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E-2 Visa Overview

  • This visa category is for persons who want to operate a business in the United States. It must be a real, operating business.
  • The US business can be a new business, or you can purchase an existing business.
  • Most applicants who qualify can obtain a 5-year visa. If you continue to operate the business successfully, you should be able to continue to obtain a renewal of the visa.

E2 Visa Advantages

  • If applicant is outside the U.S then the application is made directly with a U.S. Consulate abroad.
  • The spouse of the E-2 visa principle applicant can also obtain employment authorization.
  • Children of the E-2 applicant can attend public school.

E2 Visa Disadvantages

  • Cannot adjust status under E-2 visa, therefore cannot obtain a green card through this category.
  • Funds must be invested and at risk before applying for the visa.
  • The E-2 visa holders must leave the U.S. every two years and reenter to renew their E-2 “status”, even if you hold a 5-year visa.

General Qualifications

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States.
  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

Application Process

Stage I - Prepare Documents

  • Provide applicant information.
  • Provide family, spouse and other supporting information.
  • Provide E-2 business plan.
  • Document source of funds.
  • Engage immigration attorney and pay legal fee.

Stage II - Invest in an enterprise

  • Obtain at least a 50% ownership of a qualifying enterprise.
  • No minimum investment specified, but the suggested amount is $250,000.
  • Execute business formation and operating documents.

Stage III - Submit Application

If Investor is in the United States

  • File Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification.
  • I-129 petition will need to be filed for each family member.
  • If electing for premium service, USCIS guarantees an E-2 visa processing time of 15 calendar days, but may issue requests for evidence to “stop the clock” pending an applicant’s response.

If the investor is abroad

  • Apply directly at a U.S. Consulate.
  • Pay filing fee for DS-160 visa application.

Stage IV - Receive E-2 Visa and move to the U.S