Frequently Asked Questions About the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

By The Law Office of Yifei He, PLLC

If you are interested in filing a petition for an E-2 treaty investor visa, you must understand all the guidelines and requirements to achieve the outcome you desire. The following blog post addresses the most frequently asked questions about the E-2 visa.

What is an E-2 visa?

An E-2 work visa is a non-immigrant visa for entrepreneurs of countries that maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States or has a qualifying international agreement with the U.S. government. The visa allows foreign investors to enter and work in the U.S., so long as they make a substantial investment – or are actively in the process of investing – in a bona fide enterprise, as well as develop and direct that enterprise – with at least 50 percent ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control by holding an executive or managerial position.

What are the treaty countries?

You can check out the list of the treat countries on the Department of State’s website. The few countries with no present E-2 treaties with the U.S. include China, India, Russia, and Brazil.

What are the benefits of an E-2 visa?

If you qualify for an E-2 visa, you can legally work in the U.S., travel freely in and out of the country, remain in the U.S. for a prolonged period with unlimited extensions each lasting up to two years (if you continue to qualify for the visa), and be accompanied by your spouse, dependents under 21 years of age, and relatives.

What is a bona fide enterprise?

A bona fide enterprise is an entity with active business operations already established or the ability to start operations immediately after the investor obtains the visa. Common types of documents evidencing the bona fides for businesses and startups include business licenses, contracts, lease agreement, letters of intent, certificates of incorporation, financial statements, tax returns, bank statements. etc.

What is considered a substantial investment?

A substantial amount of capital is significant in relation to the total cost of either buying an established business or starting a new enterprise, and sufficient enough to ensure a successful business operation. The amount of investment will vary depending on the type of business being established. Generally, the percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise needs to be greater than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.

Can an employee of a treaty investor qualify for an E-2 visa?

Yes, so long as the employee of an investor is a citizen of the same treaty country as the investor, qualifies as an “employee” under U.S. law, and shows that he/she is an important part of business operations (e.g., an executive or manager).

How do I file for an E-2 visa?

If you are currently in the U.S. in a lawful nonimmigrant status, you may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to be classified under E-2. You may also file the same application on behalf of a desired employee.

If you are trying to obtain an E-2 visa outside of the U.S., you must check out the Department of State’s website for more information on how to apply for an E-2 visa abroad. Once you obtain the visa, you may seek admission into the country at a lawful port of entry.

Petitioning for an E-2 visa is a complex and comprehensive legal process, which is why it is important to hire an experienced immigration attorney to handle all the paperwork, help you collect the necessary documents, and guide you through each step of the process. If you are interested in filing for an E-2 visa in New York City, contact The Law Office of Yifei He, PLLC today at 1 (917) 338-7678 to let us help you achieve the American dream.