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Business Discussions | 30 April, 2024

How To Get An E2 Visa

Imagine standing at the threshold of your entrepreneurial dreams, ready to launch or expand your venture in the vibrant markets of the United States. The E2 visa emerges as a prime choice for investors and business enthusiasts like you, from treaty nations, eager to establish their commercial ventures on American soil. Renowned for its exceptional flexibility and numerous advantages, the E2 visa enables not just business operations but a lifestyle of innovation and growth. 

 

This guide is meticulously crafted to guide you through the complexities of E2 visa requirements, illuminating essential aspects such as E2 treaty investors, E2 visa processing time, and pathways from an E2 visa to green card. Whether you’re at the beginning of your visa journey or refining your application, you’re in the right place to gather essential insights to turn your U.S. business ambitions into a successful reality. 

 

Let’s embark on this journey together, exploring how the E2 visa can transform your entrepreneurial vision into tangible success.

 

What is an E-2 Visa?

The E2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant visa for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. This E2 Treaty Visa is designed to allow individuals to enter and work in the U.S. based on an investment they will be controlling. This investment must be substantial and aimed at developing and directing the operations of an enterprise.

 

Eligibility Requirements for E2 Visa

  1. Nationality and Treaty Agreements

To be eligible for an E2 investor visa, you must be a citizen of a country that holds a valid commerce and navigation treaty with the United States. Let’s break down this requirement into two fundamental aspects:

Nationality

You must possess the citizenship of a treaty country. Typically, this means:

  • Citizenship: Your nationality is generally the same as your country of citizenship.
  • Dual Nationality: If you have dual nationality, you must apply based on the nationality of the treaty country.

Treaty with the United States

Your country must have an established commerce and navigation treaty with the U.S. The specific terms and conditions of these treaties can determine your eligibility for an E2 Visa USA.

 

  1. Investment Criteria for E2 Visa Qualification

You can qualify for an E2 Business Visa through two main investment routes:

Investment as an Individual

  • Principal Investor: If you’re investing as an individual, you are considered the principal investor.
  • Investment Criteria: Your E2 investment amount must be substantial, with funds being at significant risk to qualify.

Investment by a Foreign Business

  • Business Nationality: If a foreign business is investing, it is considered the investor. The business must be majority-owned (at least 50%) by nationals of the treaty country.
  • Structural Requirements: If the business ownership does not initially meet the 50% threshold, restructuring might be necessary to qualify.

 

  1. Intent to Depart

For E2 visa application, you must demonstrate intent to leave the U.S. upon the expiration or termination of your visa status. Unlike other non-immigrant visas, the E2 does not require evidence of ties to your home country but a declaration of your intent to depart after your visa ends.

 

  1. Financial Investment Requirements

Substantial Investment

E2 visas require a “substantial investment” in a U.S. business, though the exact amount isn’t strictly defined. Instead, a proportionality test is used:

Proportionality Test 

This involves comparing the investment amount to the total value of the business. A substantial investment typically means a larger percentage of the total business value, especially in smaller ventures.

Investment Examples

    • Smaller Investments: For a business valued at $100,000 or less, your investment should ideally cover the total value.
    • Larger Investments: For multi-million dollar businesses, a significant but smaller percentage might still be considered substantial.

 

  1. Active and Profitable Business Requirement

The E-2 investor visa mandates investment in an active, for-profit business engaged in entrepreneurial activities, such as selling goods or services. Passive investments, like real estate or stock investments, do not qualify.

 

  1. Non-Marginal Enterprise

Your investment must not be in a marginal enterprise. This means the business should:

      • Income Generation: Have the capacity to generate more than a minimal living for you and your family.
      • Economic Contribution: Have the potential to make a significant economic impact, typically by creating jobs.

 

  1. Operational Control

As an E2 investor, you must enter the U.S. to direct and develop the business. This requirement can be met if:

      • Ownership and Control: You own at least 50% of the business or have operational control through a managerial position or similar arrangements.
      • Business Direction: If a business entity is the investor, it must demonstrate that it is actively managing and developing the U.S. business.

 

  1. Lawful Source of Funds

Your investment funds must be legally acquired. Acceptable sources include:

      • Legal Earnings: Funds obtained through employment, property sales, gifts, or inheritance.
      • Loan Arrangements: You may also use loans, provided they are not secured against the E2 business itself.

 

  1. At-Risk Investment

Finally, your E2 visa investment must be at risk and irrevocably committed to the business, meaning the funds are actively being used in the business operations and not merely held in reserve.

 

Have Questions? Looking To Get Started?

 

 

How to Apply for E2 Visa

Step 1: Establish Eligibility

Determine if your nationality qualifies and assess your planned investment’s substantiality and legitimacy.

Step 2: Formulate a Business Plan

A detailed and comprehensive business plan is crucial. It should outline the nature of the business, the amount of investment, the economic impact, and job creation forecasts.

Step 3: Invest or Be in the Process of Investing

Before applying for the E2 work visa, you should have made considerable progress in your investment, such as leasing a business space or other financial commitments.

Step 4: Application Documentation

Compile all necessary documents, including proof of treaty nationality, evidence of investment and business ownership, a detailed business plan, and financial statements.

Step 5: Submit Visa Application

File Form DS-160 online and pay the associated fee. Afterward, schedule and prepare for your interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

 

How Much Does an E2 Visa Cost?

Understanding the expenses associated with obtaining an E2 visa is crucial for planning your investment in the United States. E-2 visa cost can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of your case, the scale of the business, and the specific requirements of your local U.S. consulate or embassy. Here’s a breakdown of the typical costs you might encounter:

  • DS-160 Form Fee: This is the non-refundable E2 visa fee required for processing the online visa application, typically around $205 per applicant. It’s a mandatory cost for anyone applying for E2 status.
  • Legal and Consultation Fees: These fees can vary widely depending on the attorney or consultancy firm you choose. Legal advice is invaluable, as professionals can help ensure that your application is comprehensive and tailored to meet all the stringent requirements of the E2 visa process.
  • Incidental Costs: Additional expenses often include travel costs to attend the visa interview at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and charges associated with procuring necessary documents and translations.                                                  

It’s important for potential E2 visa applicants to budget for these E2 visa fees to avoid any surprises during the application process. Proper planning and understanding of all associated costs can significantly enhance the efficiency and success of your visa application journey.

E2 Visa Timeline

The E2 visa processing time can fluctuate significantly based on various factors, including the specific U.S. consulate or embassy’s workload and how thoroughly and accurately the application is completed. Here are some key points to consider regarding the timeline:

Standard Processing: Typically, the E-2 visa processing time ranges from a few weeks to several months. It’s crucial to submit a complete and well-documented application to avoid delays caused by requests for additional information.

Expedited Processing: In some instances, it may be possible to request expedited processing to shorten the waiting period. This option is usually available under circumstances that necessitate quicker processing, but availability and criteria can vary by location.

E2 Visa Duration: Once issued, the duration of E-2 investor visas can be up to five years, depending on the reciprocity agreement between the United States and the treaty country. The visa can be renewed indefinitely as long as the visa holder continues to meet the requirements.

E2 Visa Travel Restriction: E2 visa holders can travel in and out of the U.S. as needed without jeopardizing their visa status. However, each entry is subject to review by customs officials, and it’s important to maintain valid E2 status and adhere to the terms of the visa.

Transition to Green Card: If considering the E2 visa to green card processing time, it’s important to note that this transition involves a separate process, typically through avenues like the EB-5 visa, employment-based categories, or family sponsorship. The processing times for these options can vary significantly based on visa quotas and individual circumstances.

Understanding these aspects of the US investor visa timeline can help applicants better prepare for the application process and plan their investment and relocation with greater certainty.

 

Transitioning from an E-2 Visa to Green Card

Pathways to Permanent Residency

For many E2 US visa holders, the ultimate goal may be achieving permanent residency in the United States. While the E 2 visa itself does not provide a direct path to a green card, there are several strategies that investors and entrepreneurs can use to transition to permanent residency:

  1. EB-5 Investor Visa: One of the most straightforward paths from an US E2 visa to a green card is through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. This program requires a substantial investment ($900,000 or $1.8 million, depending on the area) in a U.S. business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers. If you can increase your investment and meet these requirements, you can apply for an EB-5 visa.
  2. Employment-Based Visas (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3): If you can secure a full-time job offer in the United States, you may qualify for an employment-based visa. Categories such as EB-1 (for extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational executives and managers), EB-2 (for professionals holding advanced degrees or with exceptional ability), or EB-3 (for skilled workers, professionals, or other workers) might be viable options. Each category has its own requirements and processes.
  3. Marriage to a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident: Marrying a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident provides a potential path to a green card for E2 spouse visa holders. This process involves the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse sponsoring the E2 visa holder for a green card, ensuring a pathway to permanent residency through marriage.
  4. Adjustment of Status via a Family Member: If you have close family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, they might be able to sponsor you for a green card. This includes parents, children, or siblings who can file a petition on your behalf.
  5. Special Immigrant Categories: In some cases, special immigrant categories may be applicable. These include religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, among others. Each category has specific eligibility criteria that must be met.

 

Let's Get Started!

 

 

Conclusion

The E2 visa process involves understanding detailed E2 requirements and preparing a robust application. This E2 treaty investor visa offers a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors looking to engage actively in the U.S. economy. With the right approach and thorough preparation, the path to obtaining an E2 visa can be smooth and successful.

 

How Our Consulting Firm Can Help

If you find the E2 visa application process daunting or seek professional guidance, our consulting firm is here to assist. BSBCON specializes in E2 visa applications. Our E2 business plan writers provide tailored services to enhance your application’s success rate. From business plan drafting to application filing, we handle every detail, allowing you to focus on what truly matters—your business. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards your U.S. entrepreneurial journey.