E-2 Investor Visa – Visas for Entrepreneurs
The E-2 nonimmigrant visa allows foreign nationals and entrepreneurs from treaty countries to enter the U.S. when they invest substantial capital into a U.S. business. There are several E-2 visa eligibility requirements pertaining to the investor, the enterprise, and the investment itself.
Qualifications for an Investor Visa
To be eligible for E-2 classification, investors and entrepreneurs must:
- Be a national of a treaty country;
- Have invested or is investing a substantial amount of capital into a bona fide U.S. business; and
- Enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of developing and directing the business, as demonstrated through at least 50% of ownership in the business or operational control through a management position or similar corporate position.
A list of all 80 current treaty countries can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html. If you are the employee of a treaty investor, you may qualify for an E-2 visa if you are of the same nationality as the principal employer, meet the definition of “employee,” and will have an executive, supervisory, or otherwise essential role with the enterprise.
If you are outside the United States, you should apply for your E-2 visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. Apply online using Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, along with supporting documents, and pay the fee. If you are an executive, manager, or another essential employee of the treaty investor, you or your employer must also complete Form DS-156E, Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/ Investor Application.
Most applicants will be required to schedule an interview with the Consulate or Embassy. Wait times for appointments vary by location and, due to the global pandemic, many locations are currently offering appointments on an emergency basis only. If you must travel for an urgent business reason, you may be able to qualify for an expedited interview date.
If you are already in the United States under a different nonimmigrant status, you may file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to request a change of status to E-2 classification. If you are a treaty investor’s employee, Form I-129 must be completed on your behalf by your qualifying employer.
Period of Stay and Conditions
The initial period of stay for an E-2 nonimmigrant is, at maximum, two years. The period of stay may be extended in two-year increments without a limit to the number of extensions. Generally, if an E-2 investor or entrepreneur travels abroad and reenters the U.S., they will be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission. The investor must, however, maintain the intention to leave the U.S. when their status expires or terminates.
An E-2 investor can only work in the activity that he or she was approved to do by USCIS. Additionally, any substantive changes to the terms or conditions of E-2 status must be approved by USCIS.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may seek E-2 dependent classification. Spouses of E-2 treaty investors can apply for work authorization, without restriction to where they can work. Typically, the period of stay for family members is the same as the E-2 investor. Unless accompanied by the E-2 visitor at time of readmission, E-2 dependents will not automatically receive a two-year period of readmission.
Speak with an E-2 Investor Visa Lawyer at Bolour/Carl Immigration Group
If you are a foreign entrepreneur or investor seeking an E-2 visa, please do not hesitate in contacting our Los Angeles-based investor visa lawyers. Call us at (323) 857-0034 today. We also speak Spanish and Persian for your convenience.