The E-2 investor visa is a non immigrant visa available to foreign nationals from countries that the United States has a commercial treaty agreement. To access the most current list of treaty agreement countries click on the following link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3726.html. The foreign national must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the operations of a bona fide U.S. enterprise. If the foreign national is not the principal investor, the E-2 employee must develop and direct, or act in a supervisory, executive or essential employee capacity for the U.S. enterprise.
The amount invested must be considered “substantial”. This can be subjective. However, the investment must be an amount that would normally ensure the successful operation of a viable enterprise. The investment must be sufficient to demonstrate the investor’s financial commitment to a successful operation, and significant enough to support more than the investor and his or her family. Alternatively, the investment must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
The investment must place funds “at risk” and not be merely a sham as an avenue to come to the United States. This visa category is meant to promote investments in the U.S. to improve the U.S. economy through the creation of jobs for U.S. workers.
To qualify for E-2 status, the foreign national of the treaty country must own at least 50 percent of the U.S. entity. Note that ownership by a foreign national of the treaty country in any other status will not suffice. In a publicly traded company, the company’s nationality is considered to be the country in which the stock is listed and traded on a stock exchange.
An E-2 investor must demonstrate an intent to depart the United States and not permanently remain. Evidence of a foreign residence is not required.
How to Apply
The U.S. company for which the foreign national will work must become E-2 qualified. To become E-2 qualified, the company must register with the U.S. consulate and at least one of the E-2 investors listed be within the jurisdiction over the treaty country. The foreign national investor then applies for an E-2 visa on his or her own behalf directly to a U.S. Consulate abroad.
If the foreign national is in the United States, Form I-129 and the E supplement is completed to apply for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employer. Note that if there is a change of status, or employer the E-2 investor cannot travel internationally without applying for an E-2 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. For this reason, many E-2 investor applicants apply for their visas initially at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
For assistance in assessing or preparing an E-2 investor visa, please contact our office.
So long as the company and the individual continue to qualify for E status, the E-2 is renewable indefinitely. E-2 visas generally are granted for a two-year period, with extensions of stay for up to two years at a time.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for E-2 dependent visas, and spouses may apply for work authorization in the United States.