For individuals seeking to invest in and actively manage their business in the United States, the E-2 visa is an excellent option. This nonimmigrant visa category offers numerous benefits for foreign investors, allowing them to live and work in the United States temporarily.
We know visa information can get confusing, so we based this blog on information provided by USCIS to help you understand the basics of the E-2 visa, including its purpose, eligibility requirements, and the duration of stay it grants.
Please note that the information provided in this blog is intended to serve as a general guide to the E-2 visa process. However, immigration laws and procedures can be complex and subject to interpretation. It is highly recommended that individuals considering applying for an E-2 visa consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide personalized advice based on their specific circumstances.
What is the E-2 Visa?
The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows foreign nationals from treaty countries to enter the United States for the purpose of investing in and managing a business. The visa is based on a bilateral treaty between the United States and the applicant's treaty country, promoting reciprocal trade and investment.
Who can apply for an E-2 Visa?
To be eligible for an E-2 visa, applicants must fulfill certain criteria, including:
Nationality: The applicant must be a citizen or national of a country that has a qualifying treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. A comprehensive list of treaty countries can be found on the official website of the U.S. Department of State.
Investment: The applicant must have made a substantial investment or be actively in the process of investing a significant amount of capital in a U.S. business. The investment should be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business. The investment can be the purchase of an existing business or franchise. Launching a business from scratch also work.
Ownership or Control: The applicant must have a controlling interest in the business. This means owning at least 50% of the enterprise or having operational control through a managerial position or others means. This requirement is SUPER important, so we suggest that you work with a qualified immigration attorney to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Business Purpose: The investment should be in a bona fide enterprise, aiming to generate a profit. Speculative or marginal investments that do not have the capacity to generate significant income or employment are not eligible for the E-2 visa. Again, we urge you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to understand the requirements.
What is the E-2 Visa Used For?
The E-2 visa is primarily used for investment and business purposes. It allows visa holders to establish, operate, and oversee the activities of their U.S.-based operation. As previously indicated, this can include a wide range of business types, such as some franchises, startups, and existing businesses. The visa holder can engage in activities related to the investment, including management, supervising employees, and conducting necessary business transactions.
The E-2 visa can also be used to bring essential employees and managers to the United States.
Duration of Stay on the E-2 Visa:
The initial period of stay granted on an E-2 visa is typically up to 2 years. However, the length of the visa depends upon the visa "reciprocity" agreement between the U.S. and the treaty country.
Visa holders can apply for extensions of stay, which can be granted in increments of up to 2 years each time, as long as the qualifying investment and business activities continue to meet the visa requirements.
The E-2 visa offers foreign investors an excellent opportunity to invest in and actively manage a business in the United States. Understanding the basics of the E-2 visa, including its purpose, eligibility requirements, and duration of stay, is crucial for individuals considering this visa category. By meeting the necessary criteria and complying with U.S. immigration laws, foreign investors can seize the benefits of the E-2 visa, contribute to the U.S. economy, and achieve their entrepreneurial goals in the land of opportunities.
If you are looking to apply for an E-2 visa, give us a call. We can help you in everything from identifying a qualified immigration attorney to creating a solid immigration business plan that raises your chances of an E-2 visa approval.
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Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.