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Do You Qualify As A International Treaty Investor For An E-2 Visa?

The E-2 visa is specifically designed for international investors. They must inject funds or another form of investment into the United States to qualify for this type of visa.

The Purpose of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Foreign investment is important to the United States economy. This visa permits foreign investors to work and live in the United States while also infusing the country with money and jobs. It is a win-win for both countries involved.

Must-Know Definitions for the E-2 Investor Visa

Like the E-1 visa, the E-2 visa uses specific definitions to set out the qualifications for an E-2 visa. These include:

  • Investment: Capital, funds, or other assets are put into place and risked in the commercial sense in the hopes of generating a profit. The funds cannot be obtained from criminal activity, and they must be subject to the potential for all or total loss if the investment activity is not successful.
  • Substantial Amount of Capital: The total cost of the investment or financial commitment must be enough to support the enterprise. There is no set minimum level of trade/investment, and this definition is deliberately broad. The substantial amount of investment constitutes an amount that is substantial in a proportional sense, which is sufficient to ensure the E-2 investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation and development of the business, and
  • Bona Fide Enterprise: The investment involved must be a real commercial undertaking, whether it is an operating activity or a startup that will create goods or services for profit. It is required to meet the legal specifications for doing business wherever it is located.

The definitions listed above for “executive or supervisor character” as well as “special qualifications” also apply to the E-2 visa.

Criteria for Eligibility

Those who qualify for E-2 classification will meet the following requirements:

  1. They are a national of the country that has a treaty with the United States
  2. They have invested or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the U.S. that is real and operating business
  3. They are seeking to enter the U.S. to develop an investment enterprise by obtaining at least 50% ownership of the investment enterprise
  4. The investment enterprise is not marginal and has the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to cover a minimal living for the treaty investor and his/her family.

The employee investor must meet the same qualifications as the E-1 visa, listed above.

Application Process for E-1 and E-2

The application process for an E-visa will vary depending on where you are located—whether it is in the United States or in a treaty country.

If you are in the United States already…

As long as you are in the United States in a valid nonimmigrant status, you can change your status to an E-2 non-immigrant status using a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), which is filed with USCIS. If the I-129 petition is approved, USCIS will issue an I-797 Approval Notice.  However, if you change your status to an E-2 non-immigrant status while in the U.S., you can only stay and work in the U.S. and won’t be able to travel internationally. In order to travel abroad, you will need to apply for a new E-2 visa in your passport through consular processing before you can enter the U.S. to work in E-2 visa status.

If you are outside of the United States…

If you are outside the United States, you must go through the consulate application process by using Form DS-160 and Form DS-156E which are filed with the U.S. Department of State, and schedule the visa appointment with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. If the visa appointment is successful, the you will receive the E-2 visa in your passport and be able to enter the United States using the E-2 visa in your passport.

Validity Period for E-1 and E-2

 Initial: 2 years

Extension: Increments of up to 2 years each (can be extended indefinitely, so long as applicant continues to meet all the requirements).

Family of E-1 and E-2 Visa Holder

E-1 and E-2 visa holders may be accompanied or followed by their spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. E-1 and E-2 spouses may obtain work authorization in the United States. E-1 and E-2 unmarried minor children may live and attend schools in the United States, but cannot work.

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Call David Hirson & Partners, LLP, in Costa Mesa, California at 949-441-4003 or our Seattle, Washington, office at 206-926-3973 or contact us by email to arrange a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys today.

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