at risk in that they must be subject to partial or total loss if the business fails.  The funds or assets invested must be irrevocably committed to the investment.
  4. The enterprise must be a real and active commercial undertaking, providing a service or commodity. It cannot exist only on paper or be a non-profit organization.
  5. The investment must be substantial (using the proportionality test) in relation to the total cost of the enterprise. The lower the cost of the business, the higher the percentage of investment is required.  The investment must be sufficient to ensure the investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.
  6. The enterprise must not be “marginal,” producing only enough income to provide for the applicant and his/her family.  The enterprise must have the present or future capacity to make a significant economic contribution, which should be realizable within five years of commencing business.
  7. The investor must be in a position to develop and direct the enterprise.    He can show that he controls the enterprise by documenting ownership of at least fifty percent, by having operational control through a managerial position, or by other means.
  8. If the applicant is an employee or is not the principal investor, he must hold an executive/supervisory position or possess skills essential to the company’s operations in the United States.
  9. The applicant must show an intent to return to his or her home country when the E-2 status expires.

For how long is the E-2 visa valid?

An E-2 Treaty Investor may be admitted for an initial period of not more than 2 years. An extension of stay may be granted in increments of 2 years.

Who may accompany an E-2 visa holder?

The spouse and children of an E-2 visa holder accompanying or following to join the principal alien are entitled to derivative status in the same classification as the principal alien.

How may I obtain an E-1 visa?

Unlike other non-immigrant visa petitions, E-2 visa applications are processed at U.S. Consular offices abroad. An individual already in the United States in valid non-immigrant status may apply within the U.S. to the USCIS to change his or her non-immigrant status to E-2. However, if the USCIS approves this petition and the individual later departs from the U.S., in order to re-enter the U.S. in E-2 status, he or she must reapply for an E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The USCIS approval will have no bearing on the adjudication by the Consular office.

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