E-2 Investor Visa
The E-2 Investor Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that enables foreign nationals of a treaty country to enter the United States if they are investing a sizable amount of money into a US business. The employees of investors may be eligible for an E-2 Visa, as well. A treaty country refers to a country that the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with.
E-2 Visa Requirements for Treaty Investors
In order for a treaty investor to obtain an E-2 Visa, the following qualifications must be met:
- The treaty investor must be a national of a country that the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with.
- The treaty investor must have invested, or be actively involved in the process of investing, a substantial sum of capital in a legitimate business in the United States. An investment refers to the capital that a treaty investor has placed in a business with the goal of building a profit. A substantial amount of capital refers to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new enterprise.
- The treaty investor must be entering the US for the sole purpose of directing an investment that will develop an enterprise. At least half (50 percent) of the organization must be owned by the investor or the investor must have at least half (50 percent) of control of the organization as a manager.
In order for employees of treaty investors to qualify for an E-2 Visa, they must meet the following qualifications:
- The employee must be of the same nationality of the principal alien employer, and the alien employer must also have the same nationality as the treaty country.
- The employee must meet the definition of the term employee, as defined by the law.
- The employee must be engaging in a role as an executive or a supervisory character, or must have special qualifications that the organization requires.
If the employee’s employer is an enterprise or an organization rather than an individual, at least half of the organization or enterprise must be owned by individuals who are in the United States or who possess the nationality of the treaty country. Additionally, the owners who are in the United States or who possess the nationality of the treaty country have to maintain a status as a nonimmigrant treaty investor. Should the owners not be in the United States, they must be able to be classified as nonimmigrant treaty investors if they were to attempt to seek entry into the country.
More detailed information about the requirements for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa can be found here.
Who can File for an E-2 Visa Classification Change of Status?
Treaty investors who are lawful nonimmigrants in the United States can file a request for a change of status to an E-2 classification. They may do so by filing Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers, and request that their status be changed to an E-2 classification. If the employee of the investor is in the United States as a lawful nonimmigrant, a qualifying employer can file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers, on behalf of the employee.
Obtaining an E-2 visa Outside of the US
If the individual that is being filed for is not in the United States, a request for an E-2 Visa cannot be made using Form I-120. Information pertaining to how to apply for an E-2 Visa for those who are not in the country can be found at the US Department of State. Upon the approval and issue of the visa, the individual can apply for admission to the US as an E-2 nonimmigrant with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officer at a proper US port of entry.
E-2 Visa Processing Times
The processing time for an E-2 Visa will vary and depends on how the application for an E-2 Visa is being filed. Applicants that are located in the US can file with the USCIS, and typically, the process takes about five months to complete; however, the processing time could be shorter or longer.
Terms and Conditions Related to E-2 Visa Holders
Qualified E-2 Visa investors and employees may only perform the duties they have been approved for when their classification was granted. With that said, however, an employee with an E-2 classification can work for the treaty organization’s parent company or for one of the subsidiaries of the organization’s parent company, as long as the following applies:
- A clear relationship between the two organizations has been established.
- The parent company or subsidiary has a need for an executive or supervisory employee, or an employee who possesses vital skills.
- The terms and conditions of employment with the parent company or subsidiary are the same as the terms and conditions of employment with the treaty investor organization.
E-2 Visa Period of Stay
The initial period of stay for treaty investors and their employees is a maximum of two years. E-2 Visa holders may request extensions, and those extensions can be granted for periods of two years. Unlimited requests for E-2 Visa extensions can be made; however, holders of this visa must depart the United States when their E-2 Visa status expires or is terminated. Usually, E-2 Visa holders who travel outside of the country will receive an automatic readmission for a period of two years when they return to the United States; a new Form I-129 does not need to be filed with the USCIS.
Family of E-2 Visa Holders
Family members of treaty investors and treaty investor employees may also apply for an E-2 Visa. These family members include spouses and children who are under the age of 21 and unmarried. These family members do not need to have the same nationality as the employer or the employee. If the E-2 Visa is granted to family members, typically, the same terms and conditions that apply to treaty traders and treaty trader employees will also apply to family members, including the period of stay.