US Immigration News

5 Details You Should Know About the E-2 Investor Visa

4 minute read
"The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is for international entrepreneurs and investors who wish to establish or acquire a business in the United States. The E-2 Visa option is much more accessible and less expensive than the EB-5 Visa program."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 5, 2021
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The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is for international entrepreneurs and investors who wish to establish or acquire a business in the United States. The E-2 Visa option is much more accessible and less expensive than the EB-5 Visa program. 

The EB-5 Investor Visa requires you to invest at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a US company to gain permanent residence. Comparatively, if you apply for an E-2 visa, you come to the US for 2 years initially. This period can be extended any number of times. 

To apply for an E-2 Visa, you must meet the eligibility criteria for the visa program. Here are some details about the E-2 investor visa program that you must keep in mind. 

What Do You Need to Know About the E-2 Visa? 

Substantial and “At-Risk” Investment: 

As an E-2 investor, you will be required to prove that the capital you invested in the business is substantial and at risk. You will be required to have a detailed business plan for your venture and the substantiality of your investment based on the following factors:

  • You must own at least 50% of the business you are investing in
  • If you can not own 50% of the business, you must control the operations through a managerial position
  • The amount invested in the business must be compared to the total cost of buying or establishing the business 
  • The amount must be substantial enough to demonstrate that you are committed to the success of the business
  • You must be directly involved in the operations and management of the business 
  • The lower the cost of the business, the higher the proportion of the cost of investment should be. If the investment is less than $100,000, you will be required to provide the full amount

The investment made by the investor must be ‘at-risk or irrevocable. You can present the following documents to demonstrate that your investment is at risk:

  • Canceled checks or money orders
  • Business bill of sale
  • Escrow documents
  • Itemized list of goods and materials purchased for the start-up of the business

Marginal Nature: 

The business being acquired can not be marginal, meaning that it can not increase in value through passive investment or idle means. For example, purchasing and holding the land in hopes of future value increase to earn profits. 

Your business must generate an income that fulfills more than just the needs of you and your family but also enough to significantly contribute to the US economy.

Investor Must be a Citizen of a Treaty Country: 

You must be a citizen of a country that has an investment treaty with the United States. The list of the countries that are a part of such a treaty can be found on the US Department of State website. However, this is not for permanent residents of treaty countries. Only legitimate citizens with a passport issued by the treaty countries can apply for this visa program. 

However, you do not have to be currently residing in the treaty country to apply for this visa. As a Japanese citizen, you can apply for an E-2 visa even while living in Russia even though Russia is not part of an investment treaty. 

Employees of Treaty Investors: 

Under certain circumstances, your foreign employees could accompany you to the US to run the business through the E-2 visa program. However, you will also be required to hire US citizens for your business. 

Your foreign employees must meet the following conditions to be eligible:

  • Be of the same nationality as the investor
  • Be employed in an executive or supervisory position or possess specialized skills and knowledge essential to business operations
  • Semi-skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify, also having the knowledge of a foreign language, culture or previous employment with the business does not make foreign employees eligible

Family Members of Treaty Investors and Employees: 

E-2 investors and accompanying employees can add their family members on the application for E-2 visa status. If their application is successful, they will be authorized to work in the US. However, children of the E-2 investors and employees will only be authorized to study and not work. 

Family members of treaty investors and employees must meet the following conditions:

  • Be spouses or dependent children of treaty investors and employees 
  • As a dependent child, be under the age of 21
  • Being of the same nationality is irrelevant 

The duration of their visa will be the same as that of the treaty investor and employees. However, there are certain differences between the treaty investor and foreign employees. 

The principal applicant must only work specific tasks for which they are approved. Foreign employees can work for either the parent or subsidiary company of the organization. 

If the foreign employees are working for the parent or subsidiary company, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Be working for a subsidiary executive, supervisor or other essential position
  • Have similar terms and conditions of employment as before
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