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 Investor Visa Key Topics

Who Can Apply for the E-2 Visa?

If you wish to work in the U.S. by starting or investing in a U.S. business, an E-2 Visa may be an option for you. E visas are U.S. work visas for people working in the U.S. in trade or in investment. E visas can only be issued to countries where there is a treaty between the foreign national’s country and the USA.

Two types of E visa applications:
  • E-1 (for traders)
  • E-2 (for investors)

How to Qualify for an E-2 Investor Visa

E-2 visas are for owners and investors in businesses in the United States. The E-2 is a temporary U.S. work visa that may be granted for “substantial” investments in the U.S. An investment must meet several criteria in order to qualify for an E-2 visa.

Employees of E-2 companies may be granted E-2 visas if they are or will be engaged in duties that are executive, managerial, or supervisory in nature. If employed in a minor capacity, the employee may be granted an E-2 visa if he or she has special qualifications that make the services to be rendered essential to the enterprise.

The spouse and children (unmarried and under 21) of E-1 or E-2 visa holders are entitled to the same E-1 or E-2 classification as the principal.

In order to qualify for the E-2 Visa as an investor, you have to:

  • Show that a “substantial” investment or funds is available and committed to the investment;
  • The investment must be for an active business as opposed to passive investment such as purchasing a home;
  • At least 50% of the business must be owned by the foreigner from a country which has a treaty with the United States;
  • The investment must create enough profit to provide a living for more than just the applicant and his/her family.

How Much Money Do I Need to Invest for an E-2 Visa?

There is no minimum amount of investment necessary to obtain an E-2 visa. The investment just has to be “substantial”. What is considered a substantial amount will depend on factors such as the type of business involved, the number of jobs created by the investor’s personal assets, etc. In most cases, the investment should be at least $100,000USD, but sometimes it may be less than this.

What if I am an employee? Can I qualify for an E-2 Visa?

To qualify for E-2 Employee classification, the employee or prospective employee of a treaty investor must:

  • Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
  • Meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law
  • Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

How to Qualify for an E-1 Trader Visa

E-1 visas are for individuals involved in the exchange, purchase or sale of goods/services or merchandise. Services include technology transfer, architecture and engineering services, management consulting or accounting. The trade in goods and services should be substantial in terms of value, volume or a large number of small transactions.

The trade must also meet the following criteria:

  • The trade must be principally with the treaty country.
  • More than 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • The amount of trade must be sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • Trade can be binding contracts that call for the future exchange of items.
  • Income derived from the value of numerous transactions that is sufficient to support the trades and his/her family is a favourable factor.
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