If you are a successful business person, you may be considering expanding your operations to the United States. One avenue to achieve this is through the E-2 treaty investor visa, which allows individuals from certain countries to invest in and manage a business in the U.S. This article will provide a concise overview of the main features and principal requirements for qualifying for and obtaining nonimmigrant E-2 treaty investor status. Additionally, we will briefly point out the differences between the E-2 nonimmigrant and EB-5 immigrant investor visas.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
Some key features and requirements of the E-2 visa include:
- The investor must be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty. Dozens of countries all over the world have treaties with the United States that could make their citizens eligible for treaty investor visas.
- The investment must be substantial and sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The term “substantial ” is not explicitly defined in terms of a specific dollar amount, but rather in relation to the total cost of the investment.
- The investment must not be “marginal” which means generally that the business must not solely serve to support the treaty investor and the investor’s family. An investment which results in the employment of U.S. workers will likely not be found to be marginal.
- The investor must be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.
- The visa is generally valid for up to five years and can be extended.
E-2 Visa Employees
Key employees of the same nationality as the investor are also eligible for E-2 classification. The employee must be either engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications
The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, meaning it does not lead to permanent residency or a green card. In contrast, the EB-5 immigrant investor visa leads to permanent residency and ultimately the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship. The EB-5 visa requires a higher level of investment (generally $1,050,000 or $800,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area) and the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Working with knowledgeable and experienced immigration counsel, it may be possible for a business to support both E-2 nonimmigrant status and eventual immigration for the investor and family members either as an EB-5 immigrant investor or as one of the other employment-based immigrant visa categories, .