The E-2 treaty investor visa allows foreign nationals to make an investment in an existing or new business venture in the United States.
There are no numerical limitations on the number of E-2 visas that can be issued, and there is no set minimum level of investment required, however the level of investment that should be made in the business venture should be sufficient to justify the presence of the foreign national in the United States. Although the E-2 visa is granted for an initial two-year period, the investor may qualify to extend their stay in two-year increments, with no outer limit on the total period of the foreign national’s stay.
Not all foreign nationals are eligible to apply for the E-2 treaty investor visa. To qualify, you must be a foreign national from a treaty country that participates in a treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation or similar agreement with the United States. See below for qualifying countries:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Grenada||Montenegro||Switzerland|
|Canada||Ireland||Norway||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Congo (Brazzaville and Kinshasa)||Jordan||Paraguay||United Kingdom|
Another disadvantage is that the E-2 visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa type. This means that the E-2 visa does not create a pathway to permanent residency. In addition, making an investment in a small business venture is risky. Most small businesses fail. Investors seeking to establish a new business in the United States must be prepared to face challenges, obstacles, and potential losses. If the investment will be made by a company, at least 50% of owners in the qualifying country must maintain the nationality of a treaty trader country if they are not lawful permanent residents.
As you may already imagine, the process of setting up a new business in the United States is intensive. The investor will be required to lease a commercial space for the business, establish the new business by filing articles of incorporation, applying for the applicable business license, etc. In addition, the investor must provide some evidence that the funds he will be investing in the business are “at risk.” This will require the investor to irrevocably commit a portion of the investment funds to the business for example by paying rent on the commercial space, purchasing equipment, inventory, paying employees etc.
The investor must also provide evidence of the source of funds that he will use toward the investment. This process includes tracing the source of funds and providing documentation to prove that the funds are coming from that particular source. For example, if the investor obtained the money as a gift from a family member, and the funds were the proceeds of a sale of real estate, then the family member must provide a paper trail to trace the origin of those funds (such as the bill of sale, bank account statements etc).
The investor visa is a great option for foreign nationals who are not seeking to remain in the United States permanently.
For more information about the E-2 visa please click here.