Apr 9

How to Get Your E2 Treaty Investor Visa

What is the E2 Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is temporary and can be granted for up to 5 years. (The E-2 visa should not be confused with the EB-5 Investor Visa which is a an immigrant petition for a Green Card and requires a $500,000 investment in a regional center that is in a targeted employment area or a 1 million dollar investment that will employ 10 or more employees.)

In August 2011, USCIS created initiatives to increase jobs in the U.S. and established the “Entrepreneurs in Residence” program in order to increase jobs by strengthening new business in the U.S.

Given such strong directives from the Department of Homeland Security, it is a good time to consider the E-2 visa for opening your U.S. based business, chiropractic office, a consultant based business in mining or industrial design, a retail store, or pastry shop.

What Countries Have Treaty Investor Status?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is available to nationals of a treaty country with which the U.S maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. The purpose of the treaty investor visa is to facilitate commerce between the treaty nations.

For example, Canada, Mexico, France, England, Taiwan and Jordan have a bilateral treaty with the U.S. See this complete list of treaty investor countries.

What Do I Need to Obtain My E2 Visa?

  • Nationality
    The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
  • SubstantialityThe investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.  For example, a consultant based business, such as graphic design services or management consulting business will require a higher ratio of investment than a medical office.The substantiality test compares the amount of qualifying funds actually invested against the total costs of purchasing an existing business or the total cost of establishing a newly created business and making it operational.

    If the amount of capital actually invested is the same as the cost of the business, the investment  is   considered to be 100% of the required funds, and is considered “substantial.”

    Business investments that are not 100%, the higher the cost of the business, the greater the amount of financing against the business assets is allowed.

    The State Department has published the following sliding scale.

Total Costs of Business

  • $ 50,000.00
  • $100,000.00
  • $500,000.00
  • $1,000,000.00
  • $10,000,000.00
  • $100,000,000.00
Percentage Cash Required

  • 100%
  • 75 to 100%
  • 60%
  • 50 to 60%
  • 30%
  • 10%
  • Real & Operating Business
    The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • Marginality
    The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
  • Control
    The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • Develop & Direct
    The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

**Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for work authorization with USCIS.  If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work.

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  1. Himanshu 1 Jul 2013 | reply

    I am in process of buying C-Store with beer and wine In MA. As per the licensing requirements I have to appoint Mnager as Corporate principal., who hold daily operation responsilility. I am the 99% owner of this Manager Managed LLC. Do I eligilble for E2 status?

    • Johanna Keamy 1 Jul 2013 | reply

      Hello Himanshu,

      Pursuant to the Foreign Affairs Manual at 9 FAM 41.51 N12.1, the Investor is required to Develop and Direct and Have Controlling Interest in the business Enterprise.

      If the Operating Agreement and ownership documents prove that you are 99 percent owner of the convenience store and have been elected as a Managing Member of the limited Liability Company, hiring a Manager for daily operations and general store management would not limit your control of the company as you would still be a Managing Member capable of firing the Manager. Yes, you would satisfy this requirement of the E-2 visa, however, an analysis of the entire application would be required to determine E-2 visa eligibility. E-2 visa applications are complex and it is advised that you seek competent counsel.



  2. Juan Carlos 1 Jul 2013 | reply

    Hello, my business partner and I want to open a business in USA. It is a small pet grooming business, we only have 50k to open the business in the USA, could you help us?

    • Johanna Keamy 1 Jul 2013 | reply

      Hello Juan,

      I received your message that you and your business partner want to open a business in the USA with an investment of $50,000 for a pet grooming business. Before responding, I will need more information from you. Can you please answer the following?

      1. Are you in the U.S and doing a change of status or will you be going to the Consulate?
      2. What country are you from?
      3. What country is your partner from?
      4. Will you be purchasing an existing business or starting one?
      5. How much money will you have in savings apart from the $50,000 investment?
      6. What type of entity will you establish? LLC or Corporation?
      7. Do you have a Business Plan?
      8. Have you ever applied for a U.S. visa of any type?

      Thank you.

  3. mostafa 15 Jul 2013 | reply

    i have b1/b2 visa , and i am looking to invest 100k$ in a retail business . now i am inside usa , i want to make adjustment of status from b1/b2 to e2 . i am Egyptian and is there any risk to inter my children to local schools by b1/b2 while i make the adjustment of status .

    • KeamyTavares 16 Jul 2013 | reply

      Dear Mostafa,

      Before responding, I will need additional information.

      1. What date did you arrive in the U.S.?
      2. When does your I-94 Expire?
      3. Do you have a Business Plan, Lease, Website, Marketing, Etc. in place?
      4. Have you established a corporation?
      5. Where do you live?
      6. Are you considering Private or Public Schools?

      You are looking to change your status from B-1/B-2. If you make application for the E-2 using Premium Processing, you should be able to enroll your children in school. However, issuance of lawful E-2 status depends on many factors.

      You may e-mail me directly with your responses.


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