E2 Visa Requirements: What You Need To Qualify

The basic E2 visa requirements you must fulfill:

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    Must be a citizen of a treaty country

    You must be a citizen of a country that has a qualifying treaty with the US to get an E-2. The treaty countries include:

    Albania Armenia Austria Azerbaijan
    Belgium Bosnia/Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia
    Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland
    France Georgia Germany Grenada
    Ireland Italy Kosovo Luxembourg
    Macedonia Moldova Montenegro Netherlands
    Norway Poland Romania Serbia
    Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden
    Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom
    Bahrain Bangladesh Iran Jordan
    Kazakhstan South Korea Kyrgyzstan China (Taiwan only)
    Mongolia Oman Pakistan Philippines
    Singapore Sri Lanka Thailand Turkey
    North America
    Canada Grenada Jamaica Mexico
    South and Central America
    Argentina Bolivia Chile Colombia
    Costa Rica Ecuador Honduras Panama
    Paraguay Suriname Trinidad & Tobago  
    Cameroon Congo (Brazzaville) Congo (Kinshasa) Ethiopia
    Morocco Senegal Togo Tunisia

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    Must invest in a new or existing business

    E-2 investors can either launch or acquire a business. Full ownership is not always required. A 50% stake may be sufficient.

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    Your investment must be “substantial”

    The US Government does not strictly define “substantial.” Instead, they use an elaborate series of tests to check that the investment qualifies.

    One of these tests is the proportionality test. It compares the funds invested against the cost of establishing the business. In the case of an acquisition, it compares the funds against the business’s value.

    For a new business: If your investment is enough to get the business up and running, it is “substantial.” An E-2 investment needs to cover the costs of establishing an operational business.

    For an acquisition: The purchase price of the business, if offered at fair market value, is “substantial.”

    Substantiality varies and depends on the nature of your business. For instance, in the product industry, you must invest in costly inventory and equipment. In most cases, a service business needs less investment.

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    Your investment must be in a “bona fide enterprise”

    The business must be “bona fide,” and the investment “active.” Your business must be active and sell goods or services. It must operate to earn a profit.

    Passive or speculative investments are not “bona fide” for E2 visa purposes. Buying undeveloped land or stock will not qualify somebody for an E-2. Neither will uncommitted funds sitting in a business bank account.

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    Your investment must be “at risk”

    “At risk,” in a commercial sense, means your funds are subject to partial or total loss.

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    Your investment must not be “marginal”

    To qualify for an E2 visa, your investment must be capable of significantly more than providing for your family. A relevant factor to the marginality inquiry is the business capacity to make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy. That economic contribution is measured by the projected return on the investment and the capacity to hire U.S. workers. Indeed, the creation of jobs for U.S. workers is crucial to demonstrate the E2 investment is not marginal.

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    You must “develop and direct” the E-2 business

    The E2 investor must come to the US to develop and direct the business. The E2 investor must be responsible for the development and direction of the investment. When the E2 investor owns a majority interest in the E2 business and has managerial control, he or she is likely in a position to “develop and direct” the E2 investment. The U.S. Government needs to ascertain that the E2 investor has ultimate control and responsibility for the business’ overall operation.

The E2 visa is Great For Foreign Entrepreneurs

  • Turn your investment in your US business into a long-term visa
  • Great for creating your own business in the USA
  • Unlimited renewals, as long as the business is operating properly
  • No requirement to start a related business in your home country
  • Modest investment may pave the way to unlimited stay in the USA
  • Spouses of E2 visa holders get an authorization to work in the USA