All About E-2 Visa for Indian Investors

WHAT IS AN E-2 VISA?

An E-2 business visa allows the visa holder to move to the United States for the purpose of owning and running a business. If you are a national of an E-2 Treaty Country, you can use the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa program to move to the U.S. with your spouse and dependent children to invest in and direct business operations. This may be a new business you start, but it could also be an established business that you acquire or decide to franchise. Before making any decisions or plans, however, it is critical to consult an experienced E-2 visa lawyer who can review your business plan, advise you on any potential issues, and help you make more informed decisions.

Some of the many advantages of the E-2 category visa include:

  • Relatively low investment expectations (usually > $100,000)
  • Ability to travel freely to and from the United States
  • Unlimited renewals, potentially for the rest of an applicant’s life
  • Ability for a spouse to work in the US
  • Option to purchase a businesses or business franchise
  • Quick processing times
  • Potential tax benefits over permanent residents
  • Ability to transition to a green card at a later stage
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E-2 TREATY COUNTRIES

To qualify for an E-2 category visa, you must be a citizen of an eligible E-2 Treaty Country, listed below.

Even if you are not a citizen of one of the countries on this list, please contact Davies & Associates. Our immigration attorneys have successfully helped people from countries other than those listed obtain their E-2 category visas through third-country citizenship. Find out more

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • . . .
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czechia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Grenada
  • Honduras
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liberia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Republic of Congo
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Senegal
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Read more
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ARE THERE OPTIONS IF MY COUNTRY IS NOT ON THE LIST?

It is still possible to obtain an E-2 Treaty Visa, even if your country is not on the list above. The process involves first becoming a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country before applying under the visa E-2 program.While this process involves an extra step, Davies & Associates has helped many clients obtain their E-2 category visas this way.

Some of the most popular options include:
Grenadian Citizenship by Investment
Turkish Citizenship by Investment
Italian Naturalization
Israeli Naturalization

OPTIONS IF MY COUNTRY IS NOT ON THE LIST?
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E-2 CATEGORY VISA CLIENT TESTIMONIALS

"I would definitely be a big advocate for the rest of my life for anyone wanting to explore the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme leading to the E2 Visa. The most important thing is a good team behind you. with Davies & Associates you’re in safe hands… you need someone who can give you all the support at the ground level and, again, you are well take care of by D&A” “The people are really warm, very helpful and quite open minded when it comes to business… Not to mention as a passport it’s great from a travel perspective…It’s just 4/5 hours from New York."

Click Here to Read E-2 Category Visa Case Studies
Read more client testimonials here.
E-2 CATEGORY VISA CLIENT TESTIMONIALS
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VISA BASICS FOR THE E-2 PROGRAM

For investors from qualifying treaty countries who are interested in and willing to own and run businesses, the E-2 category visa provides a way to reside in the U.S.

E-2 Category Visa Features

  • An E-2 visa can be obtained very quickly.
  • There is no annual quota limitation E-2 visas.
  • An E-2 is unique in that involves one-step processing in a consulate. USCIS is not involved in the process unless you apply to change status from within the USA.
  • The spouse of holder under the E-2 category can obtain status enabling them to work in the USA.
  • The minor children of an E-2 holder can obtain lawful status to reside and study in the United States.
  • Investors can qualify either by starting a new business or purchasing an existing business.

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IS CASH THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE AN E-2 INVESTMENT?

No. In fact, there are several ways you can meet the E-2 investment requirement. Davies & Associates clients frequently use various types of investments, including:

  • Stocks of Inventory
  • Patents and Trademarks
  • Licenses Granted by Foreign / other Businesses
  • Tangible assets relevant to the E-w company’s operations, such as equipment , machineriery and other tangible assets that are relevant to the operations of the E-2 company
  • Cash in an Escrow Account
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WHAT IS THE E-2 INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT?

The E-2 program does not specify a minimum required investment amount. Instead, the requirement is that it be “substantial” for the business, and that it be reasonable. Consulates often expect a minimum investment of at least $100,000. However, it is possible to obtain approval for E-2 visas with lower amounts invested.

For example, an investment of $80,000 for a small coffee shop may be considered substantial and reasonable, while a $250,000 investment for a manufacturing plant may be considered too small based on the type and nature of the business. Investments are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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HOW LONG ARE E2 CATEGORY VISAS VALID?

  • The initial period for E-2 visas can be up to five years, depending on reciprocity. While the E-2 category visa is valid, the visa holder is free to come and go within and outside the U.S.
  • E-2 visas may be renewed indefinitely, if the needs of the underlying business are such that there continues to be a need for the visa holder to manage and direct it.
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WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR E-2 BUSINESS PLANS?

Click here to visit our Business Plan Webpage

A critical element of successful E-2 category visa cases is having a well-drafted immigration business plan

It is important for your business plan to clearly and successfully demonstrate how your business meets the E-2 program requirements. That’s why Davies & Associates MBA attorneys partner with immigration business professionals in helping clients prepare business plans designed with immigration and consulate approval in mind.

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HOW TO CHOOSE AN E-2 IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY

The immigration lawyer you choose can make a difference in your E-2 application efforts. Best practices for selecting an immigration attorney are to choose a firm that:

  • Narrowly specializes in E-2 and visa applications.
  • Handles multiple new E2 matters each month.
  • Has no or a very limited denial history.
  • Has strong academic credentials and an excellent training history.
  • Has never been the subject of a formal client complaint or official reprimand.
  • Is a member of a TEAM of two or more lawyers who will work on your case. Avoid solo practitioners as your case will suffer if that lawyer becomes unwell or unable to work on your file."
  • Will be available for you AFTER he or she has been hired.
  • Will NOT turn your case over to a paralegal.
  • Has recent experience in assisting E-2 visa applicants from your country.
  • Is a member of key professional immigration law organizations.
  • Can provide you with relevant references.
  • Provides you with 24/7 access to your entire file.

Learn more about selecting an immigration lawyer can be found by clicking here.

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COMPARING E-1, E-2, L-1 AND EB-5 VISAS

L-1 Visas E-1 Visas E-2 Visas EB-5 Visas
Available to any country’s nationals? Nationals of treaty trader countries only Nationals of treaty trader countries only
Requires at least one year working for a related company abroad
May dependent spouse work in the U.S.?
Renewable in perpetuity (assuming continued qualification)
Business plan is a key element for a successful application
Is there a minimum investment requirement? Sufficient to operate valid foreign business and US office or business entity No theoretical minimum there must be enough investment to create a real, viable, business Sufficient to fund business enterprise, generally around USD 100,000.00 although less is possible Either USD 900,000.00 or USD 1,800,000.00
Leads to immigrant visa status?
Can lead to green card through the EB5, EB1C and other programs

Transition to green card status through EB5, EB1(c) or other immigrant visa programs possible

Transition to green card status through EB5, EB1(c) or other immigrant visa programs possible

visa initially issued for a conditional two year period.

Note: It is possible to move to a green card from an E-2 or E-1 visa to a green card IS possible through BOTH the EB1(c) and EB-5 programs.

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CAN MY FAMILY MOVE WITH ME ON AN E-2 VISA?

The spouse of the E-2 Visa holder can move to the United States with the primary applicant. The spouse can apply for work authorization to work for any US employer. This offers considerably more employment flexibility than the H-1B visa because it is not tied to any specific employer and can be renewed indefinitely (whereas H-1B is limited to a maximum of 6 years). Dependent children under the age of 21 can also accompany the parents to the United States.

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CAN I CONVERT MY E-2 VISA TO A GREEN CARD?

Yes. Our firm assists E-2 clients with adjusting from their E visa status to that of “Green Card” holder, or Permanent Resident in the United States. While no US non-immigrant visa automatically leads to a Green Card some of the common options include:

E2 and EB5 Investor Visa Program

The same investment used to secure and E2 visa can also be used for the EB5 investor visa program.

Many clients combine the E2 and EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. This strategy enables an E2 investor to move to the US immediately on their E2 visa but to have the option of leveraging their US business to obtain a “green card” over the longer-term.

Direct EB-5:

If your E-2 business becomes large enough and employs enough people, it may be eligible for a Direct EB-5 visa. The minimum investment amount is $900,000 and the required number of jobs is ten. You must carefully consider the location of your business because only investments in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) are eligible for the lower $900,000 investment amount. Outside of these areas, the requirement capital doubles to $1.8 million.

Regional Center EB-5:

Tying your E-2 business to the requirements of the EB-5 program can be commercially restrictive. For example, it can be a challenge to maintain headcount to meet the EB-5 rules. Failure to do so can put your Green Card at risk. As a result, many people who pursue a Green Card from E-2 through EB-5 prefer to invest with a Regional Center instead.

E2 and EB1(c) for the International Manager or Executive

A common misunderstanding is that the EB1(c) program for multinational managers and executives is only available to L-1 visa holders. This is false.

Transitioning from an E-2 visa to an EB-1c visa through a Green Card can be done. There must be a business in your home country with a qualifying relationship to your US E-2 Business. You must have worked at the overseas company for at least one of the three years immediately prior to moving to the United States on your E-2 Visa. You must also demonstrate an “intent to depart” when you apply for your E-2 Visa, which can conflict with plans to obtain a Green Card under EB-1c. It is vital you discuss your options with an immigration attorney at the beginning of the process.

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FINDING AN E-2 BUSINESS

The E-2 Visa can be used to start up your own business or acquire an existing business or franchise. It is vital to choose a business that is compliant with the E-2 Visa rules. Our team of corporate lawyers work closely with E-2 immigration team to advise clients on finding a business opportunity that meets the regulations. If you do not yet have a business in mind, contact our team who can explain the parameters and ensure your search is heading in the correct direction.

Watch our video on E-2 Visa franchises

FINDING AN E-2 BUSINESS
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WHERE TO APPLY FOR AN E-2 VISA

Applying for an E2 Visa from Outside the United States

The E2 and E1 visas are unique in that the entire application process is handled by a US consulate. With most other visa types USCIS approval has to be secured before making a visa application at a US consulate. You can apply to become an E-2 Treaty Trader at a U.S. Consulate abroad.

Applying for E2 Status from Inside the United States

It is only possible to obtain a “visa” from a US consulate outside the United States.

By filing a petition with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an applicant currently in legal non-immigrant status in the United States can change status to and E2 “status”.

Because a change of status from within the United States does not grant the applicant a new visa, during your next trip abroad you will need to apply for a visa from a U.S. Consulate in order to reenter the United States with E-2 status.

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HOW CAN WE HELP?

Davies & Associates is a specialized immigration law firm. A substantial part of our practice focuses on assisting business owners and investors with E-1, E-2, L-1 and EB-5 visas. Through our international presence we have specialist knowledge of the specific procedures in multiple embassies and consulates around-the-world. While there can never be any guarantees, in fifteen years we have yet to have any E-2 visa application we have prepared denied when our clients have followed our recommendations.

Please feel free to contact our E-visa team with any additional questions you may have.

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Client Reviews
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Mark is one of the best things happened to me in immigration. I was very skeptical as my last attempt to obtain an L1A was a negative one through another lawyer. Mark came in and… [made] sure that the case [was refiled] successfully. Rest assured, I can vouch for his services and will recommend him highly. Indian L1 Applicant previously denied using another law firm
★★★★★
I have been dealing with this firm for the last several years. They got my E2 visa approved followed by my E2 visa renewal as well. They are the best immigration lawyers I have ever met….. No one can give you better service than this firm. Australian E-2 visa applicant
★★★★★
Several lawyers told me I would not be able to get a TN visa. Two weeks after contacting Davies & Associates I was working in New York, visa in hand. I have recommended this firm to several friends and colleagues, they do an excellent job every time." Individual Seeking 'Impossible' TN Visa
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Davies & Associates provided me with truly outstanding customer service 7 days a week. Technically brilliant, Davies & Associates not only successfully obtained E-2 visa status for myself and my Indian wife but also seamlessly coordinated my entire legal team, ensuring the timely completion of my acquisition." E2 Visa Applicant and Business Owner
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I was qualified as a physician in a foreign country. Being on a J-1 visa I was facing having to leave the United States and return to my home country. Davies & Associates secured one of only 30 J-1 visa waivers available in my State, allowing me to work for a US hospital and remain in the United States." Doctor Seeking J-1 Visa Waiver
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My exisiting immigration lawyer, who has a global reputation in immigration law, told me that "it couldn't be done". Someone suggested I speak to Davies & Associates and they obtained the immigration benefits I wanted. I will always use this firm in the future, they are miracle workers." Small Professional Business With International Offices
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I am very satisfied with the services Mark Davies has provided me. He has a very extensive knowledge in immigration laws and has a thorough approach to any case." U Visa Applicant, A Victim of Crime
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There is no question that Davies & Associates is clearly the leading E-2 visa law firm in the United States." E2 Visa Applicant and Business Owner
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Extremely knowledgable, available, and reliable Mark was a god-send when dealing with USCIS. He is very experienced so he knows the ins and outs of the process, can predict response times and is very available to answer questions in a timely and friendly manner. Highly recommended to anyone trying to navigate a complicated immigration process at any stage." Syrian Marriage Based Immigrant Visa Applicant with Two Year J-1 Waiver
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I highly recommend Davies & Associates LLC Mark Davies is a joy to work with. His extensive knowledge, speedy response and attentive service took away all my fears of dealing with immigration and visa applications. He is very generous with his time in explaining every step along the way and I have already and will in the future recommend him to anybody who is looking for an immigration lawyer." Small Business Owner and E-2 Visa Applicant