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E-2 Visas: Investing in American Businesses

An E-2 visa allows a foreign national (of certain countries) to enter and work in the United States after making a “substantial” investment in a business/company that will operate in the U.S. There is no minimum investment amount as the requirement is to show that the investor has made an investment that would be considered “substantial” enough to fund and operate the business. The allowable countries must have an investor treaty with the United States. Notably, neither China nor India currently has an investor treaty with the United States. Therefore, citizens of those countries, amongst others, are not eligible for this type of visa.

Common Questions And Answers About E-2 Visas

If I invest in a U.S.-based company, can I hire employees from my native country and will they be allowed to work in the U.S. for an indefinite period?

E-2 visas are also available to noninvestor employees of the business as long as the employees are from the same country as the investor and the business is at least 50 % owned by a citizen of the treaty country. Additionally, the employees must either have an executive/supervisory role or possess specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the business.

Can I obtain an E-2 visa in the United States to start a nonprofit company?

No, the company must be an active for-profit venture.

If I have a “startup” company, can I use an E-2 visa?

If the financial investment is sufficient to start and operate the business, the company may apply for an E-2 visa.

Is renewing an E-2 visa possible?

Yes, renewing the E-2 visa is possible every 2 years and there is no limit to how many times the visa can be renewed.

If I am a citizen of more than one country (dual citizenship). Must both countries have an investor treaty with the United States?

No, as long as one of the countries of which you are a citizen has an investor treaty, you are eligible to apply for this type of visa.

What happens if my business closes?

If your business is closed or terminated for any reason, this type of visa will not allow you to remain in the United States. Upon conclusion of the business, investors must return to their countries of origin, or change their status.

Can I apply for an E-2 visa if I am currently residing outside of the United States?

Yes, generally your application would be made at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your native country and/or your country of permanent residence.

Do I have to have an interview of any type for an E-2 visa?

If you are applying in the United States by filing your case with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), then an interview is not typically required. However, E-2 visa applicants applying at an embassy or consulate abroad are typically required to attend an interview.

Can my family members come with me to the United States if I receive an E-2 visa?

Only spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may receive derivative E-2 visas to accompany the investor and/or qualified employee of the business.

Since I must provide proof of funds, is it ok if the money was gifted and/or loaned to me?

Money that was gifted or loaned to you to start your U.S-based company is acceptable to use. Of course, you will have to provide proof of the legal source of these funds to the immigration authorities. For example, if the funds were derived from a gift, you may need to demonstrate how the giver of the gift received the funds. If the funds are loan based, you may need to demonstrate how you acquired the property that was used as collateral for the loan.

If my wife and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 accompany me to the United States, will they be allowed to legally work in the United States?

Only your spouse can apply for employment authorization in the United States if he/she accompanies you on an E-2 visa. Filing a I-765, Application for Employment Authorization by your spouse accomplishes this.

Contact Fok Immigration Law for the Immigration Help You Need

Securing the proper visa is not easy. If you are trying to secure a temporary work visa, call Fok Immigration Law at 408-606-8911. You can also contact us online to speak with an experienced attorney. With our main office in San Jose, we represent clients throughout California and the greater United States.