What is an E-2 treaty investment visa?
The E-2 treaty investor visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign investors to enter the US and manage/develop their US business. It is not permanent residence status aka a green card. It is a temporary way to live and work in the US for the investor, their spouse and children under 21.
How do I start the process?
One must check to see if they are from a country that has an E-2 treaty with the United States. Go to travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/treaty.html and check to see if your country is on the list. If not, we can refer you to a qualified Immigration Attorney to provide other options for you to legally come to the US.
How do I find a suitable business for an E-2 purpose?
Transworld has the knowledge and expertise to help you find an ideal business for an E-2 visa. We also can help you find a franchise as they often have a history of success you can draw on to build your E-2 case. Our offices are located throughout the United States to assist you in finding the ideal business in the location you want. If you prefer to be near the US/Canadian border or US/Mexican border we can help you find a business close to those locations. Or if you want to be in a warm climate all year round or near a place that has a lot of snow, we can help you locate a business no matter where you want to live.
How do I know how much money I need to invest in an E-2 business
To determine how much money you will need to invest in your E-2 business, it will depend on the type of business you buy. The investment must be, “substantial” which means usually half of the total value of the enterprise. A substantial E-2 visa investment is at least $150,000 and sometimes closer to $200,000 depending on which country you are from. If you wish to develop a new business substantial funds must be invested which is usually close to $150,000, depending of course on the type of business you wish to create. Businesses that cost less than $150,000 to purchase or develop might qualify for an E-2 visa but a US Immigration Attorney should be consulted to review the entire investment for E-2 purposes.
What role does the investor play in the US business once they obtain an E-2 visa?
The E-2 investor must play an active role in the business; however, one need not be physically present at the business every day but must manage and direct the investment enterprise on a regular basis.
Can I get a green card through this process?
It may be possible to go from an E-2 visa to a green card. Some E-2 visa holders change to EB-5 employment based- investor visa classification ( investing either $500k or $1 million in a new commercial enterprise depending where business is located in the state and creating 10 full time jobs with a few exceptions to this rule- (see helpful chart at AttorneyJessicaWeiss.com on this matter) if they qualify to get a green card this way and others qualify in different ways through for ex. EB-3 employment based –skilled worker category. A qualified immigration attorney should be consulted to come up with a long-term plan for you to remain in the US.
How long is my E-2 visa valid for?
Each country has their own limits on how long they issue an E-2 visa for. Once the visa is issued and the investor comes to the US, they are given a two-year E-2 status. Then they must either leave the US before the two-year status expires and reenter for another 2-year status. But only if their visa is valid or an extension of that status in the US before their current 2-year status expires. If one wishes to keep doing of status applications and not leave the US, it’s possible. But they never need to travel outside the US, they must get a new visa application. The visa is the ticket that allows one to enter the US but may expire while one is here. It’s the status that determines how long one can stay in the US.
When do I renew my E-2 visa?
Six months before the visa will expire typically is a good time to renew the visa. It must be renewed by filing an application with a US Consulate and attending an interview abroad. The foreigner will not be allowed back into the US if the visa isn’t valid. Note that if one prefers to do an extension of E-2 status while in the US they don’t need to renew the E-2 visa but if they travel outside the US and want to reenter they must have a valid E-2 visa to get back in. Approval of the extension application in the US doesn’t guarantee the E-2 visa renewal application will be approved at the US Consulate abroad.
Is there a limit on how long I can stay in the E-2 visa classification?
If the US and your home country have an E treaty and you continue to maintain your US business, you can stay in it forever. You don’t ever need to apply for a green card. However, keep in mind that if you have children getting closer to 21 you may want to move out of the E-2 if you qualify. Then your children will get green cards with you and your spouse if its before they age out.
Do my spouse and kids get an E-2 visa also?
Your spouse will get E dependent classification once your case is approved and once they enter the US they can apply for a work permit to work for any US employer. Your children under 21 will also get E dependent status and can go to school in the US but they can’t get a work permit like your spouse can.
Who can help me file an E-2 visa application?
As experienced business advisors, we can assist you in finding the ideal business for E-2 visa purposes. We refer clients to qualified immigration attorneys. A US Immigration Attorney can educate you on the E-2 visa process and assist you with the paperwork necessary to have a successful E-2 case.
The information contained here is only intended as a guide and is not to be considered as legal advice. You should contact an Immigration Attorney for actual requirements for your personal situation.
Content Provided By:
Jessica Weiss Esq.
Weiss & Moy, PC
For assistance with E-2 visa applications, you can contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica over 20 years of experience working with E-2 foreign investors and brokers all over the United States, helping small to large prospective foreign business owners from a variety of business types.