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Did you know that you can create and develop a business as a foreign entrepreneur while obtaining a visa to invest and trade in the United States, without having to invest close to a million dollars? Read on to learn more about the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa and see if this could be the best visa for you!

Overview of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

An E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a temporary, non-immigrant employment visa designed for entrepreneurs from select countries hoping to expand their business footprint in the U.S. People coming from countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States can obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to conduct investment and trade in the United States. Because this visa is designed for entrepreneurs specifically, a large amount of the capital invested must be related to either buying or establishing a business for the visa.

Individual Qualifications

To qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a citizen and/or national of one of the countries that the U.S. has a treaty with for commerce;
  2. Either have already invested or be in the process of investing a large amount of capital into a legitimate enterprise in the U.S.;
  3. Demonstrate at least 50% ownership of the enterprise you seek to invest in or possession of heavy involvement and control over operations, such as in a managerial position; and
  4. Meet all other requirements to be able to obtain a nonimmigrant visa, such as not having any reason to be deemed inadmissible.

Investment and Capital Requirements

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa serves a very specific purpose as it pertains to building a business in the U.S. You must meet the following investment and capital requirements:

  1. You must invest a “substantial” amount of capital, meaning an amount that is:
    1. A significant portion of what is needed to establish or purchase a business;
    2. Enough to ensure the investor’s commitment to the successful operation of the business;
    3. Of a great enough amount to indicate that the investor should be able to successfully develop and manage the enterprise; and
    4. It not marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and your family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  2. The invested assets or funds must be committed. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  3. You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. The invested assets or funds must be irrevocable. 
  4. The investment must be a real operating business, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify; and
  5. The sources of all funds must be legitimate. 

The USCIS officer will want to see a demonstration of serious intent to invest in a specific business that qualifies you for the E-2 Visa. The investor and business must also meet the following immigration and visa requirements to obtain the E-2 Visa.

  1. You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the business. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify;
  2. The business must have its own dedicated premises; it cannot be run from the investor’s home; and
  3. The investor must have the intent to depart the U.S. when the visa expires.

Countries that Qualify

The State Department is responsible for maintaining and updating the list of countries that have E-2 treaty classification. You can access the full list here to see if the country you are coming from qualifies.

Benefits of an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

There are many benefits to coming to the United States on an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa! Here are some of them:

  1. You have the ability to freely travel into and out of the U.S.;
  2. You can renew the visa every two years indefinitely as long as you continue to meet the requirements;
  3. You can petition for citizens from the same country to come to the U.S. and work for you under the E-2 visa;
  4. You can include your spouse and dependents, under the age of 21; 
  5. Your spouse and dependents can attend school and get a work permit in the U.S.; and
  6. It does not require you to invest as much you would under the EB-5 Investor Visa program.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is an excellent opportunity to come to the United States and make one of your dreams come true by building your own business. If you are interested in learning more about the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, contact us for an assessment.

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