There must be a qualifying treaty between the U.S. and the investor’s country
The availability of the E-2 Treaty Investor visa depends on the existence of a qualifying treaty between the United States and the prospective investor’s country of nationality.
There must be an active investment
The U.S. business must represent a real operating enterprise producing some service or commodity. An investment need not be fully operational in order for the investor or qualifying employees to receive an E-2 visa. You can be actively in the process of investing. However, strategically, it is best to show that you are either on the verge of opening for business or it is already operating.
There must be substantial investment
Your own resources must be at risk in the U.S. business. While there is no defined minimal dollar amount necessary in order for the investment to be considered “substantial” and there is a variance amongst industries an observed minimum for successful applications is approximately $50,000. Further the investment typically also has to be proportional to the total value of the particular enterprise in question, or it must be an amount normally considered necessary to establish a viable enterprise of the type contemplated.
Unofficial guide for personal investment share for partially financed projects
Value or start-up cost of business
Minimum percentage of
Less than $500,000.00
$500,000.00 to $3,000,000.00
More than $3,000,000.00
There must be a creation of jobs
Although there is no explicit requirement that the investment create employment of U.S. workers, it will go to prove that the business is not marginal. It is therefore important to demonstrate that the investment will create jobs for the U.S. workers. Although family members may be permitted to be employed at the E-2 business, the workers who will be counted in this element are non-family U.S. workers. We need to show that employees are needed and that sufficient funds will be generated to pay the employees and thus that the business provides more than a bare, living wage for the investor and the investor’s family.
The Treaty Investor additionally must be seeking entry solely to develop and direct the enterprise. Therefore, the scope of business should be initially defined to manage or provide services to other companies that the investor is or may become involved with. The investor must also intend to depart the U.S. upon the expiration or termination of treaty investor E-2 status.
Employees of Treaty Investor
A key employee must handle executive or supervisory duties, or the key employee must have special qualifications that make the alien’s services essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise. Furthermore, the employee must have the same nationality as the principal alien employer, and must depart the United States upon the expiration or termination of E-2 status.
Note that with the E-2 status, the initial period of admission granted is typically two years. After this, you can apply for unlimited extensions of up to two years at a time, so long as you maintain status and can show that you still meet the qualifications. Although, the period of admission may be two years, many of the consulates will issue visas that have different periods of validity depending on U.S. reciprocity with the specific country.
The B-1 status allows an alien enter the United States to evaluate opportunities for investments which could qualify the alien for status as an E-2 investor. Such an alien is precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business prior to being granted E-2 status. As examples, you may engage in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment in the U.S. (such as a merchant who takes orders for goods manufactured abroad), negotiate contracts, consult with business associates, and participate in scientific, educational, business conventions, conferences or seminars.