In this article, we’re going to explain the top E2 Visa Requirements for Investors and the qualifications.
There are two types of investor visas so before looking into E2 visa requirements for investors you want to make sure the E2 visa is the right fit for you as a foreign investor. If the E2 visa isn’t the correct fit for you, there is also the option of an EB-5 investor green card.
On an E-2 visa, you may:
- Work legally in the company that is the investment vehicle in the U.S.
- Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
- Stay on a prolonged basis with unlimited two-year extensions as long as you maintain E-2 qualifications
- Be accompanied by your dependents under 21, relatives, and spouse. Your spouse may also work while in the U.S. while your dependents may attend U.S. schools, colleges, and universities, and do not have to apply for a separate student visa.
However, the disadvantages are as follows:
- E2 visas are available only to nationals of countries (listed below) having investment treaties with the U.S.
- You are restricted to work only for the specific employer or self-owned business that acted as your E2 visa sponsor
- E2 visas are approved for two years at a time which makes the application/extension process slow.
Key E2 Visa Requirements for Investors to Qualify
The E2 visa minimum investment requirement is that you invest in a bona fide enterprise. By failing to do this, your petition will not qualify. A bona fide enterprise is defined by the immigration authorities as “a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit”.
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that your business is bona fide includes:
- Notice of assignment of an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Tax returns
- Financial statements
- Quarterly wage reports or payroll summaries (i.e., W-2s and W-3)
- Business organizational chart
- Business licenses
- Bank statements, utility bills, and advertisements/telephone directory listings
- Contracts or customer/vendor agreements
- Escrow documents
- Lease agreement
There are a few key E2 visa requirements for investors that will help you prepare your petition and ensure that you are a qualifying applicant.
The investor must be a national of a treaty country.
Treaty countries currently include:
Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Congo, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslav.
The investment must be substantial.
It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
Some evidence you can use to prove that the investment is substantial is corresponding personal and/or business bank statements, itemized list of goods and materials purchased for the start-up, and corresponding financial accounting documentation. It’s also wise to put together a business plan that illustrates your projected success.
The investor must have control of the funds.
If you are purchasing an existing business, you should know all there is to know about the business and its counterparts. Learn all the components of the business and come to an educated conclusion of how well they are doing presently and how successful the business is projected to be.
The investment must be a real operating enterprise.
A "real operating enterprise" means that it must offer a tangible good or service.
The investment may not be marginal.
The enterprise must generate more income than only enough to provide living wages to the investor and their family or it must significantly impact the U.S. economy in a positive way.
The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise.
You must show that you will develop and direct the investment enterprise by demonstrating ownership of at least 50 percent of the enterprise, or by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.