E-2 INVESTOR VISA

The attorneys of Levine & Eskandari, LLC receive numerous inquiries on the E-2 investor visa. The E-2 Investor Visa is a terrific option for foreign investors who wish to immigrate to the United States by investing in an existing business or establishing a new business.

WHO IS QUALIFIED?

All E-2 visa applicants must be nationals of a country that holds a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States. See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html for a listing of countries that maintain this necessary treaty with the U.S. The regulations state that the foreign investor must be a national of one of these countries, but the law does not require that they be residing in that country in order to qualify for the E-2 visa.

WHAT IS REQUIRED?

  • Treaty investor applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a treaty investor (E-2) visa under immigration law. The consular officer will determine whether a treaty investor applicant qualifies for a visa.
  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
  • There is no hard and fast requirement on the amount of financial investment. The investment amount must be sufficiently high enough to ensure the successful establishment and operation of the enterprise. Whether a financial investment is sufficiently high can usually be demonstrated with a well prepared business plan.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the area where the business exists.
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise.

HOW DOES ONE APPLY FOR THE E-2 VISA?

Applications for E-2 visas can be submitted directly at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the foreign investor’s place of residence. While E-2 visa requests may be submitted to USCIS while the investor is in the United States, it rarely makes sense to do so because the investor is required to submit a completely brand new E-2 visa application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to obtain an E-2 visa stamp in their passport.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME A FOREIGN INVESTOR IS ABLE TO MAINTAIN THE E-2 VISA?

A terrific feature of the E-2 visa is that it can be renewed indefinitely so long as the qualifying E-2 business continues to exist and operate.

WHAT ABOUT MY SPOUSE AND CHILDREN?

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may receive dependent E-2 visas in order to accompany the principal visa holder. One extremely positive feature of the E-2 visa is that E-2 visa spouses are eligible for their own work authorization, which will allow them to work for any employer or even engage in self-employment.

WHAT IS THE ATTORNEY’S ROLE IN THE E-2 PROCESS?

Levine & Eskandari attorneys handle every aspect of the E-2 application process once the foreign investor has selected their investment option. Our attorneys are intimately familiar with the application process and what evidence Consular Officers expect to see.

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