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E2 Visa Requirements - Overview

Foreign investors who invest a “substantial amount of capital” in a US business, and who will develop and direct the business may apply for the E2 investor visa, if their country of citizenship has the required treaty with the US. Foreign companies whose owners are nationals of a treaty country may potentially petition their employees for the E2 visa.

The investor must demonstrate that he or she has control of the enterprise by showing ownership of at least 50 percent of the business and possessing operational control through a managerial position or other means. The investor must have already invested in the US business or is actively in the process of investing in the business.

Treaty Nationality

The investor, whether an individual or business, must possess the nationality of the treaty country. The nationality of a business is determined by the nationality of the individual owners of that business. If the investor is a foreign corporation, at least 50 percent of the corporate owners must be nationals of the treaty country. If the corporation is owned by another business, then the ownership must be traced to the point of reaching the 50 percent rule with respect to the parent organization.

Investor's Control of the E2 Enterprise

The investor must have control of the US business by owning at least 50 percent of the enterprise. An equal share of the investment in a joint venture or an equal partnership of two parties, generally does give controlling interest, if the joint venture and partner each retain full management rights and responsibilities.

Investment Visa - Making a Substantial Investment

The applicant must make a substantial investment to qualify for the E2 investment visa. However, the law does not state a minimum dollar amount. Generally, the applicant should be prepared to invest at least $50,000 US dollars in the E2 enterprise. The actual amount required will depend on the type of business the investor chooses.

Source of E2 Investment Funds

The E2 investor must have possession and control of the capital and funds invested. Moreover, the investor must have acquired the funds from lawful sources such as personal savings, investment earnings, gifts, inheritance, etc. The source of funds does not have to come from outside the United States. Money obtained inside the US may be used for E2 investment. However, inheriting a business does not qualify for E2 visa.

Real and Active Commercial Enterprise

The E2 business must be a real and active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing some service or commodity. The business must have all the necessary licenses and permits as required by the government for the particular type of business. The enterprise cannot be a paper organization or an idle speculative investment held for potential appreciation in value, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor without the intent to direct the enterprise. The investment must be a commercial enterprise. Thus, it must be for profit, eliminating nonprofit organizations from consideration

Minimum Business Size: Enterprise must not be marginal

The law does not specify a minimum business size to qualify for the E2 investor visa. The law requires that the investor must not be investing in a marginal enterprise solely for the purpose of earning a living. An applicant is not entitled to E2 visa, if the investment, even if substantial, will return only enough income to provide a living for the applicant and family. There are various ways to help determine whether an investment is marginal, in the sense of only providing a livelihood for the investor.

Spouse and Children of the E2 Investor

The spouse and children of the E2 investor may obtain E2 visas for dependent family members to reside in the US. These family members may apply at the same time as the E2 investor or after the investor has been issued the E2 visa. Children must be under 21 years old to qualify for the dependent E2 visa. The spouse may apply for a work permit with the USCIS after arriving in the US. This work permit, called "Employment Authorization Card" is an open market work authorization and offers the spouse great employment flexibility and convenience. Generally speaking, the spouse may work for any employer and in any job in the US, except certain government related jobs that require US.