E2 visa defined
The E2 Business visa is a nonimmigrant visa category that's issued to foreign investors from countries that have a treaty with the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. As compared to a treaty trader, with an E2 visa, you can go to the U.S. to start a bona fide enterprise or purchase an existing business and work for that business.
The E2 visa is also a great option for business owners, investors or entrepreneurs who are looking to establish a startup company.
Two Ways to Apply for an E2 Visa
Once you have determined that the E2 visa is the right visa for you, there are two ways to apply for an E2 Visa: 1) from within the U.S. and 2) from outside the U.S.
E2 visa application from within the U.S.
If you're lawfully present in the U.S. under another non-immigrant visa, you can apply for a change of status to obtain an E2 visa. You can file a Form I-129 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence of your nationality, investment, and your intent to return once your visa expires.
E2 visa application from outside the U.S.
If you are physically present outside the U.S., you would need to apply for an E2 visa through your home country's U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You would need to file a Form DS-160 to start with your application for an E2 visa.
File the Form DS-160
If you're applying for an E2 visa outside of the U.S., then you'd need to file a Form DS-160. Together with the form, you need to provide your information and purpose for going to the U.S. After completing the form, you will be given a confirmation page and code which you would need to have with your interview.
Pay the corresponding fees
Aside from your qualifications, you also need to take into account the cost of E-2 visa. Once you have filed your Form DS-160, you will need to pay the application fee of $315. Moreover, you might also be required to pay additional fees, for example, visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees depending on your country. After you have paid all the fees, save the receipts as you will need them later.
Schedule your visa interview
All applicants between 13 and 80 years old are required to have a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to complete their visa application. We recommend that you schedule your interview as soon as possible so you don't need to wait long due to the high volume of visa applications.
Prepare relevant supporting documents
The consular officers would use the documents you have submitted including the answers to your interview to determine if you are eligible for an E2 visa, so you must prepare all the relevant documents to increase the chance of you getting approved.
Attend the interview
After the submission of the petition, you will then be interviewed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate office regarding your purpose and intention of going to the U.S. You need to prove your intent to depart once your E status expires because if it's suspected that you want to remain in the U.S. permanently, then your application might be rejected.
E2 Visa Process for Startup Companies
Step 1: Consulting with an Immigration Lawyer
The first step in obtaining an E2 visa is to first consult with an immigration lawyer. With the expertise of an immigration lawyer, they can review your situation and circumstances to determine if the E2 visa is the right option for you. They can help you check if there are easier and better options for you based on the goals and benefits you want to acquire.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Company
Once you have consulted with an immigration lawyer and have determined that the E2 visa is the right option for your current immigration and financial goals, the next step is setting up your E2 company. There are two important steps when setting up an E2 company: 1) Forming the company, and 2) Opening a bank account
Forming the company
You may choose any business information when setting up your E2 company such as an LLC or corporation. However, you have to make sure that you own at least 50% of the E2 business. This is because one of the requirements of an E2 visa is that you direct and develop the E2 business, which means you need to show that you have operational control of the business by owning at least 50% of it.
Opening a bank account
After you have formed your company, the next step would be to open a bank account as you would need it to operate an E2 company. Additionally, bank records from your business account will form as evidence for your E2 visa application.
Step 3: Transferring the Investment Funds to the Business Bank Account
Once you have set up your business's bank account, the next step is to transfer the investment funds into the bank account. This is because, as the USCIS stated, you must make a substantial investment in a U.S. business to qualify for an E-2 visa.
The substantial investment begins with actually depositing the investment funds into the business bank account. While there is no minimum amount set by the regulations, you should at least aim to invest at least $100, 000.
Step 4: Spending the Investment Funds
Once you have transferred your investment funds into the business bank account, you need to begin to spend the funds for business expenses including inventory, equipment, supplies, and marketing among others.
One of the requirements to get an E2 visa is that your funds must be "at-risk" and "irrevocably committed" to the bona fide enterprise. It is not sufficient that you deposit the funds into the business bank account, you must spend the funds for the benefit of the business.
The consular officer reviewing your case will determine if your investment is truly at risk or irrevocably committed according to the E2 guidelines. If not, then your application can be denied.
Step 5: Submitting the E2 Petition
Once you have set up your business or enterprise and that your investment capital is "at risk", you can now file for your E2 petition. There are two primary options when applying for an E2 visa: 1) change of status with the USCIS, and 2) visa processing at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
A change of status can only be done when you're lawfully present in the U.S. under another non-immigrant status. This can be done by filing with the USCIS a Form I-129. When doing so, you get an E2 status instead and not an E2 visa. It doesn't give you the ability to travel freely in and out of the U.S. because once you travel abroad, you will lose your E2 status.
Meanwhile, if you're physically present outside the U.S., you would need to do visa processing for your E2 petition. To do this, you must file a Form DS-160 to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Once you have completed your form, submitted the relevant documents and completed your interview, you will be able to obtain your E2 visa.
The consular officer or adjudicator determines your eligibility for an E2 visa depending on the relevant documents that you have submitted as well as your interview answers. This is why you must prepare your E2 visa requirements carefully. Here is the list of required documents for an E2 visa:
Filed Form DS-160;
A copy of your passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of your stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page;
Two coloured photographs that comply with the U.S. visa photo requirements. You are allowed to wear a headdress if required by the religious order in which you are a member;
The receipt that shows you have paid the required application fee;
Form DS-156E, if you are an executive, manager or essential employee;
Proof that you intend to depart the U.S. once your visa expires such as property deeds or apartment lease;
Proof that you invested in a bona fide enterprise such as a business license, bank statements, organizational chart, tax returns, and financial statements among others. This means that the enterprise must be real, active and operating which produces products or services for profit;
Proof that your investment is substantial such as personal bank statements, business bank statements, business license and registration, and business plan;
Proof of your nationality; and
Proof that the enterprise is not a marginal enterprise such as personal tax returns, personal assets and income, and payroll records. This means that the business or enterprise has the present or future capacity to generate more income than that is for the minimal living of the treaty investor and his or her family members.
Factors to Consider When Applying for an E2 Visa
If you're planning to apply for an E2 Treaty Investor visa, there are different things you need to consider as a treaty investor:
Requirements for the investment
You must invest a substantial amount in a U.S. business or enterprise to qualify for an E2 visa. There's no minimum amount of investment required, but its substantiality depends on the nature of the business. It must be sufficient enough to ensure your financial commitment to the success of the business, or of magnitude to support the likelihood that you will successfully develop and direct the bona fide enterprise.
Take note as well that the investment capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.
Comprehensive business plan
You must have a comprehensive business plan that shows your investment, goals, and projected growth or success. It should also show that your investment will create jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
Eligibility of your country
Only a national of a country that has a signed treaty with the United States or with a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed qualified by legislation can apply for an E2 visa. You need to make sure that you're a national of qualified E2 countries before applying.
Interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
The interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is one of the important steps in an E2 visa application. You need to prepare to answer questions related to your qualifications, your investment, and your business plan.
The E2 visa is valid initially for 2 years. You need to meet the requirements to be able to renew your visa in increments of 2 years indefinitely.
Consult with an immigration attorney
The E2 application process can be complicated and rigorous, so consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process. Your immigration attorney can prepare the relevant documents you would need to submit, which can help increase the chances of you getting approved.
Here at Davies & Associates, our experienced lawyers can help you with determining the relevant documents for your application to streamline the process and increase the chances of you getting approved.
Spouses and unmarried children
As an E2 visa holder, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. with you. They can apply for an E2 dependent visa, which also allows them to freely live and work in the U.S.
E2 Visa Processing Time
The processing time for an E2 visa can vary depending on the USCIS service center or U.S. Consulate where you submitted your application. Generally, it will take you at least 5 months if you file with the USCIS. However, you can have your application expedited and adjudicated within 15 calendar days once you pay a premium processing fee of $2, 500.
Meanwhile, applications in the U.S. Consulate can take from 2 weeks up to 4 months.
Validity and Extensions of an E2 Visa
The E2 visa is initially valid for 5 years, which you can extend for up to 2 years at a time with the USCIS. There is no limit to the number of times you can file for an extension as long as you maintain the intention to depart once your status expires or is terminated.
E2 Visa Dependents
The E2 visa allows dependents to join the treaty investor in the U.S. Your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply at the same time as you. To work, your spouse doesn't need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document 9EAD), while your children can study in the U.S.
Latest case studies
- Change of status application from F-1 to E-2 treaty investor
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- E-2 Visa in the “essential employee category” approved for singaporean national
- U.S. visas for critical employees of a Singapore-based wealth management company
- 5-year E-2 visa for a romanian investor issued by the U.S. embassy in Bucharest
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- E-2 Treaty investor Visa application approved for a filipino investor
- E-2 Visa for Design and Decorating Enterprise
- E-2 Visa for a Founder/CEO of a Real Estate Investment Firm
- E-2 Visa: Change of Status approved for a Singaporean national amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
- E-2 Visas for UK nationals valid for 5 years
- E-2 for Footwear / Fashion
- E-2 for Real Estate Development
- E-2 for Real Estate Start-Up Firm
- E-2 for a Recreational Water Sports Company
- E-2 treaty investor visa for a UK national valid for 5 years
- E-2 treaty investor visa renewal for another 4 years for an australian citizen and E-2 derivative visas for his spouse and child
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- Message from a satisfied E-2 client
- Renewal of E-2 Treaty Investor Visa for an Australian National
- भारत में जन्मे ऑस्ट्रेलियाई के लिए कैलिफोर्निया में स्टोर खोलने के लिए E-2 वीजा
- E-2 Visa for Leading Fashion Designer
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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.
Outstanding Immigration Attorney: Highly Recommended! Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5) I had the pleasure of working with Verdie Atienza and his team at Davies & Associates , a top-notch immigration attorney in the United States. Their professionalism, expertise, and dedication throughout the process were exceptional. With in-depth knowledge of immigration law, they provided accurate advice and addressed all my concerns, instilling confidence. Verdie Atienza and his team meticulously reviewed my documentation and maintained excellent communication, keeping me updated regularly. What sets Davies & Associates apart is their unparalleled attention to detail. Communication with Verdie Atienza and his team in USA and Sukanya Raman in India was always prompt and efficient. They promptly returned my calls and emails, providing regular updates on the progress of my case. This level of responsiveness and transparency significantly reduced my stress levels, as I knew I could rely on their support and guidance throughout the entire process. Their personalized approach, ethical conduct, and genuine care for my success made them an outstanding attorney. I highly recommend Davies & Associates for all your immigration needs.
Thanks to them for handling my E2 visa very professionally. I had a study visa from F1 and changed it to E2. I encountered many problems during the application process. Verdie and Etta were very patient in helping me and it took a long time. I highly recommend this place.
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.
When we first started our search for a firm to represent us in our journey to acquire my E2 visa, we reached out to a couple of companies and individual Attorneys. The responsive of the team-at D&A and positive reviews made the choice obvious. From the start D&A staff were very professional and easy to work with. Our Attorney, Verdie was very knowledgeable in the matter. He answered all of my questions and addressed my concerns. The team is very professional and did a wonderful job on our Business plan. And helpful Etta put together all the documentations needed for my application. All in all, Davies & Associates organization and step by step system, helped the whole process to move smoothly with out a glitch. I highly recommend Davies & Associates for any one who is pursuing an E2 Visa.
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.Individual seeking 'Impossible' TN Visa
D&A was very detail-oriented and was very thorough in what they did” L1 Visa Client. There was a lot of work on my case and worked on it 24/7 and was very patient answering all my questions.E2 Visa Client
My case felt complex but D&A managed the whole process carefully and helped me move seamlessly from one stage to the next.E2 + CBI Client
D&A was my guiding light through the entire EB5 Process.EB5 Visa Client
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 openminded 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.Grenada CBI + E2 Visa Client
The entire process of getting an EB5 visa is handled in a professional way by Mark Davies and his team. EB5 is a wonderful option for anyone considering moving to the United States if you have the means. I was hoping to use the H1B route for my children, but it became unreliable and so I looked to the EB5 Visa instead. It is great for anyone who has the resources. Mark gives you the first meetings himself which gives you great comfort. Both Mark and Sanjay are abundantly available and I even had the pleasure of hosting them at my house.Parent of 2 EB5 Visa Holders
I'm in a process of extending my L1 visa. I submitted a few questions regarding my case and he contacted me back almost immediately both by e-mail and telephone. Unlike other attorneys I met before, he gave me the impression of knowing from the top of his head what kind of visa I have, and what actions had to be taken to extend it. He is very thorough and clear regarding the process and what to expect in terms of timelines and issues that may arise. He is constantly in contact, so you definitely know he's working on your case.L1B Visa Holder
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.E2 Visa for Small Professional Business With International Offices
Davies & Associates assisted us with an immigration emergency involving my brother's fiancée who was outside the United States. They assisted us in an highly professional manner, working with the relevant US embassy, US immigration and the governments of two other countries. As a result of their efforts the individual involved is now working in the United States. While their knowledge of the law is exemplary what really distinguishes this firm and attorney Davies from any other firm we have worked with is their dedication to customer service and their unrivaled level of professionalism.Complex Fiancée Visa Need Involving Multiple International Jurisdictions
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
I was qualified as a physician in a foreign country. Being on a J1 visa I was facing having to leave the United States and return to my home country. Davies & Associates secured one of only 30 J1 visa waivers available in my State, allowing me to work for a US hospital and remain in the United States.Doctor Seeking J1 Visa Waiver
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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