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E-2 visa basics for investors

Posted by attorney William Fong

Treaty Investment Visa

The E-2 nonimmigrant visa authorizes a citizen of a treaty country to oversee their investment in the U.S.or work with aU.S. business which is at least 50% owned by citizens of the treaty country. The visa can be extended every two (2) years without limitation on the total period of stay. The spouse and minor children may accompany or follow to join the E-2 principal. Employees from the treaty country, including executives, managers and essential employees are eligible for the E-2 visa.

E-2 Treaty Investor is Visa Requirements

The E-2 visa requires (1) a treaty allowing investment in the U.S between the U.S. and the country of which the person a national; (2) the investor is a treaty national or a qualifying organization (50% or more owned by treaty nationals); (3) the applicant is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital; (4) entering the U.S. to develop and direct the investment, or entering the U.S. to work in an executive, managerial or “essential employee" capacity; and (5) the U.S. investment is fifty percent (50%) owned by a treaty national or qualifying organization.

Sample Treaty Countries

The following countries have investment treaties with the United States that qualify for the E-2 visa. Many other countries qualify for the treaty investment visa.

Argentina; Australia; Austria; Bangladesh; Canada; Colombia, Ecuador; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Korea; Mexico; the Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; the Philippines; Romania; Taiwan; Sweden; Switzerland; Thailand; Turkey and the United Kingdom

Approval of the Visa


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has jurisdiction to approve change of status to E-2 visa classification and the U.S. Department of State, through U.S. Consulates, have jurisdiction to approve E-2 visa issuance.

The CIS issues an approval notice as evidence of the principal investor or key employee's E-2 status. The approval notice allows the employee to work for the petitioning company only. Dependents are issued approval notices as evidence of their E-2 status. The U.S. Consulate issues the E-2 visa in the passport as evidence of the principal investor or key employee’s E-2 status. The visa in the passport is annotated with the name of the petitioning company.

Work Authorization for Spouse

The spouses of E visa holders are allowed work authorization in the U.S. Spouses of E visa holders file for work authorization with theCISServiceCenterandpay the applicable filing fees. The investor, employees and dependents must have E-2 visas in their passports for travel back to theU.S.This application is made at U.S. Consulates and is referred to as visa consular processing.

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