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E-2 Visa Treaty Investor

The Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa is a non-immigrant visa based around treaty agreements America maintains between certain countries. The E-2 Visa is issued to the foreign nationals of these treaty countries on the basis the visa holder is entering America for the sole purpose of developing and managing business enterprise with which they have a vested interest in.

As such, to qualify for this visa the applicant must have invested or plans to invest in the near future a substantial amount of capital within America.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be from a country with a treaty agreement with America;
  • Provide substantial investment;
  • Be planning to establish an active business enterprise;
  • Be in a role which is managerial or supervisory in nature; and The investment must be committed.
  • For the purposes of this visa, a substantial amount of capital or investment is:
  • Substantial in the proportional sense, that is, in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise under consideration;
  • Sufficient to ensure the visa holder’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise; and
  • Of a level to support the likelihood the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.

The funds used for investment must be the visa applicants own funds, and documentary evidence will be required to prove this. These funds, however, may be in the form of loans (as long as the loan is not collateralized by the acquired assets) and other assets such as equipment, fixtures, inventory, patent rights, royalties and other contract rights so long as they can be objectively appraised.

In addition, any business undertaken as part of the investment must not be marginal in nature. That is, to be legitimate, the business must have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income for the treaty investor and their family. The projected future income-generating capacity should generally be realizable within 5 years from the date the E2 Visa holder commences the normal business activity of the enterprise.

In many cases, an E-2 visa can be granted to an individual who is an employee of a treaty investor if he/she holds the same nationality as the foreign investor/employer and seeks admission to the U.S. to engage in duties that require special qualifications (either executive, managerial, supervisory or “essential” skills) that are essential to the operation of the enterprise. A foreign national may also qualify for E-2 status if he or she intends to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or of an enterprise in which he or she is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.

An E-2 Treaty Trader must be a national of the country with whom the United States maintains a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. As of January 2002, eligible Treaty Investor countries are:

  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Bulgaria
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • China (Taiwan)
  • Colombia
  • Congo (Republic Of)
  • Congo (Democratic Republic Of)
  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Grenada
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Italy
E-2 Visa
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  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liberia
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • Moldavia
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Senegal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Yugoslavia

Even if the treaty exists with the United States, a foreign investor who seeks E-2 visa status must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The investor has invested or is actively in the process of investing;
  • The investor’s enterprise must be a real and operating commercial enterprise;
  • The investor’s investment is substantial;
  • investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living;
  • The investor is in a position to “develop and direct” the enterprise;
  • An E-2 applicant, if an employee of the investor, must be coming to the U.S in an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States; and
  • The E-2 visa applicant must intend to depart the United States when his/her E-2 status terminates.

Authorization Period, Extensions, and Restrictions

Both E-1 and E-2 visa holders are initially granted a period of admission for two (2) years with an unlimited number of two-year extensions of status.