E-2: Treaty Investor
The E-2 treaty investor nonimmigrant classification allows a person to enter the U.S. for the purpose of furthering a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise made by individuals or businesses that are citizens of a treaty country.
E-2 treaty investor countries include: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbajian, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic of), Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France (includes Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion), Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan (includes Bonin and Ryukyu Islands), Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands (includes Aruba and Netherlands Antilles), Norway (does not include Svalbard), Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain (applies to all territories), Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (applies only to British territories in Europe), and Yugoslavia (valid for new Republics that arose out of former Yugoslavia).
To qualify and become eligible for E-2 visa use, an employer must show that a substantial investment in the U.S. business has been made by individuals or companies that are citizens of the treaty country. To be considered a substantial investment, the funds must be “at risk.” Whether or not the actual amount invested is substantial depends on the type of business and is weighed based upon a variety of factors. In addition, the investment cannot be “marginal,” in other words, it cannot be made solely for the purpose of earning a living.
Similar to the E-1, at least 50% of the U.S. entity must be owned by nationals of the treaty country in order to qualify for the use of E-2 visas.
Applying for an E-1 or E-2
Some U.S. Consulates require the U.S. company, where the individual will work, to become E-1 or E-2 qualified before an individual can apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa. In this situation, an initial request to qualify the U.S. company for E-1 or E-2 status must be filed together with at least one individual’s E-1 or E-2 visa application at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over the treaty country. Once the company is E-1 or E-2 qualified, any nationals of the treaty country who will work for the qualified U.S. entity may apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Other Consulates simply allow all of the corporate and investment information to be presented at the time of each visa application and do not maintain formal “registrations” of E-1/E-2 qualified companies.
Any individual who is a national of the treaty country can apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa if he or she is entering the U.S. to work as an executive, supervisor, or an essential employee. The individual does not have to be employed by the company abroad in order to qualify for E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant status. Furthermore, the individual applying for the visa does not need to be the investor to qualify for an E-2 visa.
E-1 and E-2 visas can be issued for up to five years and are renewable indefinitely as long as the company and the individual continue to qualify for E-1 or E-2 status. Upon each entry to the United States, E-1 and E-2 visa holders are generally admitted to the U.S. in E status for a period of two years as long as the E-1 or E-2 visa is valid at the time of entry.
Spouses and dependent children under the age of 21 of E-1 or E-2 visa recipients are also eligible for E-1 or E-2 dependent visas. Moreover, E spouses are eligible to apply for employment authorization after they enter the U.S.