E2 Visas

Prepared by Attorney Sasha Westerman-Keuning

The Immigration & Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant visa status to nationals of any of the countries with which the United States maintains an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation, who is coming to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.

Who qualifies for an E2 treaty investor visa?

A person may be issued an E-2 Treaty Investor visa if: 1. The individual or firm has the nationality of the treaty country (at least half of the company must be owned by nationals of the treaty country). 2. The individual or the company is in the process of making a substantial investment (generally in excess of $100,000 at risk depending on type of business) in a business in the United States. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment required for a low-cost business enterprise is generally higher than the percentage of investment required for a high-cost enterprise. 3. The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment. 4. The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor or the family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States. 5. The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed. 6. The individual is either the principal investor, who will develop and direct the enterprise, or an executive, manager or employee with special skills essential to the company. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

How long can an E2 Visa holder remain in the U.S.?

The duration of an E visa depends on the reciprocity schedule of the treaty country. They are generally issued for a period of between two and five years. Extensions of stay in the United States may be granted as long as eligibility continues and the treaty remains in force. At the border, E visa holders are admitted to the United States for two years. Extensions of stay in the United States may be granted for up to two years at a time from the appropriate service center. Spouses and children (under 21 years old) of any nationality may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal alien to the U.S. They may attend school. Spouses may obtain permission to work in the United States.

Countries with E2 Visa Treaties

Albania, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwan only), Columbia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Rep, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Gibraltar, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldavia, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Western Sahara and Zaire.

A full list of E2 treaty countries is available here: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/treaty.html