The U.S. consulate in London has posted a new comprehensive set of procedures for applying for E-1 and E-2 visas on its web site.
The UK produced the largest number of E2 investors in the past several years and we can see the results with huge backlog at the Embassy in London. The US Embassy in London has seen a dramatic increase in the number of applications for E-2 visas in the last decade. One cause of this increase has been the strength of the pound against the dollar; another has been the growth in value of UK real estate. Combined, these factors have resulted in large number of British investors with substantial capital who seek to invest in the United States. The US government welcomes such investment. However, it is important for investors to understand the purpose of the E-1 and E-2 visas so that they do not risk losing time and money in a lengthy visa process which may not result in an approval.
The Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas were established to facilitate and enhance economic interaction between the United States and other countries. They were not intended to serve as a means for foreigners to retire or merely reside in the United States. U.S. law (see paragraph 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) explicitly states that E-1 visa holders must enter “solely to carry on substantial trade” and E-2 holders “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise” in which he or she has invested. Moreover, these visas are non-immigrant visas and thus temporary. Treaty trader/investor visas can be renewed or extended only if the investment or trade continues to meet all applicable requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations.
Read more about the new rules here