US immigration was under siege during the Trump Administration. It seemed to be harder than nearly ever before to legally migrate to the United States. However, this little known visa option was a great route for some in those times to achieve the dream of living in the United States, and it is called the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.
Could an E-2 Visa Work for You?
Ask yourself the following questions to see if you might qualify:
1. Are you a citizen of any of the following treaty countries?
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Rep, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
2. Are you interested in starting your own business in the United States, or purchasing all or part of a preexisting business in the United States?
3. Will you or other citizens of your treaty country own at least 50% of the U.S. enterprise?
If you answered yes to all three questions, then you may qualify for the E-2 Visa.
Main Street of local businesses in Alexandria, VA
Streamlined Application Procedure
- Unlike other US work visas, no petition is required to be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- The entire process is completed at the applicant’s local U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
- This cuts down on processing time by at least half and usually takes only about 4 – 8 weeks (although this varies depending on the Consulate).
Other Benefits of the E-2 Visa
- As opposed to most U.S. visas, the spouse of the principal E-2 applicant is eligible for blanket work authorization.
- The visa is usually granted for an initial validity period of 5 years, although this varies depending on the treaty country. However, the visa can be renewed an indefinite number of times, providing excellent flexibility.
- There is no “cap” or annual limit on the number of E-2 visas that can be issued.
- There is no set minimum amount for the investment, so long as you can show that the investment is “substantial” and the business will not be “marginal” (see below).
- You do not have to go on a U.S. payroll with the E-2 visa.
- You do not have to spend a minimum amount of time in the U.S. as you would with a green card. You can spend as much or as little time in the U.S. as you please.
- The investor (either a real or corporate person) must be a citizen of a treaty country.
- 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 enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise. There is no set minimum amount for the investment.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify.
- The investment must not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than needed solely to provide a living to the investor and family.
- The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. For the purpose of measuring the investment, loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not counted.
- The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he/she must be employed as a supervisor, executive, or as the possessor of highly specialized skills.
Examples of Past E-2 Successes
Hair salon, gas station, restaurant, consulting firm, pet product company, electric scooter rideshare, property management, backpack designer, fitness club, software development firm – the list goes on and on . . .
Any type of business can potentially qualify so long as it meets the above requirements.
Learn More About U.S. Immigration Pathways
Klug law firm is a New York City based business immigration firm. Specialized in helping small and medium sized businesses with immigration matters, Klug is unique in its client-relations approach. A three pillar approach is their formula for success: Highest Quality Legal Work + Exceptional Client Service + Caring Approach.
Connect with Noah to inquire more about E-2 visas and investing in the U.S.