In order to attract significant amount of foreign investor capital to the US — which generates economic activity and creates employment — the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) currently offers a nonimmigrant E2 visa category (also referred to as “Treaty Investor”).

Key Facts About the E2 Visa

Investors who petition for an E2 visa must meet several criteria, including:

  • The petitioner must be a citizen of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. 
  • The petitioner must show evidence that substantial funds are available for the investment. At present, USCIS has not identified a specific minimum amount, and typically determines whether an investment is substantial or not based on a variety of factors (e.g. type of business, location of business, number of direct and indirect jobs that are likely to be created, etc.). According to experienced E2 investor visa lawyer Karen-Lee Pollak, who heads the Dallas-based immigration law firm Pollak PLLC, in most cases the investment must be at least $100,000.
  • The petitioner must show evidence of commitment to the investment. In other words, the intended investment must be designated for an active, operational business (i.e. it cannot be for a passive investment, such as purchasing a home or investing in stocks, etc.).
  • The petitioner’s investment must be large enough so that it creates an economic benefit that goes beyond just his or her family members.

E2 Visa for Employees

In addition, alien employees of businesses that receive E2 investment funds may be granted an E2 nonimmigrant visa, if they will be carrying out duties that are supervisory, managerial or executive in nature, or if the employee has specialized skills. For example, a business that manufacturers medical testing equipment may be granted an E2 visa for a technical engineer whose knowledge is essential to the operation.

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E2 Visa for Family Members

The wife or husband of an E2 visa holder, and their unmarried children under 21 years of age, may also qualify for an E2 visa. Such applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by USCIS.

Treaty Countries

As noted above, investors who wish to receive an E2 visa must be a citizen of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. Several countries currently qualify, and a full list is published by the U.S. Department of State.

Next Steps

If you are interested in living and working in the U.S. per the E2 nonimmigrant visa, then it is essential that you contact an experienced immigration attorney. The petition process is complex and there are numerous deadlines to meet.