The E-2 treaty investor visa is a special visa for an investor from a country with which the United States does not have a reciprocal investment treaty. It’s also called the treaty investor visa for nationals of countries that don’t have an equivalent U.S. investor visa. The E-2 visa is specifically designed to let someone invest in and operate a business in the United States while retaining their status as a visitor.
An E-2 visa holder cannot work for someone else or own any part of a business unless it’s through an independent contractor arrangement (or possibly as an employee if they meet very stringent tests). An E-2 applicant must show that they are coming to the United States to develop and manage their own businesses, and not just invest in someone else’s enterprises. The applicant must demonstrate that they will also be able to support themselves financially and keep their family members out of public assistance. To learn more, read on…
Who Can Apply for an E-2 Visa?
The E-2 visa is for someone who wishes to develop and operate their own business in the United States, not for someone who wants to operate a business in partnership with someone else or an existing business. It’s also not for someone who is an employee of a business, even if they will earn more money in that position than they would as a typical visitor. In order to qualify for an E-2 visa, you must be coming to the United States to invest money in a new or existing business that you own 50 percent or more of the business in a partnership. The business must be engaged in commercial trade that is lawful in the U.S. and generate enough income to maintain your household and that of your dependents even with your absence from the country. Consult with a E-2 visa lawyer for the exact paperwork, information, and requirements depending on your situation and country.
How to Apply for an E-2 Visa?
The first step in applying for an E-2 visa is to select a business to operate in the United States. You can operate the business by yourself or with one or more partners. The next step is to secure financing to ensure that you will have enough money to start the business and operate it during the first year. Once you have the money to start the business, you must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, along with supporting documents with the USCIS. If approved, you will receive a visa that will allow you to enter the U.S. and operate the business. After one year, you can apply for an extension of the E-2 visa and receive permission to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.
What’s the Difference Between a Treaty Investor Visa and a Visitor Visa?
A treaty investor visa is one that a country issues to a national of another country because it does not have a reciprocal investment treaty with that country. The most common treaty investor visa is the E-2 treaty investor visa issued to nationals of countries that don’t have a reciprocal investment treaty with the United States. A visitor visa is one that a country issues to a national of another country when it does have a reciprocal investment treaty.
Advantages of the E-2 Visa Over Other Visas
The E-2 visa is the most generous investment visa available, allowing the holder to invest a large amount of money with very few strings attached. By contrast, other investor visas, like the EB-5 and the L-1, require the investor to closely participate in the day-to-day operations of the business and be willing to relocate to the U.S. The E-2 visa also has the advantage of being available to persons from countries that are not eligible for other investor visas. E-2 Spouse
The E-2 visa spouse is allowed to work in the U.S. and does not have to apply for a separate visa. By contrast, the spouse of an EB-5 investor must apply for a work visa after the investor has received his or her green card.
Disadvantages of the E-2 Visa
The E-2 visa requires an investment of $50,000 for nationals of countries with which the U.S. has a reciprocal investment treaty. For nationals of countries without such a treaty, the investment amount is $100,000.
The E-2 visa allows the holder to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. By contrast, the spouse of an EB-5 investor must apply for a green card within two years and can remain in the U.S. only as long as the visa holder’s green card remains valid.
The E-2 visa is a special visa for an investor from a country with which the United States does not have a reciprocal investment treaty. It’s also called a treaty investor visa for nationals of countries that don’t have an equivalent U.S. investor visa. The E-2 visa is specifically designed to let someone invest in and operate a business in the United States while retaining their status as a visitor. An E-2 visa holder cannot work for someone else or own any part of a business unless it’s through an independent contractor arrangement (or possibly as an employee if they meet very stringent tests).
If you want to learn more about the E-2 visa, you can read our complete guides on the E-2 visa, E-2 visa investment, and E-2 visa spouse. Alternatively, you can select a visa type from the table of contents above to start exploring different visa options relevant to your situation and professional background. If you’re ready to start your visa application, get in touch with an E-2 visa lawyer. Once you know which visa is best suited for your situation, you can proceed to our guides on completing the visa application and preparing for your visa interview.