An E-2 Visa allows citizens of certain countries to work for a U.S. company where they or others from the same country have made a significant economic impact.
If you have money to invest in a U.S. business, you may be eligible to receive an E-2 Visa. In this situation, the E2 Visa is an ideal and quick solution for you and your family members to legally move to and work in the United States.
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Key Features of E2 Visas
E2 Visa key features include the following:
- Move to the U.S. with your family
- No minimum investment is required (at least $80,000 is recommended)
- Processing time takes less than three months
- Renewable unlimited times
- You can bring your key employees
Eligibility for an E2 Investment Visa
An E2 Treaty Investor Visa is a work visa only provided to entrepreneurs of certain nations. This visa permits foreign investors, their immediate family members, and employees to travel and work within the U.S.
If you decide to file a petition for an E-2 Investor Visa, you should know the requirements for obtaining it.
To be eligible for an E2 Visa, you must:
- Be you a citizen of a Treaty Country
- Be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity in the U.S. enterprise, whether you are an investor or an employee.
It’s also essential to note that you may automatically qualify for an E-2 visa if you are the spouse or an underage child of an E-2 visa investor or employee.
E2 Visa Treaty Country Nationality Requirement
To qualify to apply for an E2 visa, the applicant’s country of citizenship must be included on the U.S. Department of State’s E-2 Visa Country list. Over 60 countries worldwide have E-1 and E-2 Visa treaties in place with the U.S.
Visa applicants may qualify for E-2 Visa only if they are nationals of a country with specific commerce or friendship treaties with the United States.
China and Russia are excluded, so their citizens may not qualify for E-2 visas. However, Russian and Chinese citizens may have some alternatives, including the following:
- Obtain E2 Visa by acquiring second citizenship from a country such as Grenada
- Apply for EB-5 Visa, a special green card for investors
However, an EB-5 Visa has more stringent requirements than an E-2 Visa, especially a much more substantial investment requirement. Because of this, the most viable option for Chinese and Russian citizens is typically to apply for an E-2 Visa via second citizenship.
Second Citizenship E-2 Investor Visas
With the financial hurdles associated with the EB-5 Visa requirements, the best option for nationals of countries such as India, China, Russia, and Brazil is to join the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program.
Such a program allows them to obtain second citizenship of a listed country in the Treaty Countries. Certain countries created these programs to attract foreign direct investment in return for citizenship.
Currently, only a few countries have CBI programs. However, Turkey and Grenada, which are part of the Treaty Countries, are among the most popular. Brazilian nationals may also be able to apply for an E-2 Visa through citizenship by descent from a European Union state, typically Italy or Spain.
Once an individual obtains second citizenship from a Treaty Country, they can apply for the E-1 or E-2 Visas based on that citizenship.
E2 Treaty Investor Visa Investment
There is no minimum qualifying investment for an E2 Visa; however, visa applicants should expect to invest at least $80,000. In addition, the monies should be irrevocably put at risk and wholly committed to the bona fide enterprise. This means that if your venture fails, your investment won’t be recovered.
Investment Money Requirements
Other investment requirements include:
- The U.S. investment enterprise must be a successful operation actively trading of goods or services to generate profits. Passive investments, including purchasing stocks or real estate properties, don’t qualify for the E2 Visa under U.S. immigration laws.
- Investing in a U.S. enterprise also means you are starting your own business from scratch or acquiring at least half of an already existing business. Another allowable investment type is purchasing a franchise activity.
- The money you invest must originate from a legitimate source, usually from other activities of the beneficiary. However, your investment funds may also come as a loan or a gift.
- The business you invest in must secure a living for more than just the beneficiary of the visa and his family. In other words, it has to be substantial; it can’t be a marginal business.
Purchasing a Franchise: What You Need to Know
For some seeking an E2 visa, buying a franchise business is an excellent opportunity to start a business without much general knowledge and the initial capital required to create a new business.
In the U.S., there are numerous types of franchise activities. But, when it comes to a franchise business, the U.S. Consulate may have several objections that could render you ineligible for an E-2 visa. You can help prevent this from happening to you by consulting an experienced immigration attorney.
E-2 Visa Requirements for Employees
To qualify for E-2 Visa status as an employee, the employee of an E-2 treaty investor must:
- Be the same nationality as the investor (a national of a Treaty Country)
- Be employed by the U.S. entity in a managerial or executive capacity or a position requiring a highly specialized skill capacity and qualifications.
Additionally, to be eligible to legally employ citizens from their own country of citizenship, the E-2 Visa investor must own at least 50 percent of the U.S. company.
Suppose the investor doesn’t directly own the U.S. company but owns it through a foreign entity. In that case, the country where the foreign entity is located isn’t relevant; only the individual investor’s nationality is relevant.
For example, consider a U.S. enterprise owned by a Russian entity and a UK individual. For purposes of an E-2 Visa, Russia isn’t included in the E-2 Visa country list. So, the Russian entity is disregarded, and the nationality of the U.S. enterprise will be that of the individual ultimate shareholder— in this case, that is the UK, so the individual qualifies for an E-2 Visa.
If a U.S. business is 50/50 owned by partners from two different treaty countries, employees from either or both countries may be eligible for E-2 Visa status. However, they both must be from treaty countries.
Family Member E-2 Investor Visas
Some E-2 Visa investors and E-2 Visa employees’ immediate family members may qualify for E-2 Visa status too. For E-2 Visa purposes, immediate family members are limited to spouses and underage, unmarried children. Unfortunately, other family members aren’t eligible.
It’s crucial to understand that a family member’s E-2 Visa is strictly dependent upon the E-2 Visa of the original E2 applicant. When the original applicant’s E-2 Visa has expired, the dependents’ visa is also over.
Spouse Investor Visas
An E-2 Visa holder’s spouse is permitted to work for the E-2 Visa company or any other company in the U.S. or abroad, or they don’t have to be employed at all. However, if the spouse on an E2 visa intends to work in the U.S., they will be required to file an I-765 and obtain a work authorization (EAD).
Investor Visas for Children
On the other hand, underage, unmarried children of an E-2 Visa holder may not be employed; they may only be enrolled in school.
Need an E2 Visa? Connect with an Attorney Today
TZG Law is here to provide professional guidance and support in navigating the complexities of immigration law. With our team of experienced immigration attorneys, we specialize in various areas of immigration, including E2 employment visas, naturalization, deportation defense, and more. Whatever your immigration needs may be, we have the knowledge and skills to assist you.
Take action today! Contact TZG Law at 385-396-4599 or click here to schedule your initial consultation with Tina. Let us be your trusted partner on your immigration journey.