8 E2 Visa Requirements You Need to Know About

8 E2 Visa Requirements You Need to Know About

The E2 visa is a great option for investors and entrepreneurs.

 

This visa allows you to live and work in the US by investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business.

 

You can start a new business, purchase an existing business, or invest in an existing business to get an E2 visa.

 

The E2 visa also allows you to bring your spouse and your unmarried children under 21 years old with you to the US. Your spouse can get work authorization to work anywhere in the US and your children can attend school in the US.

 

There is also no limit to the number of times that the E2 visa can be renewed. 

 

So as long as your E2 company meets the E2 visa requirements, you have the ability to keep renewing your visa.

 

As you can see, there are many benefits to the E2 visa, which make it a great option to consider.

 

Still, to get an E2 visa, you must meet all the requirements of the E2 visa.

 

This article will cover the 8 requirements to get an E2 visa.

 

When you are finished reading, you should understand exactly what is needed to get an E2 visa.

 

If you have any questions, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com

 

Now lets start . . .

There are 8 key requirements to getting an E2 visa:

 

1. Must be a national of a treaty country with the United States.

 

2. Have the intent to depart the United States once your E2 status ends.

 

3. Invest a “substantial” amount in a US business.

 

4. US business must be a “bona-fide” enterprise.

 

5. The business is not “marginal.”

 

6. You are coming to the United States to “direct and develop” the E2 business.

 

7. Lawful source of funds.

 

8. Your investment is at-risk and is irrevocably committed to the E2 business.

 

Now that we’ve listed out each of the 8 requirements, lets go over what each requirement means.

 

1. You must be a national of a treaty country with the United States.

 

To get an E2 visa, you must possess the nationality of a country with an E2 treaty with the US.

 

Be aware that there are 2 ways to make an E2 investment:

 

1. You can make the investment yourself as an individual

 

2. Your foreign business can make the investment

 

If you make the investment as an individual:

 

  • You are the E2 investor
  • Your country of citizenship will determine your nationality

 

If your foreign business makes the investment:

 

  • The foreign business is the E2 investor
  • The individual owners of the business will determine the nationality of the business
  • The foreign business must be at least 50% owned by nationals of the treaty country

 

Treaty

 

There must be a qualifying treaty between the US and your country of nationality.

 

For a list of all of the E2 treaty countries, see here:

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/treaty.html

 

I’ve also typed out all of the E2 treaty countries here:

 

Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Taiwan, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

 

The E2 visa is only available to nationals of the above-referenced countries.

 

2. Have the intent to depart the United States once your E2 status ends.

 

You must have the intent to leave the US once your status ends.

 

You can meet this requirement by including a statement in your E2 visa application which states that you intend to leave once your status ends.

 

Note:

 

You can still convert your E2 visa to a green card.

 

Even though you must have the intent to depart the US once your E2 status ends, you can still convert your E2 visa to a green card.

 

If done properly, converting your E2 visa to a green card will not conflict with the requirement that you intend to depart the US once your E2 status ends.

 

The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it is temporary and does not directly lead to a green card.

 

In order to convert your E2 visa to a green card, you can “adjust status” to an immigrant visa status.

 

Some examples of immigrant visas are the: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5 visa.

 

This process should be handled by an experienced immigration lawyer.

 

3. Invest a “substantial” amount of capital in a US business.

 

To get an E2 visa, your investment must be considered substantial.

 

The tricky part to this requirement is that there is no set minimum amount that is considered substantial.

 

To determine whether an investment is substantial, a proportionality test is used.

 

This means that the amount you invest will be compared with the total cost of a comparable established business.

 

For example, if you are investing in a restaurant, the amount of your investment will be compared to the total cost of the restaurant.

 

If you are investing in a brand new business, the amount of your investment will be compared against the total cost to bring the business to full functionality.

 

The proportionality test should be viewed as a sliding scale.

 

For lower cost businesses, you should invest 100% of the total cost of the established business.

 

For higher cost businesses, you may invest less than the total cost of the business.

 

To make things easy, as a rule of thumb, I recommend investing NO LESS than $100,000 for an E2 visa.

 

This is not a guarantee that $100,000 will satisfy the substantiality requirement. But you certainly should not invest less than $100,000.

 

4. US business must be a “bona-fide” enterprise.

 

The business you invest in must be an active and for-profit business.

 

A passive investment will not qualify.

 

You cannot invest in a piece of residential real-estate or a stock portfolio.

 

The business should be engaged in some kind of an entrepreneurial activity such as selling a product or providing a service, for profit.

 

5. The business is not “marginal.”

 

The business cannot be considered a marginal enterprise.

 

A marginal enterprise is a business that does not have the present or future capacity to generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for the E2 investor and their family.

 

This means that to avoid being considered a marginal enterprise, the E2 business must either generate more than enough income to provide beyond a minimal living for the investor and their family.

 

You may also prove that the business is not marginal by showing that the E2 business will have a  substantial positive economic impact on the area where it operates.

 

Hiring needed employees can also combat an inference of marginality.

 

6. You are coming to the United States to “direct and develop” the E2 business.

 

To get your E2 visa, you must show that you are coming to the US to direct and develop the E2 business.

 

You can prove that you direct and develop the E2 business by showing that you own at least 50% of the E2 business.

 

If you do not own at least 50% of the E2 business, you may still show that you direct and develop the business by showing that you have operational control of the business.

 

You can show operational control by showing that you have a managerial position within the business.

 

7. Lawful source of funds.

 

The source of your investment funds must be lawful.

 

This means that you must have lawfully obtained the funds you use for your E2 investment.

 

Examples of lawful funds include:

  • Income earned from lawful employment
  • Income from the sale of a property
  • Income from the sale of a business
  • A unsecured loan
  • A loan secured by your personal assets
  • A gift
  • An inheritance

 

8. Your investment is at-risk and is irrevocably committed to the E2 business.

 

To get an E2 visa, your investment must be “irrevocably committed” to the E2 business, and must also be “at-risk.”

 

For this requirement, we will break it down into 4 parts:

 

1. Investment

 

2. Possession and control

 

3. At-risk

 

4. irrevocably committed

 

Investment

 

  • For an E2 visa, you must make an actual investment.
  • This means you must put capital at risk for the purpose of generating a profit.

 

Possession and Control

 

  • As the E2 investor, you must have possession and control of the funds invested.
  • This becomes an issue with gifts and inheritance.
  • If your investment funds are from a gift, the gifting party must give you the funds, and then you can invest those funds in the E2 business.
  • Someone else cannot invest the funds into the company for you.
  • You cannot inherit a business for an E2 visa.
  • You can inherit capital, which you can then use to invest in a US business, for an E2 visa.

 

Investment At-risk

 

  • The investment funds must be subject to total loss.
  • There can be no guarantee that you will get any portion of your investment funds back.

 

Investment Irrevocably Committed

 

  • At the time you file your E2 visa application, your investment funds must already be invested or be in the process of being invested in the E2 business.
  • Your business must be close to starting actual business activities
  • Just having the intent to invest is not enough.
  • Just putting the investment funds in a bank account is not enough to qualify for an E2 visa.
    • You can have a reasonable amount of capital in your business operating account which can count toward your E2 investment capital.
  • You can meet the irrevocability standard by placing your investment funds in an escrow account.
  • You can do this by making the release of the funds conditional on the approval of your E2 visa.

 

Conclusion:

 

By now, you should know that to get an E2 visa, you must meet all 8 of the E2 visa requirements:

 

1. You must be a national of a treaty country with the United States.

 

2. You must have the intent to depart the United States once your E2 status ends.

 

3. Your investment must be “substantial.”

 

4. The US business must be an active, “bona-fide,” enterprise.

 

5. Your business cannot be “marginal.”

 

6. You must “direct and develop” the E2 business.

 

7. Your investment funds must come from a lawful source.

 

8. Your investment must be at-risk and irrevocably committed to the E2 business.

 

Now that you have read the 8 E2 visa requirements, you are in a much better position to understand whether you will qualify for an E2 visa.

 

Tip:

 

The E2 visa requirements are complex. In addition to meeting the requirements, you must make sure that your application clearly shows that you meet all of the requirements.

 

This is not something that you should do on your own. There are many documents that must be carefully prepared and submitted properly, for your visa application to be approved.

 

Many of the US Consulates of the E2 treaty countries have specific requirements for how they would like the E2 application to be submitted to them.

 

Some consulates want a comprehensive business plan while others want a very short and concise business plan.

 

And the order in which the documents are to be submitted is specific to each consulate.

 

If your application isn’t submitted properly, it may not even be processed.

 

The key to your success with an E2 visa it to work with a qualified immigration lawyer with experience handling E2 visa applications.

 

Ashoori Law is a full-service immigration law firm focused on helping entrepreneurs get visas to the US.

 

We would be happy to help you with your E2 visa petition from start to finish.

 

If you have any questions, I’m here for you. Email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

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Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

President of Ashoori Law

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped thousands of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.