E-2 - Treaty Investors Visa
The Treaty Investor Visa (nonimmigrant E-2 classification) is intended for nationals of a foreign country with which a qualifying Treaty of friendship, Commerce, navigation, or a similar agreement exists with the United States. Nationals (individuals or companies) of countries with such Treaties with the United States can obtain visas to work in the USA in order to develop and direct their investment with the USA. E-2 visa is for individuals coming to the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of capital or to direct and develop the business operations of an entity in which the individual has already invested funds. A person may qualify as the principal investor or as an employee of an investor company having the same nationality. There are no numerical limitations on E-2 admissions.
For Answers to Your Personal Questions
Contact a U.S. Immigration Law Expert Today
The E-2 treaty investor visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter into the U.S. and carry out investment and trade activities. Investment activities include purchase of a new business. The investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, if a new business, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.
Aliens from Treaty countries who have made a substantial investment in the United States may qualify for E-2 Treaty Investor status. There is no set minimum level of investment, which may qualify for E-2 status, but the lower the investment the less likely one is to qualify. Therefore, the level of investment must be such that it is sufficient to justify presence of the treaty national in the United States. The investment must be in an operating business e.g. a speculative investment in undeveloped land would not qualify, whereas an investment in a real estate development project probably would. Also, a substantial part of the investment must have been made prior to applying for E2 status.
The E-2 "investor visa" is available to an applicant who invests a substantial amount of his own money into a U.S. business, which he can control and direct. The investment can be to purchase an existing business or to start up a new one.
- The alien must be a citizen of a treaty trade/investment country, and are involved in international trade.
- The enterprise must be a real, operating commercial enterprise or active entrepreneurial undertaking productive of some service or commodity.
- The investment must come from the investor. The money must be "at risk". Thus, a loan that is secured by the assets of the business itself will not qualify i.e. if loans have been taken out, they must be secured or guaranteed by the investor personally, and not by the assets of the corporation.
- The investment must be substantial, a standard which depends on the nature of the enterprise.
- These types of visas are for managerial and supervisory personnel, therefore, unskilled workers and workers with ordinary skills do not usually qualify for such visas. However, other personnel who have special qualifications that make the services to be rendered essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise may also qualify for such visa.
- Aliens who qualify for treaty investor status include the principal investor, who develops and directs the enterprise.
- The qualifying company must be at least 50 percent owned by persons with nationality from the treaty country who are not lawful permanent residents of the U.S. If these owners are in the U.S., they must be in E-1 or E-2 status.
- The investment must be real and active and not passive; this means that a bank account, undeveloped land or stocks, or a not-for-profit organization will not be sufficient to be considered.
- The E-2 visa holder can be the investor, or an employee of the individual or company that is making the investment.
- The investment funds and the applicant both must come from the same Treaty Country.
- The business in which investment is being must provide job opportunities or generate income or some economic benefit for others and should not be solely for the purpose of earning a living for the applicant.
- Alien is the immediate family member of a principle E-1 visa holder.
E-2 Visa countries
The following countries have treaties with the United States that allow qualifying nationals to apply for Treaty Trader status:-
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
- If one is already in a lawful status in the U.S., than has to submit the visa application to a USCIS field office in the U.S. for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employment.
- This classification does not require a petition for employment if the alien is outside of the US. If outside of the US, the alien applies for an E1 visa on his or her own behalf directly to a US consular office abroad. Documents Required
- Form DS 160 Non Immigrant Visa Application
- Form DS 160E Treaty Trader/Investor Application
- Documents that establishing identity of the company's nationality
- Letter from employer detailing aliens position, specialized qualifications and skills that make his services essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise
- Other documents relevant to the case, such as marriage and birth certificates of alien and family members
- A passport valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least six months beyond the alien's intended period of stay
- Two photographs for each member listed in the visa application
- Evidence of possession and control of investment funds, Business Plan outlining future investment scheme,
Duration of Stay and Extensions
A treaty investor may be admitted for an initial period of not more than 2 years. The spouse and minor children accompanying shall be admitted for the period during which the principal alien is in valid treaty trader or investor status.
Extensions of stay can be granted in increments of two years, with no outer limit on the total period of stay for the alien. A treaty trader or treaty investor in valid E status may apply for an extension of stay by filing an application for extension of stay on Form I-129 and E Supplement, with required accompanying documents. There are no quota restrictions for E-2 visas. Spouses of E-2 visa holders are also eligible to accept employment in the United States.
The immigration business plan is a unique document because it is drafted for an audience one. The only person reading the plan will be the reviewer at the immigration service center or a consulate. These civil servants start each day with a stack of visa applications. The document on the top of the pile of papers is the business plan. The quality of the business submission will set the tone for the evaluation of the visa application.