The E-2 Visa for Investors

What is an E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, available to countries from nations which have bilateral investment, commerce, and navigation treaties with the United States. Individuals who qualify will have made a substantial investment in a United States company, and wish to come to the U.S. to develop and direct the business operations of that enterprise. You may check the list of qualifying countries through the USCIS.

Although an E-2 visa is generally not considerd to be a path to permanent residency, in some circumstances, the holder of an E-2 visa may qualify to apply for permanent residency in the United States.1sup>

Eligibility for the E-2 Visa

Alien investors who meet the following requirements may qualify for an E-2 visa:

  • The investor's home country maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation or bilateral investment with the United States;

  • The investor has made a "substantial investment" (typically $100,000 - $150,000 or more) in a U.S. business;

  • The business in which the investment was made is not less than 50 percent owned by citizens of the treaty country;

  • The investor intends to come to the United States to direct the operations of the enterprise in a capacity that is either executive, supervisory, or involves specialized skills;

  • The investor possesses means of support independent of the enterprise.

It may benefit applicants for an E-2 visa to demonstrate that their investments will result in the creation of jobs within the United States.

Substantial Investment

There is no fixed amount of investment necessary to qualify for an E-2 visa, although typical investments will be in the amount of $100,000-$150,000 or more. The investment must amount to not less than fifty percent ownership in an enterprise that generates active income (as opposed to "passive income", such as that generated from rental property).

Ordinarily, the investment will be made by the E-2 applicant. There may, however, be circumstances in which an E-2 visa will be issued to an employee of a foreign company that qualifies as a treaty investor, provided the employee comes the United States in an executive or supervisory capacity to direct the enterprise or possess a specialized skill required by the enterprise.

Duration and Extension

An E-2 visa is issue for a two year period, and is renewable for an indefinite period as long as the visa holder continues in the same capacity with the business, and the business is actively engaged in trade or services.

Visa Eligibility for A Spouse and Minor Children

The spouse and unmarried minor children of an E-2 visa holder will also qualify for E-2 visas. These visas, however, will not automatically grant the spouse and children the right to work in the United States.

Notice: Immigration laws and regulations can change very quickly, and you should not rely upon this article to reflect the latest changes in the law. Obtaining a non-immigrant visa can be complicated, and visa applications may be denied. While many individuals successfully navigate the application process on their own, it is often beneficial to utilize a qualified immigration attorney.


[1] In order to seek status as an immigrant investor, an applicant must file CIS Form I-526 with the USCIS. Once the Form I-526 is approved, an immigrant investors may obtain status as a conditional resident either by filing CIS Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) if residing within the United States, or by applying for an immigrant visa if residing abroad. In order to become a lawful permanent resident, eligible investors must file a CIS Form I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) within 90 days before the second anniversary of an Alien Investor's admission to the United States as a conditional resident.

Copyright © 2002 Aaron Larson, All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.

This article was last reviewed or amended on Nov 7, 2014.