E-2 investor visas are available to qualifying individuals who plan to invest substantial sums of money in a U.S business. To qualify for an E-2 visa, an individual must be a national of a foreign country that has a commerce and navigation treaty in place with the U.S.
Below is some general information pertaining to the E-2 visa program. If you would like to speak with an immigration lawyer regarding the requirements for filing an E-2 visa application, please feel free to contact us. Edgecomb Law LLC has a nationwide immigration practice, which means that the firm works with immigration clients in the Boston area as well as throughout the United States and abroad.
Who qualifies for an E-2 visa?
To qualify for an E-2 visa, the prospective investor must: (1) be a national of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation; (2) have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States; and (3) be seeking to enter the U.S. solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. The investor must show that she owns at least 50% of the enterprise or possesses operational control of the business through a managerial position or other mechanism.
Qualifying investments are defined as the placing of capital at risk in the commercial sense, for the purpose of generating a profit for the enterprise. The capital must be subject to loss if the investment does not succeed. Significantly, the investor is required to demonstrate that she did not obtain the funds through criminal activity and that they were obtained through legitimate means.
To constitute substantial capital for purposes of applying for an E-2 visa, an investment must be: (1) substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one; (2) sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise; and (3) of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. The enterprise must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction. It must also have the capacity to generate more income than what would be sufficient to support the investor and her family. In other words, within a few years it is expected that the enterprise have the capacity to support additional workers.
E-2 Visa Duration
E-2 status may be valid for an initial period of up to two years, with extensions available in increments up to two years. There is no limit on the number of extensions available to E-2 visa-holders. However, individuals holding E-2 visas must maintain an intention to leave the US when their visa status expires.
Spouses and Children
E-2 workers are permitted to bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the US to live with them. Spouses and children of E-2 workers are generally permitted to seek work authorization in the US.
E-2 Visas for Entrepreneurs
Startup founders and other entrepreneurs may qualify for E-2 visas under some circumstances. For more information, along with other options available to entrepreneurs in need of immigration solutions, please check out our page on Immigration for Entrepreneurs.