The E-2 treaty investor visa allows foreign nationals the opportunity to temporarily work and live in the United States. This non-immigrant visa is a great opportunity for foreign nationals who are interested in starting or purchasing an existing business in the United States. The E-2 visa requires the applicant to provide a substantial investment to develop and direct a business or enterprise in the U.S. with the purpose of benefiting the U.S. economy. The investor visa was established as part of a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States which is why the applicant must be a national of a participating treaty country to qualify. You can find the list of participating countries at the U.S. Department of State website here.
The E-2 investor visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means the duration of the visa is temporary, and may range from two years to five years, depending on whether the applicant applied at the consulate or changed lawful status within the U.S. However, there are no limitations to renewing the E-2 visa. You may renew your E-2 visa indefinitely if you continue to meet the E-2 visa qualifications.
So, how exactly can you qualify for the E-2 treaty investor visa?
To be eligible for the E-2 visa, the investor must:
- Be from an eligible treaty country;
- Have invested, or actively in the process of investing, substantial capital in a US enterprise;
- Come to US to develop and direct the US enterprise (through at least 50% ownership or otherwise possess control of operations).
What is a substantial amount of capital, you may wonder. The capital will be assessed as substantial in relation to:
- The cost of establishing or purchasing the business;
- The financial commitment necessary to ensure a successful operation; and
- The amount required to profitably develop and direct the business.
USCIS makes clear that the business investment must not be minimal, such that its profits only provide a minimal living for the investor. If the business is not operating at a significant profit at the time the E-2 classification is sought, the business should have projections of such profit within five years of the E-2 classification.
The E-2 investor may also hire employees who have the same nationality as the investor, so long as they are employed in a managerial or executive capacity or otherwise have specialized knowledge in the business. Managerial or executive duties will generally give the employee substantial control of the enterprises’ operations, or a component of it.
Both the treaty investors and employees may be accompanied by their spouse and minor children to the U.S., as derivative beneficiaries who will be granted the same duration of stay as the principal applicant. Derivative beneficiaries may apply for work authorization in the U.S.
Interested applicants may apply for the E-2 treaty visa via a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country or if you are already lawfully within the US, you may be able to adjust your lawful status to the E-2 visa classification. USCIS provides premium processing for the E-2 classification, which guarantees a decision within 15 days from the date of receipt. However, adjusting status in the US provides lawful status only, it does not grant you the E-2 visa itself. This means if you leave the country, you will have to reapply for the E-2 visa at the consulate or embassy before returning to the U.S.
Because of the complexities of immigration law and unique circumstances of each case, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. The dedicated attorneys at the Milovic Law Firm will guide you on the right path. Whether you are in Phoenix, Arizona across the U.S. or internationally, we can help you achieve your goal to work and live in the United States. Contact us today at (602) 892-0212 or use our contact form at www.miloviclaw.com to schedule your free consultation.