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Business Discussions | 31 May, 2024

E2 Visa Guide: Everything You Should Know About the E2 Visa

The E2 visa is a popular option for entrepreneurs and investors looking to live and work in the United States. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the E2 treaty investor visa, including eligibility requirements, the application process, and key considerations for potential applicants.


What is an E2 Visa?

The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows individuals from treaty countries to enter the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested a substantial amount of capital. The visa is typically issued for an initial period of up to two years, with the possibility of extensions.


E2 Visa Requirements

There are 8 main requirements to qualify for an E-2 Visa:

  1. Treaty Country Status

The applicant must be a citizen of a country that has a commerce and navigation treaty with the United States. A list of these treaty countries can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website. Here are some major countries that do not have an E2 Treaty with the US: Brazil, China, India, and Russia.


  1. Intent to Depart

The applicant must have the intent to depart the United States once their US E2 Visa status ends. This means that the E2 business visa is non-immigrant in nature, and the applicant must show plans to leave the U.S. after the business objectives are achieved or the visa expires.


  1. Substantial Investment

The applicant must have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States. While there is no fixed minimum investment amount, it should be significant enough to ensure the success of the business. Generally, investments of at least $100,000 are considered substantial, but this can vary depending on the nature of the business.


  1. Active, For-Profit Business

The business in question must be a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing goods or services for profit. Speculative or idle investments do not qualify.


  1. Non-Marginal Enterprise

The enterprise must not be marginal. This means it should have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and their family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.

  1. Role in the Business

The applicant must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. They must own at least 50% of the business or possess operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

  1. Lawful Source of Funds

The source of the investment funds must be lawful. The applicant must be able to prove that the funds were obtained through legal means, such as earnings, savings, or legitimate business activities.

  1. At-Risk Investment

The investment must be irrevocably committed to the E2 business and must be at-risk. This means the capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the business fails. Loans secured by the assets of the business are not considered at-risk investments.


E2 Visa Category Simplified

There are two ways to qualify for an investor visa USA E-2:

1.Investment as an Individual

  • You invest in a US business as an individual and become the E2 principal investor.
  • Your citizenship must be from a treaty country. If you are a dual national, you must apply based on your treaty country nationality.

2.Investment by Foreign Business

  • Your foreign business invests in a US business and becomes the E2 principal investor.
  • The nationality of the business is determined by its individual owners.
  • To qualify, at least 50% of the business must be owned by nationals of the treaty country. If less than 50%, the business must be restructured to meet this requirement.


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E2 Visa Process

Step 1: Prepare the Necessary Documents

Gather all required documents, including:

  • Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application)
  • Form DS-156E (Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Investor Application)
  • Passport-sized photographs
  • Proof of nationality
  • Evidence of the substantial investment
  • Business plan
  • Evidence that the business is real and operating


Step 2: Submit the E2 Visa application

Submit the necessary forms and documents to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. Pay the applicable visa fees and schedule an interview.


Step 3: Attend the Visa Interview

During the interview, a consular officer will assess your application to determine if you meet the qualifications for the E2 visa. Be prepared to discuss your investment, the business, and your role in its operations.


Step 4: Await Decision

After the interview, the consular officer will decide on your visa application. If approved, you will receive your visa, allowing you to travel to the U.S. and commence your business activities.


Key Considerations

Duration and Extensions

The E2 visa is typically issued for up to two years, but it can be extended indefinitely in two-year increments, as long as the business remains operational and continues to meet the visa requirements.



E2 visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 to the United States. Spouses can apply for work authorization, allowing them to work in the U.S., while children can attend school.


Tax Implications

E2 visa holders are subject to U.S. tax laws. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand your tax obligations and optimize your financial planning.


Transition to Permanent Residency

The E2 visa does not directly lead to a green card. However, some E2 visa holders may explore other immigration pathways, such as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, to obtain permanent residency.


How Long Does it Take to Get an E2 Visa?

  1. Document Gathering

Timeframe: About 1 month.

Details: You’ll need to provide various documents as requested by your immigration attorney. The time can vary based on how quickly you gather and submit these documents.

  1. Legal Preparation

Timeframe: Approximately 2 weeks.

Details: After you submit your documents, your attorney will prepare and complete your E2 petition.

  1. Consular Processing or Change of Status

Timeframe: 2-3 months.

Details: Your application is sent to the US consulate in your home country.

  1. Change of Status (USCIS)

Timeframe: 2-3 months.

Details: Your application is processed within the US. You can opt for premium processing for an extra $2,500 to reduce the processing time to 15 days. However, if additional evidence is requested, this can extend the timeline.


How Long Can I Stay in the US on an E2 Visa?

The validity of an E2 visa depends on the issuing country and generally ranges from 1 to 5 years. However, a 5-year visa does not allow a 5-year stay in the US at once. Your status determines your stay duration, and with an E2 US visa, you get 2 years of status each time you enter the US. You can re-enter the US to get another 2 years of status, with no limit on renewals, as long as your company meets the E2 requirements.


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What are the E2 visa benefits for my family members?

As an E2 visa holder, your family members also receive benefits:

  • Spouse and Unmarried Children: Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old can join you in the US with E2 status.
  • Spouse’s Work Permit: Your spouse can apply for a work permit to work in any lawful capacity in the US.
  • Children’s Education: Your children can attend school in the US, though they cannot work.


Can I get an E2 visa as an employee of the E2 business?

Noncitizens can get a USA E2 visa through employment with an E2 business. There are three classes of eligible employees:

  • Executive Employees
  • Supervisory Employees
  • Employees with Special Skills essential to the E2 enterprise


How to get E2 visa?

The E2 investment visa provides a viable pathway for entrepreneurs and investors from treaty countries to live and work in the United States. By fulfilling the eligibility requirements and navigating the application process effectively, you can leverage the opportunities this visa offers to expand your business and contribute to the U.S. economy. For personalized advice and expert assistance with your E2 business plan, reach out to our team of experienced E2 business plan writers.