An E-2 visa is a temporary work visa for treaty investors and certain employees of qualifying organizations to come to the U.S. to invest capital in a U.S. business. A substantial investment of funds and/or assets must be made with the intent of generating a profit and ensuring successful operation of the business. An E-2 visa is only available to nationals of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation or similar arrangement.
E-2 Visa Entitlements
An E-2 visa entitles the holder to live and work in the U.S. temporarily. An E-2 visa is usually granted for an initial period of 2 years and extensions may be granted. A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity that was approved when the visa was granted. Any substantive changes in the investment or the organization’s characteristics must continue to meet the E-2 visa requirements and be approved by the USCIS.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for the applicable derivative visa (E-2 visa) to join their spouse or parent in the U.S. Accompanying spouses and children are entitled to study in the U.S. without obtaining a student visa and accompanying spouses may undertake employment with an approved employment authorization.
E-2 Visa Requirements
To qualify for an E-2 visa, the applicant must be a citizen of one of the following treaty countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- China (Taiwan)
- Costa Rica
- Korea (South)
- United Kingdom
In addition, a treaty investor must invest a substantial amount of capital in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. that they intend to develop and direct. Investment in a non-profit enterprise does not meet this requirement. Substantial capital is considered in relation to the total cost of purchasing or establishing the enterprise and must be sufficient to ensure the venture’s successful operation. The business must also employ U.S. workers and not solely benefit the investor and their family.
Employees of organizations wishing to apply for an E-2 visa must be coming to the U.S. in the capacity of an executive or supervisor that will be providing ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s operations. To qualify, the organization must be at least 50% owned by persons who have the nationality of the treaty country and the applicant. E-2 visa applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.