Q: What is an E-2 Visa?
A: The E-2 (“Treaty Investors”) Visa is available to someone who is a citizen or national of a treaty country, and who wants to develop and direct a business in the United States in which he has invested a substantial amount of capital.
Q: What are the requirements for an E-2 visa?
A: Three major requirements need to be met:
- The applicant must be a national of a treaty country
- The applicant, or his employer, must have invested, or be investing, a substantial amount of capital in an enterprise in the U.S.
- The applicant must be seeking a U.S. visa solely to develop and direct this investment enterprise.
Q: Does an E-2 Visa Lead to a Green Card?
A: No. An E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant Visa and does not lead to a Green Card; however, it is often approved for a five-year period. In addition, as long as the business is in operation, you can renew the visa indefinitely.
Q. Do I have to hire U.S. employees in order to Get an E-2 Visa?
A: Not necessarily, but it is usually better if you do. While there is no required number of U.S. workers that must be hired, if no U.S. workers are hired the investment may be viewed as “marginal”—a business that is set up only to support the E-2 applicant and the applicant’s family. Marginal investments are not permitted. You do not have to hire the workers immediately, but your five-year business plan should detail when you plan to hire them.
Q: Do I have to make a business plan to get an E-2 Visa?
A: Yes. A five-year business plan is required. The business plan is a key element that immigration officials consider when they review your Visa petition.
Q: Do I have to invest one million dollars and hire 10 employees to get an E-2 Visa?
A: No. The E-2 Visa is often confused with an EB-5 Visa. In contrast to an EB-5 Visa, an E-2 Visa does not require a specific amount of investment and does not have a specific number of employees that you have to hire.
Q: Can I borrow money to start the business?
A: Yes. Unlike the EB-5 Visa, borrowing money is fine for the E-2 Visa as long as the business is not overly leveraged. You can also receive a gift.
Q: Is there a particular type of business that I have to start or buy?
A: No. Any type of for-profit, active business is fine. That said, the E-2 Visa can only be obtained by either purchasing an existing business or creating a new business in the U.S. and the business must be an active one. Passive investments such as real-estate or owning stock will not qualify. Also, your business must make money, so not-for-profit enterprises are also excluded.
Q: Can I bring my family with me and can my spouse work in the U.S.?
A: Yes. Your spouse will be eligible to get an E-2 Visa and can apply for an “Employment Authorization Document” to work in the United States after obtaining E-2 status. And your spouse can work in any field.
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
A: While not required, in practice, yes, you should have an attorney. The E-2 regulations are complicated and you must demonstrate to immigration officials that you have met all of the legal elements in order to receive a visa.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Zanes Law can help your team obtain what you need to make your U.S. venture a success. Please contact us or call us at 844-666-8181 for a private consultation today.