E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Taiwan, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.
For a more detailed list of eligible countries, please see the U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries.
Bilateral investment treaties conferring E-2 status have been also signed with Belarus, Russia, and Uzbekistan but have not yet entered into force. The State Department will announce when any of these treaties go into effect.
- The investor’s home country maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. You can find a current list of eligible countries at the U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries website.
- The person has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in the U.S. business. There is no minimum amount required in order for the investment to be considered substantial (as little as $50,000 may be sufficient and even less than $50,000 investment has been approved, but any investment below $100,000 would need a very strong case to support it.)
- The business in which the investment was made is not less than 50% owned by citizens of the treaty country. Note here that foreign nationals who are also U.S. permanent residents cannot be counted toward determining at least 50% ownership.
- The investor intends to come to the U.S. to direct the operations of the company, either as the investor who will develop and direct the investment, or as a qualified manager / executive / supervisor, or specially trained and highly qualified employee necessary for the development of the investment.
- The investor possesses means of support independent of the enterprise.
- The investment should result in the creation of jobs for U.S. workers (should be at least 3-4 workers, but there is no requirement for any particular number).
- The business must have a present or future capacity to generate “more than enough income” to provide a minimal living for the investor and his or her family (if not initially, then at least within the five-year period).
Spouses of E-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for and receive a work authorization. The spouse seeking employment authorization must apply for a work permit on I-765 form. The spouse cannot start employment until the employment authorization document is received from the USCIS. When the work permit is received, the spouse can work with any employer, but only within the period stated on the employment authorization document.
Children cannot obtain a work authorization document.
- This visa category may be used by different types of companies, from a small company owned by a single investor to a large multinational corporation.
- The Treaty Investor (E-2) visa can be used for purposes of overseeing investment in the United States.
- This visa can be used by a company’s principals or by its employees, as long as they are performing functions in accordance with the applicable rules.
- The treaty alien can extend his or her stay in the U.S. almost indefinitely. Many individuals in E status have been in this country 10 years or more.
An investor may also use the B-1 visa category for business visitors to come to the U.S. for short periods of time to set up and staff a company. These persons, however, may not be paid by the United States company.