Introduction

Whether you're an investor, an established entrepreneur, or an aspiring one, you're probably thinking of expanding in the U.S. to build wealth. In 2022, the country recorded nearly 5.1 million new businesses with a survival rate of 78.4% for startups. This means, that if you're planning to start a business in the U.S., you are less likely to fail with the right strategies at your disposal. And if you're planning to play a key role in expanding your business in the U.S., you will need an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to lawfully stay in the country. Please note that you have to be a citizen or national of an E-2 Treaty Country. If not, you may have the option to obtain a passport from a treaty country to qualify for an E-2 visa or status.

Two ways to apply

  1. You can apply for an E-2 visa directly at the Embassy or Consulate. You can apply for the visa with your spouse and your children below 21 years old.
  2. Processing Time

    If you're a visa applicant physically present or living in another country, the processing time can vary from the U.S. consulate but generally, it takes 2 weeks to 4 months.

    Fees and Costs Involved

    1. Travel Charges - You need to consider the cost of travel to the U.S. embassy or consulate for your interview. These may include hotel accommodations and transportation costs.
    2. MRV Fee - After completing the DS-160 online application, you need to pay the MRV fee of $205 USD. You will need to submit an application package according to Embassy/Consulate instructions/guidelines.
    3. Visa Issuance Fee -Once your E2 visa is approved, you have to pay a visa issuance fee based on a reciprocity schedule. This fee varies depending on your home country and typically ranges between $100 USD to $250 USD.

    Visa Validity and Period of Authorized Stay in the U.S.

    The validity of the E-2 visa depends on your country’s reciprocity schedule. For most countries, the reciprocity schedule is 5 years, but for some countries, it is 3 months. When you enter on a valid E-2 visa, you will be given a period of authorized stay of 2 years. If you depart the U.S. and re-enter on a valid E-2 visa, you will again have a period of two years of authorized stay.

    If you have entered the U.S. on a valid E-2 visa and received two years of authorized stay, you can also opt to request to extend your E-2 status without leaving the U.S. by filing an application with USCIS. If your application to extend status is approved, you will get another two years of authorized stay.

  3. If you are in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant status, you can apply to change status to E-2 Treaty Investor status. You can apply to change to E-2 status with your spouse and children below 21 years old.
  4. Processing Time

    The application to change status is filed with USCIS and may take between 3 to 6 months to be adjudicated. You have the option to pay an additional fee on top of the filing application fee to request premium processing. With premium processing, USCIS is required to respond within 15 days.

    Fees and Costs Involved

    You can pay these fees from your business bank account.

    1. Form I-129 - The filing fee is $460 USD.
    2. Form I-907 - You have the option to request for premium processing service to have your petition expedited within 15 days for an additional premium processing fee of $2,5000 USD.
    3. Form I-539 - If you have dependents (spouse and children below 21), they also need to file a change of status application with USCIS and the filing fee is $370 USD.

How To Pay E2 Visa Fees?

You can pay for the E-2 visa fees in the form of either a cashier's check, personal check, or money order. The checks must indicate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the recipient. An experienced immigration attorney would generally advise making each payment separately rather than combining it into a single payment. This helps in avoiding confusion and errors that would lead to unnecessary delays in your visa processing. Give us a call today to discuss with an experienced immigration lawyer and ensure your filing fees and other additional fees are correctly calculated.

Period of Authorized Stay and Extension of Status

Upon approval of your change of status application to E-2, you will receive a new I-94 for an extended period of two years of authorized stay in the U.S. This means that you can stay in the U.S. for a full period of two years without having to leave. If you leave before the two-year period expires, you will only be able to re-enter the U.S. by applying for a visa at the Embassy/Consulate. Prior to the expiration of the two-year period, you can file for the extension of status for an additional period of two years.
The same fees as detailed above apply.
To know more about the difference between the two ways to apply for a visa, you can also check our article here.

Business Investment or E-2 Visa

If you're planning to form a new business with your E2 visa, then you'd need a lawyer for your startup who can review your situation and determine the best plan of action. After consultations, to obtain an E2 visa, you'd need a "substantial" investment in your startup. Generally, an investment of $100,000 USD is recommended, but the nature and requirements of the business must be taken into consideration.

Business Plan in E2 Visa

Aside from investing and spending on business expenses related to your startup, business plans are also necessary for your visa eligibility. You need toinclude an E2-compliant business plan with your application. These business plans are created by companies that specialise in immigration business plans with fees varying depending on the company you work with.

Administrative Charges

Apart from application fees, there are other fees that you also need to take note of like legal fees and administrative costs tied to your application process including translation fees, certification fees, business entity formation costs, postage, and courier fees among others.

Immigration Lawyer Costs

The help of an experienced immigration attorney makes the application process easier, that's why a lot of applicants choose to work with one. If you're looking forward to working with one, the attorney fees will depend on your case's difficulty, the specific services they will provide, and their particular billing practices.

Translation Costs

Translation costs are another administrative charge that you might need to pay if your application documents are not in English. The fee may vary depending on the volume of documents and languages involved.

Certifications

There are documents that may need the certification of a government agency or organization upon its submission. The certification fees may vary depending on the requirements and the agency or organization signing.

Minimizing Your E2 Visa Expenses

Applying for an E2 visa can get costly, after all, it's related to bringing in a major investment to the U.S., but there are several strategies that you may use to minimize expenses.

  • Create plans ahead and avoid unnecessary fees - Starting ahead of time in processing your E2 visa application can help you minimize costs in expediting the process. Moreover, this helps you avoid unnecessary expenses such as unnecessary document certifications or translations as you already have a concrete plan for your application.
  • Compare providers - Since the process also includes other expenses such as your immigration lawyer fee and administrative fees, comparing fees from different providers can help you weigh in your options based on your budget.
  • Work with an experienced immigration lawyer - When you work with an experienced and great immigration lawyer or E2 visa attorney, not only does it make your application process easier but also helps you avoid mistakes that would otherwise cost a fortune. Here at Davies & Associates, we can help you manage your application to avoid unnecessary delays and costly fees.

E2 Visa Cost Frequently Asked Questions

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, an E-2 visa is a non-immigration classification granted to foreign investors from countries with a bilateral investment treaty or agreement with the U.S. The foreign investor may invest substantial capital in an existing U.S. business or build a company from scratch.

Here are some of the benefits you'll receive when you decide to get an E-2 visa:

  • Work legally in the U.S. for a company you invested in - If you're planning or dreaming about conducting business in the U.S., then an E2 visa is a must. Whether you've invested in an existing business or starting your own in the U.S., playing a key role in the business is essential for it to thrive and that means working on the ropes on the scene.
  • No minimum investment required - The U.S. government doesn't have a specific minimum or maximum amount for an E-2 visa investment. It only requires that the investment must be a substantial amount and that it's always put at risk. As a general rule, however, the capital investment should be based on the nature and requirements of the business.
  • Family members can also work and attend school - Your spouse may also work in the U.S. based on her visa and I-94. There is no need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. Meanwhile, if you have children, they can also attend school through their E-2 dependent visa before they turn 21.
  • Stay indefinitely in the U.S. - There's no limit to the renewal of an E-2 visa provided that the E-2 enterprise continues to operate. If you invest a significant amount of $800,000 or $1,000,000 USD, you have the opportunity to become a permanent resident in the U.S. through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

The U.S. government provides that you must be a national of a country of E-2 treaty countries with the U.S. to obtain the visa. Your nationality is determined by your citizenship, and in cases of dual or multiple citizenship of E2 treaty countries, you can apply under any citizenship you hold. You may have the option to obtain a passport of a treaty country.

The treaty does specify a minimum amount of investment to qualify for an E-2 Visa, but it requires the investment to be a substantial amount in relation to the nature and requirements of the business. The investment must be at risk as well. While we recommend an investment of at least $100,000 USD, the capital must still be based on the nature and requirements of the business.

Yes, any legitimate or lawful business with the intention to hire U.S. workers is eligible for an E-2 visa. However, take note that while any business is allowable, the business must contribute to the local economy to an extent that's more than marginal and must not exist for the sole purpose of supporting the investor and gaining an E-2 visa.

There is no set deadline for making an investment, but the E2 guidelines provide that you have invested or are in the process of investing and have committed funds as part of the requirements. To be "in the process of investing" means that you're close to the start of the actual business operation.

Family members such as your spouse or your children under 21 years of age can travel with you on an E-2 visa. Their visas are valid for the same period as yours.

Once you're approved, you're allowed a maximum of an initial stay of 2 years, with extensions that can be granted in increments of 2 years.

There is no limit on how many times your E-2 visa can be granted. An E-2 non-immigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted, as determined by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer, an automatic 2-year period of readmission upon return to the U.S.

Under an E-2 visa, an investor or employee may only work for the enterprise that is the subject of the investment. However, an E-2 visa holder is permitted to partially or fully own other companies. Mere ownership doesn't pose a problem, take note, however, that you're not allowed to work at the new enterprise.

If you still have questions left unanswered, you can also visit here for more FAQs about E-2 Visa.

E2 Visa Costs for Each Treaty Countries

CountryVisa Reciprocity Fee
AlbaniaNone
ArgentinaNone
ArmeniaNone
AustraliaUSD 3,574.00
AustriaUSD 31.00
AzerbaijanNone
BahrainNone
BangladeshNone
BelgiumUSD 420.00
BoliviaNone
Bosnia and HerzegovinaNone
BulgariaUSD 162.00
CameroonUSD 240.00
USD 60.00
CanadaUSD 40.00
ChileUSD 265.00
China (Taiwan)None
ColombiaNone
Congo (Brazzaville)None
Congo (Kinshasa)None
Costa RicaUSD 291.00
Croatia USD 395.00
Czech Republic USD 22.00
DenmarkNone
Ecuador None
EgyptNone
EstoniaNone
EthiopiaNone
FinlandUSD 292.00
FranceNone
GeorgiaNone
GermanyNone
GrenadaNone
HondurasUSD 195.00
IrelandNone
IsraelNone
ItalyUSD 308.00
JamaicaNone
JapanNone
JordanNone
KazakhstanNone
Korea (South)None
KosovoNone
KyrgyzstanNone
LatviaNone
LiberiaNone
LithuaniaNone
LuxembourgNone
Macedonia None
MexicoUSD 42.00
MoldovaNone
MongoliaUSD 65.00
MontenegroNone
MoroccoNone
NetherlandsUSD 2,228.00
New Zealand None
NorwayUSD 400.00
OmanNone
PakistanNone
PanamaNone
ParaguayNone
PhilippinesUSD 662.00
PolandNone
RomaniaNone
SenegalNone
SerbiaNone
SingaporeNone
Slovak RepublicNone
SloveniaUSD 345.00
SpainUSD 234.00
Sri LankaNone
SurinameNone
SwedenNone
SwitzerlandUSD 235.00
ThailandUSD 15.00
TogoUSD 210.00
Trinidad & TobagoNone
TunisiaNone
TurkeyNone
UkraineNone
United KingdomUSD 105.00
Yugoslavia

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Eranjan Venura Parua
Eranjan Venura Parua
3 months ago

"After finding D&A through an internet search in 2020, my wife and I had several free consultations with David Cantor. Despite our initial attempt at filing for our E2 visa independently ending in failure, we decided to hire D&A for their expertise and support. Over the course of four long years, Verdie and Cristina were incredibly patient as we took our time to prepare for the E2 submission. Verdie became our E2 Attorney in 2021, and from the start, Verdie and Cristina's patience was evident. Despite our intermittent engagement over the years, they always treated us with the utmost attention. Working with Verdie and the D&A team was a pleasure; their professionalism and support were unwavering. Verdie's calm demeanor and succinct communication style made navigating the process much smoother, even during complex discussions. I wholeheartedly recommend Verdie and D&A - Davies & Associates, to anyone seeking an immigration law firm who can efficiently handle their case with precision and without unnecessary fanfare. Their ability to get things done speaks volumes about their dedication to their clients' success."

Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
5 months ago

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad
Saeed Muhammad
6 months ago

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satyabrat Chowdhury
Satyabrat Chowdhury
9 months ago

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Christine Envall
Christine Envall
a year ago

Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.

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