The E-2 investment visa is a non-immigrant visa type that the United States offers to foreign investors. With an E-2 treaty investor visa, you can direct and set up a business in the United States with your immediate family. If you meet certain criteria, you can make an application and start your business in the US. To acquire an E-2 visa, you’ll need to meet specific requirements.
What You Will Find in This Article
- What Is E2 Visa
- E2 Investor Visa Eligibility
- How To Apply for E2 Visa: Application and Process
- Required Documents for E2 Visa
- Fees and Costs for E2 Visa
- E-2 Visa Validity
- E-2 Visa Advantages
- Is EB5 Visa an Alternative to E2 Visa?
What Is E2 Visa
E-2 Visa, also known as “Treaty Investor Visa”, is a United States visa that is available to citizens of countries that have trade treaties with the U.S. E2 Visa enables applicants to come to the U.S to set up a business. If you’re a citizen of a treaty country and have significant funds you might be eligible for E2 Visa in the US.
E2 Investor Visa Eligibility
If you’re planning to move to the US with E2 Visa, note that you’ll need to meet certain criteria. Here is the main qualification you need to have for the application:
- You’ve invested or are in the process of investing in a bona fide enterprise in the US. If the business you’re going to invest in is marginal, it won’t qualify;
- You’re ready to move to the US to direct the business;
- You have sufficient funds to invest and you’re able to prove that you’ve acquired those funds legally;
- You’re from one of the countries listed below:
|Bolivia||Bosnia & Herzegovina||Bulgaria||Cameroon|
|Congo||Costa Rica||Croatia||Czech Republic|
|Thailand||Togo||Trinidad & Tobago||Tunisia|
An E2 visa is only available to those from the above countries. If your country is not on this list, unfortunately, you don’t qualify for E2 Visa. For example, India and China (mainland) don’t have treaties with the U.S. and their citizens can’t qualify for E2 Visa.
What Is Bona Fide Enterprise for E2 Visa
A real, functioning business or entrepreneurial venture that provides services or items for profit is referred to as a bona fide enterprise. The business cannot be a dormant investment, such as undeveloped property or stocks held by a non-directing investor.
On the other hand, a marginal enterprise only can generate income that is only enough for you and your family. It doesn’t make a significant economic contribution to the U.S.
For your E2 visa application to be successful, you need to make sure your business is a bona fide one.
Investment Requirements for E-2 Visa USA
The regulation does not specify a minimum investment amount, but it does indicate that investors must make a “substantial investment.” A substantial investment is large enough to secure your financial commitment to the enterprise’s success. Depending on the overall size of the business, its location, and the industry, a significant amount of investment may be required. In general, an investor should expect to put down at least $100,000. The exact amount required will be determined by the sort of business chosen by the investor. Some low-cost start-up enterprises may be eligible for investments of less than $100,000.
How To Apply for E-2 Visa: Application and Process
The application for E2 Visa can be done in two ways: It’s possible to do the application while you’re in the US or outside of the country.
E-2 Visa Application If You’re Already in the US
If you’re staying in the US legally, you can make an application directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) via Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Apart from the form, you’ll also need to provide your investment plan. Typically the application process will take around five months. However, this period might be shorter or longer depending on your situation.
If you’re an individual investor, you’ll file the petition yourself. If you’re part of a company, your employer will need to file Form I-129 for you. Once the application is completed, USCIS will deny or approve your application. If your application is approved, they’ll provide you with a Form I-797, Approval Notice.
Filing Form I-129 costs $460. Also, note that a premium express service is available for an extra cost of $1,440. If you use this service, your petition will be processed within 15 calendar days. But, note that this doesn’t change your chances of getting approval, this is only to speed up the processing time.
E-2 Visa Application If You’re Outside of the US
This is the most common method of applying for an E2 Visa and it’s done through the US consulates abroad. When you make an application, they’ll review your application and they’ll set up an interview with you. If your visa is approved, you’re going to get your E2 visa in around one week. In total, the whole process may differ depending on the consulate. For some consulates, it’s two weeks, but for some, it’s four weeks.
Please find below the application steps in detail.
- File the Form DS-160
- Pay the application fee
- Schedule your interview
- Prepare your application package
- Show up at the interview
Filing a Form DS-160
Fill in the DS-160 form online and provide your details and your motive for going to the US. When you complete the form, you’ll be directed to a confirmation page and code, which you’re going to need with you for the interview.
Pay the Application Fee
Pay the application fee, which is $205. Depending on the regulations at the embassy in your home country, there might be some extra fees. Note that you’ll need the payment receipts later, so make sure you keep them.
Schedule the Visa Interview
After the first two steps, set up your interview. When the interview is scheduled, you’ll be provided with a visa appointment letter, which you’ll need when you go to the interview.
Prepare Your Application Documents
Before you show up at your interview, make sure your documents are completed. The complete list of documents is available in the next section.
Visit the Consulate for the Interview
The US Consulate officials will interview you for your E-2 visa application. Note that you might be required to show proof of your intention to return to your home country. After the interview is over, the US Consulate will process your request.
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Required Documents for E-2 Visa
- DS-160 form
- Your passport
- Two photographs
- Photos should be in color, taken in the last six months, with a plain background*
- The payment receipt of $205
- Form DS-156E, If you’re an Executive/Manager/Essential employee
- Proof that you’ll return to your home country. Below documents might work as proof of return intention:
- Property deeds, or apartment lease, etc.
- The documents of your business
- Business licenses and registration documents
- Financial statements
- Office lease agreements
- Organizational chart
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Employees and client contracts
- Registration documents for your business if you are just starting it
- Business plan
*You might be required to submit a digital photo depending on the embassy. This is why we recommend checking all the photo requirements before submission.
Fees and Costs for E-2 Visa
- As we’ve indicated previously, for all I-129 petitions, the basic filing fee is $460. This cost is to be paid each time the petition is filed, even if it is for an extension or an amendment;
- You’ll pay a $205 fee for your DS-160 visa application if you are outside the US and need to make an application through an embassy;
- Biometric services cost $85;
- Additional costs might be incurred depending on your situation.
E-2 Visa Validity
When your E-2 visa is approved, it’s going to be valid for two years. Once this period is over, you may be granted a renewal which is for another two years.
E-2 Visa Advantages
Work in the US Legally
One of the most significant E-2 visa benefits is the ability to legally do business in the United States while also working for that company. You must play a key role in the firm, whether it is established or you are just starting.
No Minimum Investment Amount
Although you’re going to invest in your business, there is no specific amount required for the investment. As long as you’re investing a substantial amount, you might be eligible. This is a huge benefit when compared to other visas.
Access to Education in the US
If you have children who are under the age of 21, they’re eligible to access the education system in the country under E-2 dependent visa. Once they reach 21, they can apply for another visa and pursue work or higher education opportunities in the US.
Travel Freely in and out of the US
As long as your E-2 treaty trader visa is valid, you and your dependents have the choice of traveling outside of the United States. USCIS doesn’t impose any stay requirements or travel restrictions on the E-2 visa holders.
Stay in the US Indefinitely
As an E-2 visa holder, you can request an extension of stay for unlimited times. As long as your extensions are approved, you can live in the country and continue to do your business, without being a citizen or having a green card.
Is EB5 Visa an Alternative to E-2 Visa?
E-2 Visa is different from EB5 Visa as the former doesn’t grant permanent residency. EB5 Visa leads to Green Card and citizenship eventually.