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US E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Nationals of E2 Treaty Investor visa countries who have made a significant investment in the United States may qualify for E2 Treaty Investor Visa status. Employees that are also nationals of the same E2 Country may also qualify for E-2 visas.  There is no set minimum level of investment which may qualify for E-2 Treaty Investor status. 

Some businesses such as software businesses may qualify under E-2 visa status with a smaller investment.  Perhaps less than $10,000 in some cases. The business should create employment in the US for both the E-2 treaty visa national and US citizens and residents.  The investment must be in an active and operating business that requires people to work in the business. Therefore passive investments in say property or stocks and bonds do not qualify. Also, usually part of the investment should have been made before applying for E-2 Treaty Investor Registration and E=2 visa status.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Countries

E-2 visas may only be applied for by people or companies from the following countries:

E2 Treaty Visa Countries Table

Albania

Croatia

Korea (South)

Romania

Argentina

Czech Republic

Kosovo

Serbia

Armenia

Denmark

Kyrgyzstan

Senegal

Australia

Ecuador

Latvia

Singapore

Austria

Egypt

Liberia

Slovak Republic

Azerbaijan

Estonia

Lithuania

Slovenia

Bahrain

Ethiopia

Macedonia

Spain

Bangladesh

Finland

Mexico

Sri Lanka

Belgium

France

Moldova

Suriname

Bolivia

Georgia

Mongolia

Sweden

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Germany

Montenegro

Switzerland

Bulgaria

Grenada

Morocco

Thailand

Cameroon

Honduras

Netherlands

Togo

Canada

Iran

Norway

Trinidad and Tobago

Chile

Ireland

Oman

Tunisia

China (Taiwan)

Italy

Pakistan

Turkey

Columbia

Jamaica

Panama

Ukraine

Congo (Brazzaville)

Japan

Paraguay

United Kingdom

Congo (Kinshasa)

Jordan

Philippines

Yugoslavia

Costa Rica

Kazakhstan

Poland

 

 

E-2 Treaty Investor Requirements

Investors from qualifying countries may apply for an E-2 treary investor visa in order to 'Direct and Develop' their investment. They may also apply for E-2 visas for key managerial and specialist employees. In contrast to the L1 visa, there is no requirement that such employees have worked for the business outside the US for at least one year in the last three years, nor is it necessary for the Investor to continue operations outside the USA while the Investor or his/her employees are in the USA.

E-2 treaty Investor applicants should demonstrate that:

  • There has been and will be a substantial capital investment in the US. There is no specific cash threshold defined.  However some businesses for example in the IT sector may qualify with investments of less than $10,000.
     

  • Risk Capital has been Committed; the investment must entail some risk to the investor (it may not be all in the form of unguaranteed credit). You will probably need to have an office lease agreement in the US
     

  • The investor will control his/her investment. Treaty nationals will usually need to have at least a fifty percent ownership of the US business.
     

  • The cash invested is not marginal when compared to the total investment. In general, unless it is common to the industry to have higher amounts of 'leveraging' (such as in the property industry), 51% of the investment should be in the form of cash equity. Where debt is secured against other assets of the investor, it is considered to be 'at risk', and may be considered as part of the equity invested.
     

  • The enterprise is (or will be) active. In order to be 'Directing and Developing' their investment, the investor should be involved in managing the business.
     

  • US workers are (or will be) employed. The treaties envisage more than just creating a job for the principal investor, but there is no requirement to employ a particular number of US citizens. It should be possible to meet the requirements by employing only a small number of employees.  Perhaps showing that you will employ two or three employees in the next one or two yeas will be sufficient.

  • The enterprise, or its principal investor, has a past history of successful trading.

  • That the 'investor' has sufficient acumen to direct and develop the investment enterprise.

  • That the principal investor, and any other E-2 visa staff, are able and willing to leave the US upon termination of their E-2 status.  The interesting thing is that actually the E-2 Treaty investor visa can continue to be extended indefinitely.

E-2 Treaty visa application process

  • You contact us
     

  • workpermit.com considers the application. If your company, the position and the candidate are eligible for registration as an E-2 Treaty Investor, we e-mail to you:

    • A formal instruction form to return
       

    • Details of any additional data required, and confirmation of which documents we need

  • You post documents to workpermit.com at 1st Floor, Unit 56, Skyline Business Village, London, E14 9TS
     

  • Workpermit.com completes your E-2 Treaty registration application and submits it to the Treaty Visa section at the appropriate US consulate or Embassy – processing takes 4-6 weeks
     

  • After registration as an E-2 Treaty Investor business, visas can be obtained for principal applicants (if they are a person rather than a company), employees and dependants in 10 to 15 working days. You provide us with relevant information and we prepare and submit the application to the Treaty Visa section.

E-2 Visa Employees

Once the principal applicant has obtained registration as an E-2 Treaty Investor you can obtain E-2 visas for qualifying employees. Obtaining the E-2 registration usually takes 4 to 6 weeks, and obtaining E-2 employee visas usually takes 10 to 15 working days.

Two types of employee qualify for E visas:

E-2 Executives & Managers:

Executives and Managers should be going to develop and direct the trade or investment of the principal investor/trader in the USA. Such personnel should be able to demonstrate their executive or managerial pedigree, though there is no requirement that they have worked for the principal trader or investor for at least one year, as there is with the L1 visa. Generally a resume and supporting letter from the principal is all the evidence required.

E-2 Specialist or Essential Skilled Workers:

Visas for this type of employee are  more difficult to obtain. You must demonstrate that:

  • A US resident worker could not fill the position;
     

  • The employment of the treaty national is necessary for the running of the principal trader or investor's business in the USA;
     

  • US workers will be trained to replace the treaty national (details of the proposed training must be given).

If the above criteria are met then an E-2 visa can be obtained, but is more difficult to renew than an Executive/Managerial E-2 visa.

Note that, a 'visa issuance fee' is often required in addition to the usual visa application fee for E visas. This usually amounts to $160  Also E-2 visa employees must be of the same nationality as the principal investor.

Spouses and dependents of E-2 visa workers are can also apply for E-2 visas. Spouses are allowed to work.  However it may be advisable to apply for work authorisation. Children can study but unfortunately are not allowed to work under the E-2 Treaty Investor visa category.

Further information, help, and advice

Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US and other Countries. All applications for US visas are dealt with by an in-house US qualified lawyer who is also typically a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

For more information and advice on US immigration law and US visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com