What you need to know about the E-2 Visa


One way to live and work in the United States is to apply for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This type of visa allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. by investing a substantial amount of capital in a new business or in an existing business in the U.S., and willing to enter the U.S. to develop and direct this business.

In case you have dual citizenship, if one of your citizenships is from one of the countries with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce, you can apply for the E-2 visa. The list of countries that maintain a treaty of commerce with the U.S. can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html.

By “investing,” the regulations say that the amount must be “at risk,” the investment funds must be “irrevocably committed” to the E-2 business. This means that it must be used, whether it is through the purchase of materials, furniture, rent for the premises where the business will operate, in an escrow account set specifically to be used in the event of E-2 approval, etc.

When the U.S. Consulate analyses if an amount of capital is substantial, the officer will consider (1) the total cost of buying an established business or the startup costs of establishing a new business, (2) whether the amount is sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the business, and (3) if it is of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the business.

One huge advantage of the E-2 Visa is that, unlike the unstable and expensive EB-5 investments, there is no set minimum amount of investment needed for the amount to be considered “substantial.” However, your investment needs to be proportional to the total value of the business, and it cannot be marginal. This means that you must show that the investment has the potential to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his/her family within five years from the initial investment.

This can be shown through a comprehensive and detailed business plan that shows how you intend to develop and make the business grow in the next 5 years. Therefore, a well-thought-out business plan is extremely important and sets the core foundations for your new business investment visa. Our law firm has the connections with experienced business plan writers with a proven record of success.

Other requirements for a successful case include the demonstration of lawful sources of funds, a successful interview at the Consulate, etc. To the inexperienced, it seems complicated, but with specialized help and individualized guidance, you will be able to work in the U.S., your family will be able to attend school here, and you will be successful in running a business here on your E-2 visa.

Our office has been successful in obtaining approval for initial investment of less than $35,000, hiring part-time/subcontractors, and with the service business being operated from the investor’s home office. This is not known to be common in the immigration lawyers’ community, but it proves the effectiveness of our firm. If you are interested in investing in the U.S. and applying for the E-2 Visa, we can help you to build a strong case, within its peculiarities, with personalized attention, providing you with the appropriate legal advice. Contact our law firm for a consultation.

Zhang-Louie, Immigration Legal Counsel is a law firm in Malden, Massachusetts with multi-lingual language capabilities – Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish.