FAQs

E2 Visa: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Making a substantial investment in an active business in the United States.

What are the requirements to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

The main requirements for obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor visa can be divided into three categories – (1) investment; (2) business; and (3) nationality.

  1. Investment – The main requirement is to make a substantial investment in an active business in the United States. It is important to be able to demonstrate the origin of invested capital, the movement of capital from the source to the American company in which it was invested, and the use of capital. It is not enough to show that a transfer was made to a company’s bank account in the United States, it must be shown that the money has already been put at risk – that is, that a significant percentage of the money that was invested was already used to cover expenses related to the operation or start-up of the business.
  2. Business – The business in which it was invested must be an active business that sells a product or service. The business can be a brand new one or an existing one. It is also necessary to demonstrate that the business will generate greater profits than is necessary to cover the living expenses of the investor and his family. Finally, the business must also generate jobs.
  3. Nationality – The investor must be a citizen of a country that has a trade treaty with the United States. In addition, at least 50% of the partners of the company in which it was invested must have the same nationality as the investor.

What benefits does the E-2 Treaty Investor visa offer?

The main benefit of the E-2 Treaty Investor visa is that it gives the investor the privilege of living in the United States and work in the company in which he invested. Immediate relatives of the investor, i.e. the spouse and children under the age of 21, also qualify for E-2 visas. Other benefits offered by the E-2 Treaty Investor visa are:

  • The privilege but not the obligation to live in the United States;
  • Work in the business you invested in;
  • Travel freely in and out of the United States with your E-2 Treaty Investor visa;
  • Obtain E-2 visas for the investor’s immediate relatives (wife or husband and children under the age of 21)
  • Investor’s children under 21 can enter free public schools as well as private schools;
  • Investor’s wife or husband can apply for and obtain a work permit;
  • The investor can obtain a Social Security Number with which he can establish a credit history and have access to loans (e.g. personal, mortgage, business, auto);
  • Unlimited renewals if the requirements of the E-2 Treaty Investor visa continue to be met and the business in which it was invested continues to operate and generate profits and jobs.

How much money do I have to invest for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

The requirement regarding the amount of investment to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor visa is that the investment be substantial. Regulations define “substantial” as an investment that is enough to ensure the success of the business in which it was invested. However, in practice, investments of $100,000 or more present a good case for obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

What types of businesses qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

To qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa, the investment must be made in an active business, it cannot be in a passive business. An active business is a business that is dedicated to the sale of some product or service.

Does the purchase of a real estate qualify as an investment to obtain the E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

No, it would be considered a passive business. Buying a home, apartment, land, or other property, even when renting or posting it on Airbnb, is not enough to qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa. To qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa, the business in which it was invested must be a business that is actively selling a product or providing a service.

For how long is an E-2 Treaty Investor visa granted?

The term granted for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa depends on the nationality of the investor. For Mexican citizens, the E-2 Treaty Investor visa is granted for a period of one year with the option to renewing it unlimited times. For European citizens, E-2 Treaty Investor visas are granted for five years.

Can relatives of an investor with an E-2 Treaty Investor visa also obtain visas?

Yes, the investor’s wife or husband and their children under the age of 21 qualify for E-2 Treaty Investor visas as immediate relatives of the principal investor.

Does the investor's spouse qualify for a work permit?

Yes, the principal investor’s spouse may apply for a work permit once they have obtained an E-2 dependent visa. The work permit application process is separate and independent of the E-2 visa application process.

Is it sufficient to show that a capital transfer was made to the company's U.S. bank account to qualify for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

No, showing that a transfer of capital was made to the bank account of an American company is not enough to satisfy the investment requirement for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa. It is necessary to show that the money has already been put at risk – that is, that a significant percentage of the money that was invested has already been used to cover expenses related to the operation or start-up of the business.

Can the investment for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa come from a company or does it have to be from the investor himself?

The invested capital may come from an investor’s bank account or from the bank account of a company owned by the investor.

Can the investment for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa come from a loan?

Yes, the investment for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa may come from a loan. It is necessary to present a signed loan agreement and bank statements reflecting the deposit of the loan amount into the investor’s account.

Can the investment for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa come from a gift or inheritance?

Yes, the investment for an investor E-2 visa may come from a gift or inheritance. For it to work, it is necessary to have official documentation showing that the capital was gifted or obtained by receipt of an inheritance.

Can the investment for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa come from the sale of a property or property?

Yes, the investment for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa may come from the sale of a real estate. In this case, it is necessary to present the deeds, contract of sale and bank statements of the investor reflecting the deposit of the sale of the real estate.

What documentation needs to be submitted in order to show a substantial investment was made in order to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

The type of documentation that needs to be submitted to verify that an investment was made for purposes of obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor visa is as follows:

Origin – It is necessary to demonstrate the origin of the invested capital. The type of documentation that needs to be submitted to prove the origin of the money invested depends on the original source of the money. For example:

Investor´s Business Earnings in his Home Country

  • Articles of Incorporation of the company showing that the investor is the owner of the company;
  • The company’s most recent tax returns;
  • The company’s most recent financial statements;
  • The company’s most recent bank statements.

Investor´s Salary or Savings

  • Latest payroll receipts;
  • Employer’s letter confirming investor´s employment and salary;
  • Latest personal tax returns;
  • Latest personal bank statements.

Sale of Property

  • Contract of sale of the real estate;
  • Bank statement of the investor reflecting the deposit of the sale of the real estate.

Gift or Donation

  • Letter signed by the person who gave the gift declaring the nature of his relationship with the investor, the amount of the capital given, the reason for the gift, and the date of the gift;
  • Official document or public record signed before a notary public documenting the donation or gift;
  • Bank statement of the investor reflecting the deposit of the gifted capital.

Inheritance

  • Official documentation proving that the investor received an inheritance;
  • Writing or public record signed before a notary public documenting the inheritance;
  • Bank statement of the investor reflecting the deposit of the inheritance.

When I get an E-2 Treaty Investor visa from the investor, am I required to live in the United States?

No, the E-2 Treaty Investor visa gives the investor the privilege but the obligation to live in the United States. The investor can live in his home country and travel freely to the United States with his E-2 visa to attend to the business in which he invested.

Does an investment in an already existing business in the United States qualifies for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Yes, investing in an existing business qualifies for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa. However, it is important that as a result of such an investment the investor obtains a management position in the company and that at least 50% of the stake in the company in which it was invested is in the hands of persons who have the same nationality as the investor.

Is it possible to have partners in the business in which you invested to obtain the E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Yes, it is possible to have partners in the business in which it was invested to obtain the Investor E-2 Visa. To qualify for the E-2 visa, at least 50% of the stake in the business in which it was invested must be in the hands of persons who have the same nationality as the investor. In addition, it is necessary to demonstrate that the investor has control of the money he invested, this is achieved by granting the investor a position of director in the company in which he invested.

Is it possible to have U.S. citizen partners in the business in which you invested to obtain the E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Yes, but at least 50% of the stake in the business in which it was invested must be in the hands of people who have the same nationality as the investor.

Is it possible to obtain E-2 Treaty Investor visas for people I would like to hire to work in the business I invested in to obtain my E-2 visa?

Once you have obtained the E-2 Treaty Investor visa, it is possible to hire and obtain E-2 Treaty Employee visas for persons who have the same nationality as the investor and who have an adequate professional profile for the type of business of the company in which it was invested.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor visa application process?

The process for applying for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa is:

  • Decide which business to invest in;
  • Hire the legal services of an immigration law firm with experience in preparing E-2 Treaty Investor visa applications;
  • Set up a company in the United States if the investment is to be made in a new business. In cases where the investment is to be made in an existing business, the next step is to sign a stock purchase agreement, make the investment/purchase of shares;
  • Invest the capital via wire transfer from the investor’s personal account (or your company’s account) to the bank account of the American company;
  • Start using the invested capital to make the necessary expenses for the execution of the company´s business plan;
  • Collect the documentation and information requested by the immigration lawyer and send it to him to start preparing the E-2 visa application;
  • The immigration lawyer manages the visa application process with the applicable U.S. consulate, which includes scheduling appointments in the Applicant Support Center (ASC) for fingerprinting and pictures and the scheduling of visa interviews;
  • Attend the visa interview at the appropriate American consulate;
  • Wait to receive the E-2 visa stamped on the applicant’s passport.

How long does the E-2 Treaty Investor visa application process take?

Each case is different, but on average the E-2 visa application process takes between two to three months. Sometimes it is faster, but much depends on how advanced the investor is in terms of deciding where to invest and in the process of making the investment. The availability of appointments at the American consulate also affects the processing time for obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

Do I have to create jobs to renew my E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Yes, although it is not explicitly mentioned in the immigration regulations. To renew an E-2 Treaty Investor visa it is important to show that the business in which it was invested has created jobs for American citizens or permanent residents.

What are the requirements to renew an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

To renew an E-2 Treaty Investor visa it is necessary to show that the business in which it was invested continues to operate and that it is generating sales, profits and jobs.

How many times can an E-2 Treaty Investor visa be renewed?

If the requirements continue to be met, there is no limit to the number of times an E-2 Treaty Investor visa can be renewed.

Is it possible to obtain permanent residency after obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Yes, it is possible to obtain permanent residence while on an E-2 visa, however, the fact of having an E-2 visa, on its own, does not automatically lead to the obtaining of a permanent residence. For an investor with an E-2 visa to qualify for a permanent residence, it is necessary to meet the requirements of the immigration program through which permanent residence is being sought – for example, the EB-5 or EB-1 program.

I have a dual citizenship (e.g. Mexico and Spain) – can I choose which nationality to use to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa?

Yes, for people with dual nationality – for example, Mexico and Spain, it is possible to choose which nationality to use to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

If I have European citizenship, but live in a non-European country, can I apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa through the American consulate in the country in which I live?

Yes, it is possible to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa with your European nationality through the American consulate in the country in which you live. Most American consulates accept E-2 visa applications from persons of nationality other than the country in which they live.

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