E-2 TREATY INVESTOR VISA

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

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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 category 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."

Read more client testimonials here.
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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 category visa can be obtained very quickly.
  • There is no annual quota limitation for the 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 a visa 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 or, machinery.
  • 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 year, 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 investor 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 category 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 here.

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

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 under the BOTH the EB1(c) or EB-5 programs.

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CAN AN E-2 CATEGORY VISA BE USED TO MOVE MY FAMILY TO THE US WITH ME?

Yes! If you are married and qualify for an E-2 category visa, your spouse and dependent children under age 21 can move to the U.S. with you. Your spouse will also be able to apply for U.S. work authorization, opening many more employment options when compared to an H-1B visa. That’s because, unlike the H1-B, a spouse joining an E-2 primary applicant is not tied to a specific employer. What’s more, where the H-1B can only be used for up to six years, the E-2 category visa can be renewed indefinitely.

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CAN MY E-2 CATEGORY VISA LATER BE CONVERTED TO A GREEN CARD?

Yes. Davies & Associates has helped many E-2 clients change their statuses from being visa holders to obtaining their “green cards,” becoming permanent residents in the U.S. There is not an automatic path to a green card for non-immigrant visa holders. However, there are several potential options. These include:

E2 and EB5 Investor Visa Program

You may qualify under the EB5 investor visa program by using the same investment used for your E-2 category visa.

In fact, combining the E2 and EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. is a common strategy that allows an E-2 investor to relocate immediately to the U.S. but later obtain a “green card” through a business investment.

Direct EB-5:

Another option for qualified E-2 businesses is using the Direct EB-5 visa program. Under this option, a business investment must be at least $900,000 and the business must employ at least 10 people. However, there is a catch: The $900,000 minimum investment only applies to investments made in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs). Businesses in other areas are subject to a $1.8 million invested capital requirement.

Regional Center EB-5:

Using the Regional Center EB-5 program to obtain a green card may be a better option for some investors who have concerns about the real or perceived commercial restrictions that come with tying the E-2 business to the EB-5 program rules. These rules can have unintended consequences when employee headcounts dip below the required minimum.

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

Another program, the EB-1(c), is available for multinational managers and executives. This program may be an option for L-1 visa and E-2 category visa holders.

To make the transition using an EB-1(c) visa, there has to be a business in your home country that has a qualified relationship to the E-2 business in which you invested in the U.S. That means, among other requirements, that you worked for the business in your home country for at least one year out of the most recent three years before you moved to the U.S. under the E-2 program. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate an “intent to depart” the U.S. at the time you apply for the E-2 category visa. Of course, this can seem contradictory if you plan to obtain your green card using the EB-1(c) program. Your Davies & Associates immigration attorney can help you understand and discuss your options.

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INVESTING IN AN EXISTING E-2 BUSINESS

With an E-2 category visa you can establish a new business or acquire an existing business or franchise. However, not every business will meet the requirements of the E-2 program rules. Davies & Associates corporate attorneys work closely with the immigration team team for E-2 clients to help them find business opportunities that that will comply with the regulations. If you are still considering your business investment opportunities, contact Davies & Associates so we can help you understand the program parameters. That way, you won’t waste time pursuing business opportunities that may not qualify.

Watch our video on E-2 category visa franchises

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WHERE AND HOW TO APPLY FOR AN E-2 CATEGORY VISA

Applying for E2 Status from Abroad

The entire application process for the E2 and E1 category visas, including the E-2 Treaty Trader visas, are handled by U.S. consulate offices abroad. This is different from most other types of visas, which require approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) prior to initiating the visa application.

Applying for an E2 Visa From Within the U.S.

You can only obtain a visa from a consulate office outside the U.S. If you are in legal, non-immigrant status in the U.S. currently, you can file a petition with USCIS to change your status to an E2 status. It is important to note that changing your status in this way from within the U.S. does not mean you’ve been granted a new visa. During your next trip to another country, you would need to work with the U.S. Consulate’s office in that country to apply for an E-2 category visa.

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HOW DAVIES & ASSOCIATES CAN HELP

Davies & Associates is a specialized law firm with a focus on immigration. We assist business owners and investors who want to relocate to the U.S. by helping them obtain E-1, E-2, L-1 and EB-5 visas. With significant experience and an international presence, we truly understand the nuances and procedural requirements involved in working with consulate offices and embassies all over the world. No law firm or attorney can guarantee they will be successful in helping you obtain E-2 status. However, in more than 15 years of working with clients, our recommendations and advice have never resulted in having an E-2 application denied.

Please contact our team of immigration professionals if you have any questions and to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.

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Client Reviews
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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
★★★★★
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