E-2 Treaty Investors

E-2 Treaty Investors 2021

The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for a foreign individual Investor who invests an amount of money into a U.S. business.  While there is no required minimum, the amount must be “substantial” in nature.

The investor must also be a citizen or national of a country which has an existing Treaty of Commerce with the United States.  See the most recent list of “Treaty Countries” on DOS.

Sample of recent approvals after Travel Ban (PP9645)

E-2 Treaty Investors Visa Requirements

  • You must be a citizen or national of a country which partakes in a treaty of commerce with the United States;
  • Have invested, or are in the process of investing a significant amount of capital in a bona fide business entity in the United States;
  • Must solicit entry to the United States exclusively to develop and direct the U.S. business entity.  This is established by evidencing a minimum of 50% ownership of the business entity; however, the “acceptable” percentage of ownership and amount of investment are viewed on an sliding scale by the U.S. Consulate, and must be carefully evaluated early on in the E-2 Visa process;

Side by side comparison of Investment options in U.S.

 E-2L-1EB-5 (Regional Center)EB-5 (Direct)
Investment Amount (USD)No minimum.
Any amount
sufficient to buy
or create a business
No minimum.  Any amount
sufficient to buy
or create a business
$900,000 at TEA* zone
$1.8 million outside TEA
$900,000 at TEA* zone
$1.8
million outside TEA
Gifted InvestmentYesYesYesYes
Borrowed Investment (Loan)Yes (certain rules apply)Yes (certain rules apply)Yes (certain rules apply)Yes (certain rules apply)
Investment LocationAnyAnyTEA (Targeted Employment Areas) or outside TEATEA (Targeted Employment Areas) or outside TEA
Job Creation RequirementsNot required. However,
investor must
follow the Business Plan closely
Yes. Investor
must follow the Business Plan closely
10 direct or indirect jobs10 direct jobs (more difficult to make direct jobs
Investor’s RoleInvestor has the option to hire a manager.
Otherwise must be involved in day to day operations
Management/ Executive/ Key EmployeeNo active role requirementInvestor has the option to hire a manager.
Otherwise must be involved in day to day operations
Option to purchase an existing companyYesYesN/AYes, must add 10 full-time jobs
Investor’s Overseas Employment RequiredPrefer to have similar business as with E-2 entityYes, 1 year out of the last 3-yearsNoPrefer to have managerial experience (option to hire a manager)
Country (Passport Specific)Yes. Must be from a Treaty CountryAny (if foreign business is
in certain countries like Iran there are restrictions)
All countries qualifyAll countries qualify
Required to have company outside United StatesNoYesNoNo
Timeline**Usually 2-4 months4-6 months.
Expedited, 15 business
days is available
Avg. 2-Years
Nationality Specific
Avg. 2-Years
Nationality Specific
U.S. Green Card (LPR)May convert to EB-5
only if investment grows.
May also qualify under EB-1C (consult U.S. lawyer)
Managers & Directors
may qualify for LPR
after 1-yr of entry under EB-1C (consult U.S. lawyer)
Yes, upon entryYes, upon entry
Fast TrackYes, if change status in US;
No if filing from abroad
Yes (optional) for USCIS approval,
followed by regular Consular processing (if abroad);
if changing status inside US,
expedited (15-days) is an option
NoNo
1st Visa Issuance2-years (most nationals)Depends on the type of L-1
(consult U.S. lawyer)
Starts with 2-years conditional LPRStarts with 2-years conditional LPR
Maximum LengthRenewable as long as the business is running.
Children over 21 do not qualify for renewal
5- 7 years (consult U.S. lawyer).
Children over 21 do not qualify for renewal
Permanent, upon approved I-829Permanent, upon approved I-829
Who is considered Investor’s Family (Derivative)Spouse & Unmarried Children under 21Spouse & Unmarried Children under 21Spouse & Unmarried Children under 21Spouse & Unmarried Children under 21
Can Your Derivative work?YesYesYesYes
Can Your Derivative Attend School/University?YesYesYesYes
Employment for investorImmediately upon entryImmediately upon entryImmediately upon entryImmediately upon entry
*TEA: Targeted Employment Area refers to “rural area” or an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate; TEA zones are determined by USCIS, beginning Nov/22/2019

**Average processing time from the receipt dates. Subject to change without further notification.

NOTE:  Content of this website is subject to change, and should not, under any circumstances, be construed as legal advice; information on this website is meant to provide a very general outlook in the scope of work.  If considering any type of U.S. Visa, please consult a U.S. Immigration Attorney prior to making any arrangements.

Pros of E-2 Visa

  1. Amount of Investment can be as little as $50,000, depending on the type of business;
  2. Allows for regular Visa renewals (no maximum time cap) approximately every two years, for the Investor, Spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21, so long as the Investor continues to “develop and direct” the intended E-2 business in the USA;
  3. E-2 Visa can be processed rather quickly: approximately 4-6 months;
  4.  Investor invests in his or her own business;
  5. Investor must continually “develop and direct” the business he/she is investing in, while the spouse may pursue any other work activity;
  6. Investor, Spouse, and children are entitled to a U.S. Social Security Numbers, and can work, study, and enjoy the benefits from living in the United States;

Cons of E-2 Visa

  1. Does not by itself result in a Green Card, but is a long-term, renewable Visa and can be renewed every 2-years so long as Investor continues to meet visa qualifications;
  2. If Single Entry is granted (Not Multiple Visa), the investor and dependents must obtain a new stamp each time they re-enter the United States;
  3. Not recommended for individuals who travel often; this is meant for an Investor who wants to spend majority of his / her time in the United States to oversee the E-2 business venture;

Steps to take to prepare for E-2 Visa

  • Begin by consulting an experienced Immigration Attorney to map out the entire process;
  • Decide which U.S. State the investor would like to begin his or her business and reside in;
  • Decide whether the investor would like to purchase an existing business or start-up a new business;
  • Structure a Company in the U.S. State where the business will conduct its activity;
  • Obtain a professional 5-year Business Plan which meets U.S. Immigration requirements;
  • Complete an analysis of the Source of Funds, demonstrating legality of funds being invested in the U.S. venture (this is a critical task);
  • Obtain all required documents and draft the required documents/forms to be submitted to the investor’s respective U.S. Embassy or Consulate;

Once the petition has been received and reviewed by the U.S. Consulate (or USCIS if you are already in the USA on another valid U.S. Visa) the investor will be assigned an interview (if abroad) or a decision on their E-2 Visa application (if filing within United States).

One advantage of filing inside United States is that USCIS allows for an Expedite Processing where, after a complete package is received, they will issue a decision within 15-days.

It is critical to consult with an experienced Immigration as many factors must be carefully analyzed at each step of the way, in order to maximize E-2 applicant’s chances of success.

While an Immigration Attorney may handle your Immigration matter from any U.S. State (because U.S. Immigration falls under U.S. Federal Laws), in most cases you will have to consult a local Transactional Attorney in the State where you are purchasing your business, as each U.S. State / U.S. Territory is subject to its own local laws and regulations.