The E2 visa is a type of U.S. visa that allows individuals from treaty countries to enter, reside, and work in the United States based on their investment in a U.S. business. To qualify for this visa, the individual must:
- Be a national of a treaty country: The U.S. has treaties with various countries that allow for the E2 visa. Not every country is on the list, so one must first ensure that their country has such a treaty with the U.S.
- Make a substantial investment: The individual must invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. The investment must be active and at-risk, meaning it must be subject to partial or total loss if the business fails. There is no specific dollar amount defined for what constitutes a “substantial” investment; instead, it is determined on a case-by-case basis.
- Have control over the funds and investment: The applicant must demonstrate that they control the funds and that the investment is irrevocably committed to the business.
- Business must be active: The U.S. business in which the individual invests must be active, meaning it should offer goods and/or services for profit. Merely passive investments, like purchasing stocks or undeveloped land, are not sufficient.
- Investor’s role: The investor must be coming to the U.S. to direct and develop the business. This often means that the applicant has a significant role in the business, such as an executive or managerial role.
- The investment must not be marginal: The business should have the capacity to generate more income than just to provide a living for the investor and their family. Ideally, it should also have a significant economic impact.
The E2 visa can be a great option for those looking to live and work in the U.S. based on their investment. The visa can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business remains operational and meets the requirements. However, it’s important to note that the E2 visa does not provide a direct path to permanent residency (green card). If someone on an E2 visa wants to pursue permanent residency, they would need to find another avenue for doing so.