Are you hoping to invest or begin a business venture in the U.S. as a foreign national? If so, you may need to apply for an E2 investor visa.
This visa allows individuals from certain countries to invest and work for that business in the U.S. The United States has treaty agreements with many countries, allowing non-U.S. citizens to work with E2 Visas.
You must meet certain criteria to acquire an E2 Visa. If you’re interested in learning more about investor visas, we can help!
Here’s a look at the specific requirements for a foreign E2 investor visa.
What Is an E-2 Visa?
The E-2 Visa or “Treaty Investor Visa” is a U.S. visa. It’s available to citizens of particular countries that have a trade treaty agreement with the U.S.
This type of visa allows applicants to enter the U.S. to set up businesses. If you are a citizen from a treaty country and have the funds, you may be eligible for an E2 Visa.
The goal of the treaty is to create U.S.-based businesses and provide jobs for U.S. workers.
E-2 Investor Visa Eligibility Requirements
If you plan to relocate to the U.S. with an E-2 Visa, you must meet some specific criteria. Here are the qualifications you need to meet to achieve eligibility.
- You are investing in a bona fide U.S.-based business
- You’re moving to the U.S. to run the business
- You have the funds needed and can prove you’ve acquired funds legally
- You are from an approved trade treaty country
The E2 Visa is only available to individuals from a country with a trade treaty agreement. For example, citizens of China and India do not have treaty agreements and are ineligible for E-2 Visas.
Contact an immigration lawyer to learn more about the immigrant investor program and discuss your eligibility.
What Is a Bona-Fide Business?
A bona-fide business provides items or services for profit. The business can’t be a dormant investment such as stock holdings by a non-directing investor or an undeveloped property.
Furthermore, it is crucial for businesses to adhere to the legal requirements for operations in the specific state or region where they are established. These legal obligations may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally involve registering the business, obtaining necessary permits or licenses, complying with taxation and employment regulations, and adhering to other applicable laws and regulations.
By fulfilling these criteria and actively participating in the economic landscape of the United States, your business can be recognized as a bona-fide enterprise, which is an important factor in determining eligibility for various visas, including investor visas such as the E-2 visa. It is advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure compliance with all legal requirements and to maximize the chances of a successful visa application.
Investment Requirements for an E-2 Visa
Although there’s no requirement for a specific minimum investment, investors must contribute a “substantial investment.” It must be large enough to secure the success of the business enterprise.
Your investment cannot be marginal. It cannot be just enough to support your family. Your investment must be enough to make an impact on the U.S. economy.
Depending on the size of the business and the location, a significant investment of $10,000 may be required. Typically, the required amount depends on the industry the investor chooses.
Some lower-cost start-ups may require an investment of less than $100,000. Applicants must show they intend to leave the U.S. after their business is completed. You may have to show the U.S. consulate evidence of your intention to eventually leave the country.
If you have questions about visa requirements, contact an experienced immigration attorney for assistance.
Applying for the E-2 Visa
There are two ways to apply. You can complete the application process while you’re in or outside of the United States.
Applying While in the U.S.
If you’re in the U.S. legally, you can petition directly to USCIS. You will use Form I-129, a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
You will also provide your business investment plan. Generally, the application process takes about five months.
Individual investors can file on their own. If you’re an employee, your employer will file Form O-129 instead. USCIS will approve or deny your application.
If approved, you will receive Form-797 with information about how to proceed.
Applying Outside of the U.S.
The most common method of application is outside of the U.S. The process goes through the U.S. consulates.
When you apply for an E2 Visa, they will review your application and schedule an interview. If approved, you may receive your E-2 visa in about a week.
Depending on the consulate, the processing time may differ. It could take anywhere from one to four weeks for approval.
If you’re considering applying for an E-2 Visa or are having difficulty with the process, consult an experienced immigration attorney for assistance.
Benefits of E-2 Visas
There are many attractive benefits to obtaining an E-2 Visa. Some benefits include:
- Legally working in the United States
- Traveling freely in and out of the country
- Staying in the U.S. for a prolonged basis
- Unlimited 2-year extensions with valid E-2 status
- Bringing your spouse and unmarried children to live in the U.S.
- Employment authorization for your spouse
Many people believe obtaining an E-2 Visa is the next best thing to U.S. citizenship. There are no limits on the number of E-2 Visas applicants can qualify for. They are eligible for unlimited extensions.
Discuss Investor Visas With an Immigration Attorney
E-2 investor visas offer foreign investors the ability to direct or set up a business in the U.S. Only investors from countries with an E-2 treaty agreement are eligible for this specific type of visa.
Do you need help with the E-2 visa application process? The immigration attorneys at Boyer Law Firm can help.
Our experience in international law can help you put all the pieces together to strengthen your claim for an E-2 Visa. We’d love to talk with you about your specific E-2 case.