US Franchise. L1 Visa

L1 Visa through the Franchise Model

A franchise investment in the United States can qualify a foreign national for an L1 or even an E2 work visa.  One of the driving factors to invest in a franchise is that it is tried and tested and affords some level of predictability.  A foreign national/franchisee can leverage the franchisor’s business network, resources and technical know- how and potentially, mitigate risk. 

For foreign entrepreneurs/business owners seeking to start a business in the U.S. intended to support their L1 visa (and possibly EB-1C green card), a franchise can be a viable option.

For an L1 visa, establishing the requisite “qualifying relationship” between the foreign national’s business abroad and the new U.S. petitioning entity is imperative.  And thus, carefully structuring the new U.S. entity in the franchise context is critical not only to meet this criterion, but also to ensure that the new entity will have necessary personnel to support an L1 “executive” position in the U.S.  Of equal importance is ensuring that the business structure affords corporate liability protection and likelihood of growth and success. 

There is no prescribed minimum regarding the investment or number of franchise businesses that own must own.  It’s important to demonstrate potential for scale and a reasonably robust organizational structure that will support the foreign entrepreneur’s executive role as an L1 and down the road, an EB-1C applicant.   A well-articulated business plan with realistic milestones and projections is key, particularly at the time of the new office L-1 extension.

D&A attorneys have been assisting foreign entrepreneurs in obtaining L1 and E2 visas through the franchise business option.  Our corporate advisors can assist business owners navigate corporate liability implications in the United States and thereby help minimize risk.

This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

Client Q & A on Eb-2 Visa

Options for Workers After Loss of Employment in the US

A non-immigrant worker in the US could working in L-1, E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or TN status.  When such worker is laid off or they resign, they do no necessarily need to leave the United States within 60 days, which is often wrongly assumed; there are options they can explore.

Loss of non-immigrant visa employment either voluntarily or involuntarily results in the loss of the NIV status of the foreign worker.  A grace period of up to 60 days following termination is generally available to remain in the country.  However, if one of the following actions as applicable, is taken within the 60-day period, the foreign worker (and dependents) can remain in the US in an authorized stay beyond 60 days:

  • File an application for a change of nonimmigrant status;
  • File an application for adjustment of status;
  • File an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorization document; or
  • Be the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer.

If the individual fails to take any of the above actions, they and their dependents may then need to depart the country within 60 days, or when their authorized validity period ends, whichever is shorter.

The 60-day grace-period is a discretionary regulatory provision and starts the day after termination of employment, which is typically determined based on the last day for which a salary or wage is paid.

D&A attorneys have extensive experience with non-immigrant visas and can help you navigate options in what can be a nuanced and often, complex process following employment termination.  Please feel free to contact us if you require assistance in this regard.

This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

US Visa application - Immigration lawyer

E2 Visa Business Plan: Your Blueprint for Immigration Success

E2 Visa Business Plan Defined

An E2 Treaty Investor Visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows a foreign investor who is a national of an E2 treaty country to make a substantial investment in a new or existing U.S. enterprise and go to the U.S. to direct and develop this business.

An E2 Business Plan is a document that supports your E-2 Treaty Visa application process. It is one of the has many requirements related to the E2 Treaty Investor and the E2 enterprise, and it is also used to show proof of compliance with visa eligibility.

After submission of your application and business plan to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you will be invited to attend an interview. During the interview, you will then be asked about any information you have provided about yourself and the business you plan to establish.

The consular officer will scrutinize your business plan to the extent of how it will derive economic benefit to the U.S., so you have to be prepared to explain your plans and projections to prove that your E-2 enterprise will be more than marginal.

Importance of an E2 Business Plan

One of the crucial parts of your E-2 Visa process is making your business plan. If it’s poorly written, it could further delay your visa application process as the adjudicator would request more information. Worse, a poorly written business plan will result in a denied application.

Heed caution, however, as using a template might be risky. It’s important to note that the E2 business plan must explain your plans to contribute to the U.S. market and economy through your business.

The purpose of business plans is not really to attract business partners or investors but to convince adjudicators who will review your visa application to approve your visa and your business venture.

An E2 Visa business plan has virtually the may have the same content as that of a standard business plan, but it also has be to tailored to meet the specific E-2 visa requirements. You would need to include your investment funds, the source of your capital, and your operating strategies to establish and direct the enterprise. Further, it would include background information about you, an executive summary, and other business details.

Contents of an E2 Business Plan

It’s common for investors to be unsure of where to begin writing their business plan. There’s no hard and fast rule in creating business plans, and even if you already know what to write, you may still hit some blunders along the way.

There’s a high chance you might use a template if you’re unsure of what to write. However, especially for an E2 business plan, a template will likely leave out vital and necessary information that you would need for your visa application process.

The adjudicator will use the information and business plan you have submitted to decide whether you are qualified for the E2 Visa, so leaving out necessary information or failing to detail important information will likely result in a denial.

Your immigration business plan should include your business objectives, goals and forecast. It should show in detail how you will utilize your investment and how it’s sufficient to make the business operational to meet your goals. The business plan should also provide financial projections on how the business will achieve profitability and economic benefits that will contribute to the U.S.

The contents of your business plan will depend on the nature of your business, the investment amount, and the marketing strategies you’ll adopt to make the business thrive. We always recommend working with professional business plan writers who specialize in immigration-related business plans.

In general, your business plan should cover information regarding:

The company

You should include information regarding the company which is the focus of your investment. It should show whether it’s a new or existing business, its niche, its services or products, its projected economic benefits, and its business or operational strategies. You should prove that the company or enterprise is bona fide and that it will be able to employ qualified U.S. workers.

The investment

Aside from information about the company, you should also be able to detail more about your investment, whether it’s substantial and its lawful source. Your investment must also meet the requirements of the proportionality test

The applicant

Finally, you should also be able to include information about yourself as the investor, whether you can direct and develop the business. Detail as much as you can about your abilities and capabilities to develop and direct the business as well as your credibility so you can sufficiently convince the adjudicator.

Moreover, you have to include your intention to leave the U.S. upon the expiration of your visa as well as your intent to reside in the U.S. for the duration of your visa.

Elements of an E-2 Business Plan

In making your E2 Visa business plan, it should at least include the following:

  • A business summary and description introducing the company briefly, its products and/or its services;
  • A general overview of why you and your business are qualified for an E2 Visa;
  • A detailed description of your intended purpose of developing and directing the business, which includes details that prove you’re entering the U.S. to run the business, that you own 50% of the business, and that you will be responsible for its day-to-day operations;
  • A target market analysis and industry analysis which includes information about business conditions, business competitors, budget and personnel requirements, a description of your diverse client base, and a brief explanation of why the business will succeed in its market;
  • A comprehensive marketing strategy for how the business will gain recognition from its target market, and will engage with the market;
  • A detailed hiring plan which includes a description of each position you intend to hire, how many employees you plan to hire, and information on how your business will create new jobs for qualified U.S. workers for the next 5 years of its operations;
  • A financial strategy includes financial projections, a balance sheet, a cash flow statement, a profit and loss statement, and an explanation for the figures and assumptions in these statements.
  • Information that proves you’re in control of your investment funds, including evidence of the lawful source and substantiality of these funds with a clear paper trail;
  • An operational strategy detailing your venture’s organization and management, a description of your skills and experience, and how these ensure your venture’s success and viability.

E-2 Visa Business Plan Reviewers

The consular officers from your home country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are the ones who will read the comprehensive immigration business plans. There will be limited communication between you and the officer, so you have to include all necessary information in your business plan.

Issues in Writing an E2 Visa Business Plan

There might be several issues or problems you might come across while writing your business plan. You might ask, along the way, how you can prove that your investment is substantial. While there’s a definitive number on what’s considered a minimum investment, the investment is considered substantial depending on the nature of the business. The investment must be substantial in relation to the costs of setting up your enterprise.

Moreover, on the question if you’d need to indicate a commercial space, take note that a physical space or a commercial lease is not required in an E2 business plan. However, it’s still recommended that you obtain a lease for an office space because most officers still expect to see whether the E2 enterprise has an office and it also contributes in proving that the E2 enterprise is real and operating.

On the question of whether you need to spend money before your visa application is approved, it is an E2 Visa requirement that your investment funds are “at risk” so it’s given that you need to spend the capital before completing your application. However, it is possible to irrevocably commit the funds to your start up E2 enterprise without actually spending them at the time of the filing of the application. Our team can definitely guide you and help you in meeting this requirement and minimizing the risk of losing your investment.


A comprehensive business plan is an essential E-2 Visa requirement. To show that you are eligible for the visa classification you have to submit a business plan; E2 Visa, after all, is about investing substantial capital in a U.S. business.

You should take your time writing your business plan. Avoid using templates or sample business plans where you’ll just input information. If you’re unsure on what to write and where to start, you can ask help from immigration professionals, especially from those who have experience on handling E2 Visa applications.

The immigration attorneys at Davies & Associates can help you prepare for your visa application process, and increase the chances of you getting approved with an E2 Visa with their skills and experience.


Is there a minimum investment needed for an E2 Visa?

The investment capital is one of the most important components of your visa application and your E-2 Work Visa cost. While there is no definitive minimum amount of investment for an E2 Visa, the requirements are clear that the investment must be substantial. Substantial is measured depending on the nature of the business, its industry, and other relevant factors. It must be substantial enough related to the costs associated with the business.

How does a business plan comply with E2 Visa requirements?

Your business plan should show how your capital investment is going to be utilized together with financial, personnel, operational and marketing strategies.

Is the E2 Visa business plan the same as a standard business plan?

While a standard business plan and an E2 business plan are virtually the same, your E2 business plan must include comprehensive and extensive information about you, the background of your investment, and how beneficial your new venture would be for the U.S.

E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

Transferring your E-2 Visa to another Company: Process, Requirements, and Tips

An E2 Treaty Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows nationals from E2 treaty countries to operate or work for a business within the United States.  An E-2 treaty country is defined as a country that has a signed treaty with the United States. A list of E-2 treaty countries is available here. 

To qualify for the E2 visa an investor needs to make a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise or business.  A substantial investment for an E2 Visa can be made in your own business, invest in a franchise, or through the purchase an existing business.  In addition to an E-2 investor visa, an E-2 specialist worker visa is also available to persons holding the same nationality as the business owner.

The United States understands that sometimes things change.  Sometimes you may need to change your E-2 business or make substantial changes to your E-2 business.

E-2 Visa Transfer to Another Company and Business Changes

It is possible to change your business while on an E2 visa or “move” to a completely new E-2 business.

Changing to a completely new E-2 business requires you to file a new I-129 for with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).

What where there are substantial changes to your exiting E2 business?

Your immigration lawyer will need to decide whether the changes to your E-2 business are “substantive” or not.  If the lawyer feels this decision is unclear or “grey” they may ask United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine if the changes to your E-2 business are “substantial” or not.

If the changes are not “substantial” then you can continue working on your current E-2 Visa.

USCIS must approve any “substantive change” to the E-2 business.  A “substantive change” may include a merger, acquisition, or the closure of a business line or location.  If there is a “substantive change” to your E2 business, you have to file a new Form I-129 for both yourself and other effected employees . The filing must also include any evidence that shows you still qualify for an E-2 status.

Transferring from Another Visa Type to an E-2 Visa

There may be a variety of reasons why you would opt to transfer from another visa type to E-2 visa status. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa does have its advantages. Commonly qualified clients transfer from an L-1A visa to an E-2 visa.  Unlike with an L-1 visa or and H1B visa, you are not required to have a certain level of education or an employer sponsorship to obtain the visa. Moreover, the E-2 Visa can be extended indefinitely as long as you still meet the requirements.

E-2 Visa Transfer Process

Any substantial change, whether it be a change in the employer’s basic characteristics or an employee’s previously approved relationship with the U.S. business necessitates the filing of a new I-129 form. A new Form I-129 and E supplement must be filed with the USCIS together with a request for an extension of stay. Moreover, the petition must show that the new employer meets the requirements of an E2 Visa.

There are times that you may also opt for consular processing at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country to get the transfer done even if you’re already in the United States. If you go with this option, there are two main benefits you may receive: 1) Your E2 Visa might be granted for a longer period*, and 2) Your E2 Visa will not expire once you leave the country but will be renewed when you re-enter the U.S.

* All E-2 visas are subject to the limitations in the reciprocity table.

However, there are times that people will prefer not to leave the U.S. or in a rush to transfer, in which, filing with the USCIS may be more convenient.

E2 Visa Transfer to E2 company’s Parent or Subsidiary

If you are in the US on an E2 employee visa you can work for your employer’s parent company or subsidiary without any change to your E2 visa.  To make this change you need to meet a few conditions:

  • A qualified corporate relationship must exist between your employers.
  • Your new employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills.
  • The terms and conditions of the employment which is the basis of the E2 status didn’t change.

E-2 Visa to H-1B Visa Status

While the E2 visa is a much more flexible visa of potentially infinite validity there may be times where business changes render an E2 visa ineligible for E2 Visa status.  For example, if the E-2 business is acquired by a U.S. entity then all E2 visa validity will likely end.  In these circumstances transferring to an H1B visa or L1 visa may be a possibility.

There is no official process to automatically transfer from an E2 Visa status to a H1B. You would need to apply for an entirely new H-1B Visa.   You need to make sure that you meet all of the qualification requirements for H1B:

  • You have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field where you’ll work. If you have relevant work experience, it can be used as a substitute. A year of study in the university is equal to 3 years of work experience, generally.
  • Your employment must be considered a specialty occupation according to the standards of USCIS.

Once you qualify, you must have an employer to sponsor you because and file a Form I-129 petition on your behalf. A potential H1-B employer will also need to secure a Labor Condition Application for you.

After and H1-B petition is filed, you will need to undergo a lottery for random selection due to the H-1B’s popularity. If you possess a master’s degree, you have a better chance of getting selected. Moreover, if you are working for a non-profit organization, an institute of higher education, or a government research centre, you can be considered exempt from the H-1B visa limit.

E2 Visa Transfer to an Unrelated Employer or Business

Any substantial change that affects the treaty investor or employee’s previously approved relationship with the E2 business must be approved by the USCIS.

An E2 employee cannot work for a business that is not related to their original E-2 employer and remain in an E2 status without proper government approval. If you want to transfer to a completely unrelated company, the new company must apply for the E2 visa for you.

The same goes for the investor who wants to change the activity or nature of their company.

If you want to make substantial changes, Davies & Associates has immigration attornies who can give you advice regarding your transfer and make sure that you still retain your current E-2 nonimmigrant status.

Adjusting Status to Green Card

No non-immigrant visa, including the E-2 visa, provides a direct road towards a lawful permanent residency. You will need to apply for an immigrant visa.  Immigrant visas include:

  • EB-5 Visa – Since one of the parts of an E-2 Visa Cost is the investment, then you might want to consider the EB-5 Visa. This visa allows you to obtain a green card when you make a minimum investment depending on the area where you’ll make your investment.
  • EB-2 and EB-2 NIW – This visa requires an employer sponsorship and a PERM Labor Certification obtained by the employer on your behalf. If you’re planning to apply, however, with a National Interest Waiver (NIW) you may bypass such requirements.
  • EB1-C  The EB1-c visa is for international managers and executives.
  • EB-3 – This visa also requires an employer sponsorship and a PERM Labor Certification for you to be qualified. It’s available for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers possessing the necessary qualifications.

Dual Intent in E2 Visa

Dual intent is an important doctrine in US immigration law.  For certain visas the visa applicant is permitted to hold a long-term intent to remain in the United States, these are the visas of “dual intent”. 

It is unlawful to enter the United States with the intention of remaining permanently in the United States using a non-immigrant visa unless it is a visa of “dual intent”.

The E2 visa is unique in that it is neither a visa of “dual intent”, neither is the E2 visa not a visa of dual intent. 

All E-2 visa applications are supported by a statement that the applicant intends to depart the United States when the visa comes to an end.  As an E2 visa can be renewed as long as the E2 business exists, this time period is never clear.

If you’re considering checking the processing time of an E2 visa for your application process, you may also check our article here.

Required Documents for E2 Transfer

The E2 Visa process necessarily includes the submission of the proper and relevant documents, the same is true where there is a substantial change to the US E-2 business. Amongst other documents you must prepare the following:

  • Original and copy of your passport;
  • Original and copy of your Alien Registration Card;
  • A passport-sized photo;
  • A copy of your contract with your employer;
  • A copy of the E-2 business’s license;
  • Employment certificate;
  • Criminal background check;
  • Proof of your income from the previous E-2 employer; and

E2 Visa Restrictions for E-2 Employees

An E-2 employee must have the same nationality as the E2 business.  For this purpose the E-2 business is deemed to have the nationality of its owners.  When the E-2 business is jointly owned by persons of differencing nationality the E-2 business is deemed to have two nationalities.

Where an owner of an E-2 business is a US dual national the business is deemed to be a US business for E-2 visa purposes.

A special rule applies where the owner of the US is also an E-2 visa holder.  Under these circumstances both the employee and employer must be present in the United States.

E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

E2 Employee Visa: The Key to Working in the United States

E2 Employee Visa defined

An E2 Employee Visa is a visa classification that allows a national of an E2 treaty country to work for an E2 business. The business can be new or existing where the treaty investor of the same nationality has invested a substantial amount. If the treaty investor has been proven eligible, certain employees may also be eligible.

Treaty investors, either real or corporate, must possess the following requirements to qualify:

  • Be a national of an E2 treaty country. Treaty countries are those that entered into a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S.
  • Made a substantial investment in a genuine U.S. enterprise.
  • Must show that they own or control at least 50% of the U.S. enterprise
  • Must invest in an enterprise that’s more than marginal

Privileges that an E2 Employee Visa grants

The E2 Employee Visa allows the holder to work in the treaty investor’s business in either an executive or supervisory role or any other role that’s essential to the operations of the business, which means that they possess specialized skills needed by the E-2 company. The holder of an E2 employee visa must only work for the treaty investor business and not for any other U.S. employer without seeking further permission.

The holder can be accompanied by their spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 in the U.S. Their spouse can also legally work in the U.S., while their children can attend school.

Moreover, the E2 Employee Visa holder can freely travel in and out of the U.S. with their dependent family members without restrictions, provided their visa remains valid.

Types of Employees under the E-Visas

Executives and/or Supervisors

For this type of employee, it is a must that the applicant possesses qualifying executive and supervisory experience. You should be able to demonstrate their experience, although it is not a requirement that you have previous employment with the principal treaty investor for a specific period.

You should also be in a senior position and manage the whole business or a key part of the business. Moreover, your role’s executive or supervisory nature must be the principal and primary function and not just merely incidental. If the role entails key supervisory responsibility for a key part of the business’s operations and only routinely involves substantive staff work, then you can apply for this visa type.

During the application process, you should submit documents such as a job description, resume, and other supporting documents.

Specialized or Essentially Skilled Workers

In this type, you should be able to demonstrate that you’re an essential employee possessing a specialized knowledge of the business which can be hardly found in the U.S. or that you’re necessary for the efficient operation of the treaty investor business. There are cases, however, that ordinarily skilled workers can qualify as essential employees for start-up or training purposes.

Benefits of an E2 Employee Visa

There may be reasons why an E2 Employee Visa may be a better fit for you than other nonimmigrant work visas. The E2 Visa can be extended or renewed indefinitely as long as the treaty country nationality meets the requirements. Moreover, there is no limit on the number of E2 visas issued per year. If you’re accompanied by your spouse, they can work in the U.S., and you’re not required to work abroad for a period of time before qualifying.

However, the E2 Visa is not a direct road towards a green card. As an E2 Visa holder, you must have a nonimmigrant intent and as such, you have the intent to depart once your visa expires.

If you think that the E2 Employee Visa is not the right one for you, you can also visit here for the other employment-based visas.

Requirements for an E2 Employee Visa

Before applying for an E2 Employee Visa, the treaty investor business must be first registered with the E-Visa Unit. After all the requirements are met by the business, as the E2 employee, you must also satisfy the following:

  • You have the same nationality as the treaty investor or the treaty investor’s business
  • You must work in an executive or supervisory position or possess essential skills to the operations of the business; and
  • You intend to leave the U.S. once your visa expires.

Requirements for the E2 Treaty Investor

If you’re a treaty investor, you must satisfy certain requirements to be able to bring employees to the U.S. under an E2 Visa USA.

You have to be a national of an E2 Treaty Country

To qualify for an E2 Treaty Investor Visa, you have to be first national of a treaty country, which is a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation or that has a qualifying international agreement with the U.S. or which has been deemed qualified by law.

You can also check through the U.S. Department of State website to check which countries are qualified for an E2 Visa.

However, for companies, the process can be a little more complex. To determine its nationality, you have to look into the ownership structure. At least 50% of the company must be owned by treaty country nationals. These owners must either maintain a nonimmigrant treaty investor status or if they’re not in the U.S., they are seeking admission to the country as nonimmigrant treaty investors.

You have to show that you intend to or will direct and develop the enterprise.

You must show that you’ll personally develop and direct the enterprise in the U.S. if the employee plans on applying for the E2 Employee Visa as an individual employee.

In the case of a company, the parent company itself and not the individual owners must show that it will develop and direct the enterprise.

You have to show that you made a substantial investment in the U.S.

You must show that you have invested or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a real and operating commercial enterprise. Aside from making sure that the funds came from legal sources, the investment must also be “at risk” and must be more than a marginal investment. Substantial may depend on the E2 business, but the investment must be sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the success of the enterprise. Meanwhile, to not be marginal means that it’s intended to provide more than a living solely for the investor and his family.

Since this is a quick rundown, you may also check the full comprehensive requirements for E2 Visa.

The application process for an E2 Employee Visa

The requirements for filing for an E2 Employee Visa are the same as that of an E2 Treaty Investor Visa, albeit with different supporting documents.

Before being granted an E2 Employee Visa, the treaty investor business must be first successfully registered with the E-Visa Unit through Form DS-160 and by submitting comprehensive supporting documents. Meanwhile, the E2 Employee Visa applicant must submit a Form DS-156E.

If you’re applying for employment in a previously qualified E2 business, then you’ll need to submit both Form DS-160 and Form DS-156E.

You are required to attend an interview and submit all the relevant supporting documents which include:

  • A copy of the confirmation page of Form DS-160
  • A copy of the appointment confirmation page, if necessary
  • A filled-up Form DS-156E
  • A copy of your passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page
  • A coloured passport taken within the last 6 months, unless your photo was uploaded at the same time as the Form DS-160.
  • Evidence of previously issued U.S. Visas, if any
  • A letter that details your job description, including the description of the treaty investor’s business, your role in the business, your qualifications for the role, and your salary plus benefits.
  • An organizational chart which defines the executive, managerial or essential role in the business
  • An updated resume
  • A copy of certificates, diplomas or professional qualifications
  • A copy of the approval letter of the registered E2 business
  • A signed and dated intent to depart once your visa expires
  • If your name has been changed, a copy of the name change by deed poll
  • A police certificate or ACROW if you have a previous history of being arrested, cautioned or convicted
  • A letter from a physician which discusses your health, if you have a medical condition which would affect your eligibility for the visa
  • Any document that can be relevant to your application

Take note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be additional documents that you might need to bring depending on your circumstances.

Meanwhile, if you’re planning to change to an E2 status in the U.S., you must file a Form I-129 along with an E supplement.

Davies & Associates has the right immigration lawyer for your E2 Visa application which can help you determine the right documents you may need depending on your circumstance and help increase your chances of getting approved.

Requirements to petition for E2 Employees

To be eligible to petition for E2 employees, the prospective employer must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen of a treaty country, which is a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation that has a qualifying international agreement with the U.S. or that has been deemed qualified by law.
  • If it’s a company or organization, have at least 50% of it owned by citizens of a treaty country. These owners must maintain a nonimmigrant treaty investor status if residing in the U.S. or if not residing in the U.S., who would be classifiable as treaty investors.

If you’re the E2 employee that will be hired, you must have the same nationality as your employer. Once you’ve fulfilled that requirement, there are two requirements that your employer must possess depending if they’re located in the U.S. or abroad.

E2 Employer located in the U.S.

If your employer is located in the U.S., they must have an E2 Treaty Investor visa. They can’t be in the U.S. under any visa classification other than E2 to be eligible to hire employees under the E2 Employee Visa.

If the U.S.-based employer is a company or organization, at least 50% of it must be owned by citizens of a single treaty country and maintain an E2 treaty investor status in the U.S. The company or organization must only have one nationality as an E2 employer unless it’s controlled equally by nationals of 2 treaty countries maintaining an E2 treaty investor status in the U.S.

E2 Employer located abroad

If the employer is an individual, they must be classifiable as an E2 treaty investor.

Meanwhile, if it’s a company or organization, at least 50% of it must be owned by citizens of a single treaty country and maintain an E2 treaty investor status in the U.S. The company or organization must only have one nationality as an E2 employer unless it’s controlled equally by nationals of 2 treaty countries maintaining an E2 treaty investor status in the U.S.

Take note that persons abroad who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may not be counted even if they also have the nationality of an E2 treaty country.

Job duty requirements for an E2 Employee

Job creation and hiring employees is one of the important parts of the E2 Visa program. The treaty investor must show that their investment has the potential to generate full-time jobs in the U.S. Although it’s not required to be immediate, the business must contribute eventually to the U.S. labor market.

If the treaty investor is planning to hire employees from their treaty country, there are certain requirements for job roles. If you’re planning to obtain an E2 Employee Visa, you must either be working in an executive or supervisory position or possess essential skills for the successful operation of the U.S. business.

Employees with Executive or Supervisory Positions

Various factors need to be taken into account in determining if you will be pursuing an executive or supervisory role in the E2 enterprise. These include the title, the duties, the salary, its position in the organizational chart, the degree of control and responsibility the applicant will have on the overall operations, the people whom you will supervise, and whether you possess any relevant experience.

Moreover, the executive or supervisory aspect of the role must be the principal and primary function and not merely incidental. This means that if your position primarily involves routine staff work and secondarily entails supervision of other employees, then you may not be classified as an executive or supervisory employee for the E2 Employee Visa.

Additionally, if you’re occupying a supervisory role, the business must be sufficiently large enough for you to supervise a key part of it. It’s not acceptable that you would only be supervising lower-level employees in the same business.

Employees with Essential Skills to the Operations

Different factors need to be taken into account when determining if you have the skills essential to the successful operation of the U.S. business. These include your experience, training, the uniqueness of your skills, the availability of U.S. workers with the same skills, the salary, your expertise, and the function of your future job in the U.S. business.

There are cases where ordinarily skilled workers may also qualify as essential employees when such employees are needed for startup or training purposes. Take note that under this type, you are essentially needed for your specialized knowledge and familiarity with overseas operations.

E2 Employee Visa Duration

The E2 Employee Visa is usually based on a reciprocity schedule with the treaty country. However, it should be noted that the applicant has the burden of establishing the duration of essentiality.

E2 Employee Visa Extension

The E2 Employee Visa can be extended indefinitely provided that the E2 enterprise continues to meet the requirements and that the employee shows their intent to return once their visa expires.

If you’re planning to extend your visa, you must apply for the extension before the expiry of your current grant of leave to maintain your E2 status.

Take note, however, that this visa classification doesn’t give you a direct path to a lawful permanent resident status. You would need to look into other visa options to transition to become a permanent resident.

E2 Employee Visa Costs

You must pay a non-refundable fee of $205 for Form DS-160 to apply for an E2 Employee Visa. This means that for every denied application, you must pay the required application fees to apply again.

Meanwhile, if you’re a treaty investor, you may also check out the complete E-2 Visa cost.

E2 Employee Visa Dependents

As an E2 Employee Visa holder, your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany you to the U.S. under your visa. They may be admitted for the same period as yours and may also be eligible for extensions. Your spouse may apply for work in the U.S. without the need for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), while your children may attend school.


Is there an educational requirement such as a bachelor’s degree before I can be eligible for an E2 Employee Visa?

No, unlike other work visas, the E2 Employee Visa doesn’t require that you possess the relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree. While this could be helpful, it’s not one of the requirements for the visa category. As long as you possess the requirements, then you can apply for an E2 Employee Visa.

How long do I have to wait once I apply for an E2 Visa?

The processing times can vary depending on the type of your application and where you apply. If the business is already registered as an E2 business, then the process can be faster and easier.

In terms of location, the processing times can also vary depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Some consular officers complete the applications within a week while some may take months. If you’re applying for a change of status while in the U.S., the USCIS has a premium processing service where your application can be expedited in 15 days rather than weeks or months.

Can the E2 Visa grant me a green card?

The E2 Visa is classified as a nonimmigrant visa, which means that although it can be renewed indefinitely, it’s still a temporary visa. If you’re an E2 Visa holder, you would need to look for other visa classifications to be able to apply for a green card.

What is the minimum investment required for an E2 Visa?

There is no given amount for it to be considered as a sufficient investment under the E2 Visa. Substantial may depend on the E2 business, but the investment must be sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the success of the enterprise.

Does the employee need to invest money in the U.S. enterprise?

No, the investment requirement is necessary only for the treaty investor applying for an E2 visa.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

Decoding 221g Administrative Processing

Pursuant to your non-immigrant visa (L, H-1B, E-2, O-1) interview, the consular officer will typically indicate whether they are approving or refusing/denying the visa.  But at times, officers may require additional information due to which they are unable to approve or deny the visa at the end of the interview.  In such instances, the officer will “refuse” the visa application placing it under “221g Administrative Processing,” requiring further scrutiny.  Generally, the applicant will receive a notice from the consular officer indicating that their case is undergoing administrative processing, and in some situations, listing further documents that may be needed.

There’s often confusion that a “Refused” visa status on the Department of State’s case portal means that the visa was denied. A Refused status in the context of administrative processing does not mean that the visa was denied or that the refusal is final; it means that the final decision is put on hold until necessary checks are completed.  A refusal may be overcome by providing further information and/or documents as may have been requested by the consulate.

Possible Reasons for Administrative Processing

  • Additional Background Checks – In certain situations, a consular officer will need to verify or confirm certain data.  For example, in H-1B cases, where the applicant will be deployed to an end-client worksite, common in the IT industry, the officer may need to contact the end client to verify assignment and worksite details or employer-employee relationship. 
  • Missing Documentation or Information – If any material information is missing or inaccurate, the officer will likely not make a decision and request further information or clarification as they deem fit. 
  • Criminal Background – If an applicant has a criminal record, the consular officer may need to conduct additional checks to determine their visa eligibility and further evidence such as police and court records may be needed.
  • Prior Visa denial – A prior visa denial does not necessarily hinder obtaining a visa in the same category (or a different one).  That said, if an applicant is unable to satisfactorily explain the change in circumstances from the last visa denial if applying in the same visa category, the consular officer may issue a 221g notice requesting further documentary evidence to clarify change in circumstances.  
  • Material Misrepresentation or Fraud Suspicion – Should an officer suspect fraud, for example, material inconsistencies in information provided in the petition and the applicant’s responses, the consular officer may want to perform additional checks or forward the application to their Fraud Prevention Unit for further investigation, which could involve employer site visits and interviews. 
  • Legal Question – In cases involving complex ownership corporate structures in the E-2 and L-1 visa context, an officer may want to seek guidance from higher authority or wish to review necessary departmental guidance and regulations. 
  • Petitioner Information Management Service (PIMS) – This generally happens when the underlying non-immigrant petition (filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has not been updated at the Kentucky Service Center, which scans the duplicate into PIMS systems for consulates to access petition data.

 Timeline and What Can be Done?

There is, unfortunately, no predictable timeline to the administrative processing phase, it can take from a few weeks to several months. 

If the consulate requests specific documents or information via their letter or email, one should ensure that the requisite items are submitted promptly as per their submission instructions. 

DOS has stated that their goal is to complete administrative processing within 60 days.  It is advisable to write to the post (via email and through their online portal) regarding the status of your case if there’s no decision within this timeframe.  If you believe that the consular officer expressed concern regarding any specific point or that you were unable to answer a material question, it might help to address that particular concern or question by way of an email to the consulate.

If the case is stuck in administrative delay for  n excessive period of time, a Mandamus lawsuit could be an option, seeking a U.S. court’s order to direct the post to adjudicate the visa application.

Once the administrative processing is complete, the consulate will issue the visa or refuse/deny it.  In cases where fraud is suspected, the consulate may return the petition to the USCIS with a recommendation for revocation. 

What to Bear in Mind

Administrative processing not only prolongs visa adjudication but to an extent, adds an element of uncertainty; hence it’s important to apply well in advance and factor in such delays.  Certain factors prompting administrative delays are beyond one’s control.  That said, to minimize chances of such delays, the applicant should be prepared to answer all questions as best they can and truthfully.  If you believe there’s anything in the petition or your background that might warrant scrutiny, ensure that you have the necessary explanation and supporting evidence if any.  And very importantly, it helps greatly to understand the requirements of your visa category and be well versed with key petition documents.  As good practice, one should carry all pertinent paperwork to the interview.

D&A attorneys routinely assist and guide visa applicants in the consular processing stage.  Please feel free to contact us if you require assistance in this regard.

This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

Investor Visa Application Price Increase

Mastering E2 Visa Interview Questions With Expert Tips

E2 Treaty Investor Visa

An E2 Investment Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows nationals of E2 treaty countries to reside in the US with their families. Each E2 investor is required to make a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise or business.

A treaty country is defined as 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. A list of E2 visa countries is available by following this link.

The E2 Treaty Investor Visa allows you to start a successful business in the U.S. and stay in the U.S. indefinitely. The E-2 Visa process for applying for this visa can be complex. After submitting your application and documents, you will need to arrange an appointment to attend an interview with the immigration officer in your local US consulate to answer any questions regarding your application and provide additional information should it be needed.

It is also possible to change status to E2 status from within the United States. As an applicant for change of status is already in the US E2 visa is not initially needed. Once a person and an interview can be avoided. However, upon leaving the US a person in visa status will need to obtain an E2 visa at a US consulate.

E 2 Visa Expectations

An E-2 Visa interview has a number of purposes. An E-2 investment Visa interview serves to not only to verify your identity but also to check any information the visa applicant has provided in their application and to ensure that they satisfy all the requirements of the visa. If you’re the applicant, you may be asked to provide additional information even though you have provided all documents or information needed.

The interview is usually conducted by a consular officer who will ask questions related to your visa application and your future stay in the U.S. The officer may start with a few general and simple questions before going into detail about your application.

If you fail to answer your interview questions or simply fail to attend the interview itself without any reasonable explanation, your visa may be refused. So it’s important to attend and prepare for your interview.

The key to success in an E2 visa interview is to thoroughly understand your business and the business plan.

Preparing for an E2 Visa Interview

There’s nothing wrong with overpreparing yourself for your visa interview, especially since it will determine if you’re qualified for an E2 Visa. To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve highlighted some of the things you need to do:

Lay the groundwork

There’s nothing wrong with overpreparing yourself for your visa interview. You  have to bring necessary documents such as a complete copy of your E2 visa application process and copies of your and your family members’ passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates. Where the US business is already operations we also suggest brining updated business bank account statements to the interview. The interviewing officer may also request additional documents
before your interview, so you should be ready to submit them.

As the requirements at each US consular post vary we strongly suggest that applicants speak with an immigration lawyer experienced with E2 visa interviews at your consulate. They will be able to give more detailed guidance as to documents typically required at interview.

Study ahead of time

The interview will focus on your business and relevant personal qualifications in great detail. You must therefore be able to discuss in your business including source of funds, type of business, industry, and financial and personnel projections. The consular officer will ask extremely detailed questions to see and make sure your business can contribute to the U.S. economy.

Keep a calm composure

There are times that the consular officer will appear unfriendly or rude when they ask you questions, but it’s important to note that their job is to ascertain that everything you have provided is true. Always maintain a calm and professional composure throughout your interview.

Be cordial

Appearing confident during your interview will be helpful but also being warm and friendly. Make sure not to be overly friendly as you still need to appear courteous and respectful as well.

Take you lawyer with you

While some consulates do not allow lawyers to be present at visa interviews others do. Singapore and Zurich are amongst those consulates who have allowed lawyers to attend E2 visa interviews with their clients in the past.

Required Documents for an E2 Visa Interview

There are only a few documents that you will need to show and provide during your interview. A majority of the documents should have been submitted together with your visa application to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

  • DS-160 confirmation;
  • A printed interview appointment confirmation
  • A copy of your current and expired passports;
  • Evidence of any previously issued U.S. visas, if any;
  • 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;
  • A copy of the fee payment receipt; and
  • Proof of your nationality or immigration status with your home country such as bank statements, leases, property deeds, etc. It’s important to take note of the active E2 countries to make sure you’re qualified.

The consular officer may ask ahead of time for additional documents that you would need to submit during your interview, so you would need to bring them as well.

E2 Visa Interview Questions and Answers

During the interview process, the immigration officer may ask you a lot of things related to you and your investment. If you’re still nervous about your upcoming interview, we’ve highlighted some of the questions that may be asked to you divided into categories:


Why are you going to the U.S.?

Answer the reason why you’re going to the U.S., highlighting that you’re travelling to manage and control the E2 business.

Have you visited the U.S. previously?

Answer with a definite yes or no. The immigration officer may also ask about the specifics of your previous visits if there are any.

Do you have any family members in the U.S.?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

Do you intend to settle permanently in the U.S.?

Since the E2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, you need to answer no to make sure that your intent to depart is proven to the officer. Since the officer may want to know if you’re going to permanently live in the U.S., you may also provide evidence of your ties to your home country such as a dependent family member.

Do you have a family in your home country?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

Do you own or lease real estate, and vehicles, or own businesses?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

What do you plan to do once your visa expires?

Answer with your plans and goals after your visa expires.


What is your current job?

Answer with your current job title in your home country.

What is your source of income?

Answer with any source of income you may have including salary, pensions, and
businesses among others.

How did you meet your business partners? (if you have)

Answer with the reason you met your business partners, including how you
started the business.

How did you get the idea for the business?

Answer how you came up with the business.

Why do you think you’ll have a successful outcome for this business?

Answer how you think your business can give you success, highlighting any
financial trajectory you have.

How will you manage the business in the U.S.?

Answer with your clear plan on how will you manage your business and your
commitment to its success. You need to prove that you will be actively
involved in the management of the E2 business.

What is your long-term plan and goals for the business

Answer with your clear goals and plans for the business, including your
long-term plan. A more detailed business plan outlines your business’
projected outcomes and strategies.

What is your experience in business management?

Answer with any experience you have in managing a business. You may also
provide a resume or curriculum vitae to outline your experience in the
relevant and particular industry of your business.

Are there business interests you are actively involved in?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

What will be your role in the company?

Since the E2 Visa allows you to control the business in the U.S., you have to
answer a role that shows you have control over the business.


Is your investment committed to an active U.S. business?

Answer with a definite yes or no. You can also provide evidence that your
investment is irrevocably committed to the U.S. enterprise.

What are the details and nature of your investment?

Answer with the details of your investment such as the business type,
location, and amount.

How will you finance the investment?

Answer with the legal source of your investment funds. You may also provide
evidence such as bank statements and tax returns.

How much have you invested in the business?

Answer with the clear investment amount that you have placed for your E2

What enterprise are you investing in the U.S.?

Answer with the type of enterprise you have invested in the U.S.

How will the U.S. economy benefit from your investment?

Answer how your investment will create jobs and contribute to the U.S.
economy, such as your plan for job creation or economic growth.

How many people are you planning to hire?

Answer with the number of people you’re hiring for your business, including
your plan on how to pay them.

Where do you think your business will be in 5 years?

Answer with your projection for your business in 5 years. As we have said,
your investment plan or business plan can give you a clear picture of the
trajectory of your investment.

As questions can vary by consulate we suggest contacting us for a list of
questions commonly asked at your consulate.

Maximising Chances of E2 Visa Approval

The E2 Visa application process can get complicated especially with its requirements. Moreover, you have to convince and satisfy the consular officer that you meet these requirements.

An E2 visa immigration lawyer can give you expert advice on how you can maximise your chances of getting approved for the visa. They can also give you an overview of what you can expect for the interview, and a list of relevant documents you can submit depending on your circumstance to cut down the processing time of E2 Visa. Additionally, they can give you advice on what to do should problems or issues arise during your interview and application process.

Take note that you can’t risk getting your E2 visa refused as it carries financial risk to your E2 business and will make you permanently ineligible for the ESTA waiver program.. If you’re not approved, you will  need to hire another person to oversee the business operations.

Us Immigration Attorney

E2 Visa vs EB5 Visa: Choosing the Right Investment Route

About the E2 Visa

An E2 Business Visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows a foreign national of a country which maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation or a qualifying international agreement with the U.S., or that has been deemed qualified by legislation to go to the U.S. after investing substantial investment funds in a U.S. business, franchise business, or by creating a new business.

About the EB5 Visa

An EB5 Visa, on the other hand, offers permanent residency to the principal investor in exchange for a minimum investment in a qualifying project or business in the U.S.


Immigrant vs Nonimmigrant

One of the main differences between an E2 Visa and an EB-5 Visa is that the E2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa while the EB-5 Visa is an immigrant visa. Nonimmigrant Visas are temporary visas and don’t directly lead to a green card, while immigrant visas give permanent resident status in the U.S.

This means that under the EB-5 program, the investor is eligible to acquire a green card, which is the evidence of permanent residency.

If you’re an E2 Visa applicant or holder, you need to prove your intent to depart the US once your visa status ends.

Minimum Investment Amount

The other main difference between an E2 Visa and an EB-5 Visa is the minimum investment amount. Foreign investors under the EB-5 program are required to invest a minimum of USD 800, 000 for projects in a targeted employment area (TEA) or USD 1,050,000 for business investment not located in a TEA. A targeted employment area is considered an area where there’s high unemployment or is considered a rural area.

Meanwhile, the E2 Visa doesn’t have a set minimum investment amount. It requires the foreign investment to a US business to be a substantial amount, but there’s no minimum amount that’s considered substantial. Instead, substantiality is determined by the nature and the requirements of the business.

If the business fails, both the E2 investor and EB5 conditional resident lose their status.

Place of Filing

Petitions for an EB-5 Visa are approved and filed before the USCIS before the investor can apply for the immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate or apply to adjust status in the U.S. if already in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant status. Meanwhile, petitions for an E2 Visa are filed directly at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate which can be located in: 1) the investor’s country of birth, 2) the country of citizenship, or 3) a U.S. Consulate in a country of residence or anywhere in the world that’s willing to take the case. Due to this, the interview is critical for E2 Visa petitions. Filing a change of status to E-2 is also possible if the applicant is already in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant status.

Nationality Requirement

The E2 Treaty Investor Visa requires that foreign nationals must possess the nationality of the country which maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation which maintains a qualifying international agreement with the U.S., or which has been deemed qualified by legislation.

This doesn’t mean, however, that nationals from countries without an E2 investment treaty with the U.S. are no longer eligible. They can still qualify in two ways: 1) by being a citizen of the treaty country, or 2) by being married to a citizen of a treaty country.

Meanwhile, the EB-5 Visa doesn’t have a nationality requirement.

Job Creation Requirement

The EB-5 program requires the investor to create 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers, which must be done before they receive their permanent green card.

The E-2 Visa doesn’t have the same requirement. Instead, the investor must show that the business enterprise is not “marginal”. This means that the business has the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide for the minimal living of the investor and their family.

Source of Funds

Both the E2 and EB-5 Investment Visas require that the investor show their investment funds were sourced from legal or lawful means. It may be sourced through employment, the sale of property, a gift, or a loan among others.

Processing Timeline

The processing time for both the E2 and the EB-5 Visa varies greatly. The process of E2 Visa is much quicker and easier. It can be obtained either through a: 1) Change of Status or 2) Visa Processing. It can take for an E2 Visa to be processed in 4

Meanwhile, the process of an EB5 Visa</a > is very long and has multiple steps. After the processing of Form I-526, it requires: 1) Adjustment of Status or 2) Visa Processing. After this, the investor receives a 2-year conditional green card which they would then remove conditions through Form I-829 3 months before it expires.

The USCIS releases a monthly visa bulletin for the EB-5 Visa priority date. According to the recent October 2023 USCIS Visa Bulletin, the priority date for all countries is ‘Current’ except for China and India, which means that there is no backlog and no retrogression. The application may be filed regardless of the investor’s priority date.

Moreover, in recent years, there have been more people filing for an EB5 visa which creates backlogs and increases wait times due to the quota.

Visa Cap

There are only 10,000 EB5 Visas that are available each year and from this 10,000, 3,000 is set for investors who invest in a commercial enterprise that will create jobs in a TEA. Compared to this, the E2 Visa doesn’t have an annual limit or cap on visas issued per year.

Work Authorization

Both visas allow the investor to work in the U.S., however, there is a main difference in the extent to which they can work. Under the E2 Visa, they are only allowed to work for the E2 business. Meanwhile, under the EB-5 Visa, they are allowed to work for any company.


Another main difference is that since EB-5 Visa holders obtain green cards, they are subject to the U.S. tax on worldwide income. Meanwhile, E2 Visa holders can avoid tax on their worldwide income by reducing the days they spend in the U.S.

Ownership of Business

The E2 Visa requires that the foreign investor owns at least 50% of the E2 business to qualify. On the other hand, EB-5 Visa investors are not required to own any specific percentage of the business.

Time Spent in the U.S.

Since the EB5 Visa confers lawful permanent residence, the investor must establish ties to the U.S. and not abandon the permanent residency. In general, a U.S permanent resident should not spend more than 6 months outside the U.S. for every trip. If there is a need to stay outside the U.S. for more than one year, it is recommended to apply for a re-entry permit before leaving to avoid abandonment of permanent resident status.

Dependent Family members

For both visas, their dependent family members such as their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany them to the U.S.

Under the EB5 Visa, the investor’s spouse can work under their conditional green card for any employer they desire.

As for the E2 Visa, the investor’s spouse is no longer required to show an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) after the USCIS updated its policy manual. They’re already considered employment authorized based on their E-2 derivative status.

Both visas also allow the investor’s unmarried children under the age of 21 to attend school.

Pursuing Other Opportunities

As we have said, E2 investors must work for the same company for which their temporary visa was issued. Compared to this, EB5 investors can attend school, work anywhere, or enjoy their retirement among others as long as they have their conditional green cards or they’re at least a limited partner or director of the enterprise they invested in.

Benefits of Obtaining a Green Card

As it stands, the main difference between an E-2 Visa and an EB-5 Visa is that the latter confers a green card to the qualified investor. So you might be asking, what are the benefits of obtaining an investment green card?

Here are some of the benefits once you have obtained a green card:

  • You become a permanent resident of the U.S;
  • Your dependent family members such as your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can also obtain a green card;
  • You can do unlimited or multiple business in the U.S;
  • You can travel freely anywhere in the world; and
  • You have access to the quality of life and benefits of the U.S. economy.


While both the E2 and EB-5 Visa are considered investment visas, they still have stark differences which you must know and understand as a different visa may apply depending on your case or circumstances. Moreover, both visas have different eligibility requirements, which would affect the relevant documents and answers to the interview you would need to prepare.

If you’re still unsure which visa to apply for, Davies & Associates and its team of experienced immigration lawyers can help you determine the
perfect visa for your current goals and needs.

US Visa Application

E2 Visa Dual Intent: Misconception or Truth?


The United States has always been known as the land of the free and the land of opportunity. It is considered the frontrunner in the world in terms of economic growth, and that’s why a lot of people are trying to gain permanent residency in the ‘Land of the Free’.

While there are several paths to attain permanent residency, there are challenges and obstacles like long processing times, quota limitations, retrogression, among others. In this regard, it makes sense to consider nonimmigrant visa options that will allow you to enter the U.S. sooner to pursue your business or employment goals and at the same time explore options for permanent residency. The E-2 visa is one of the non-immigrant visa classification that is not subject to quota limitations, retrogression or excessively long processing times. In fact, the E-2 application does not need to be filed and approved by USCIS. The applicant files the application directly with the Embassy or Consulate.

Is E2 Visa Dual Intent: We Will Explain Why It Isn’t

There are non-immigrant visas which allow foreign nationals to be temporarily and lawfully present in the U.S. but still let them retain their right to become a legal permanent resident. However, it is a misconception to categorise an E2 visa as a dual intent visa. Generally, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will ask treaty investors to simply sign a declaration that they plan to return to their home country once their visa expires.

Moreover, the consular officers are instructed by the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) that an applicant must prove that they intend to depart the U.S. once their visa expires and not to stay to adjust status or otherwise remain in the country.

Please take note that consular processing is different from filing a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Due process doesn’t exist in consular processing, and petitions may be outright denied for the existence of immigrant intent. If you have an outstanding or previously approved immigrant petition, you should take note that immigrant intent is assessed when you renew or enter the U.S. and these petitions can be used as an indication of immigrant intent.

If you have a pending immigrant visa petition, the consular officer may ask you about it during your E2 interview and would consider this for the approval of your visa. They may still approve your petition, however, if you sufficiently prove that you’re not planning to adjust your status in the U.S.

What is an E-2 Visa?

An E-2 Work Visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows nationals from E-2 treaty countries to make a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise or business. The validity of the E-2 visa depends on reciprocity schedule. For most countries, the reciprocity schedule is 5 years. When one enters on a valid E-2 visa, he or she will be given a 2-year period of authorized stay. Since it is a nonimmigrant visa, the applicant must overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. He or she must demonstrate ties to the home country.

Proving Non-Immigrant Intent

All applicants for a nonimmigrant visa are presumed to intend to immigrate, which means that they must demonstrate that they do not intend to immigrate to the U.S. to get the visa. Most applicants find it hard to qualify for a non-immigrant status, such as a visitor visa, if there is any indication of intent to seek permanent residence in the U.S. 

Before a visa is issued, foreign nationals must prove to a consular officer that they meet the standards required by the visa they are applying for. The consular officers are allowed to presume that every applicant for admission intends to stay in the U.S. for a permanent time and the goal of the applicant is to overcome that presumption. The burden is on the applicant to convince the consular officer that he or she will depart once the trip has concluded or once your visa has expired. In making the decision, the consular officer will consider family, social and economic ties to the home country. 

Requirements to qualify for E-2 visa

  • You have to be a national of an E-2 treaty country to obtain an E-2 Visa.
  • You have to make an irrevocable investment.
  • Your E-2 company must be currently operational or at least imminently operational.
  • Your investment must be substantial.
  • Your E-2 company must be more than a marginal or one solely for earning a living.
  • You must be able to develop and direct the Company.
  • You must intend to depart the United States when your E-2 status terminates.

Ways to Qualify for E-2 Visa

There are different ways to qualify for E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

Establish and operate your own start-up company.

If you are establishing your own start up company,  you need to set up the company. You can choose to set up your E-2 business as an LLC or corporation. You must own and control at least 50% of the E-2 company. You will need to take the necessary steps to make the company operational or at least imminently operational. You need to open a bank account for your company and make the necessary business expenditures (rental payments for office space, purchase of equipment, furniture or inventory, marketing fees, etc).  You must spend a significant portion of your funds on the initial business expenses and place the unspent funds in an escrow account for future business expenses of the company. To qualify for E-2 visa, you must put your funds be at risk by irrevocably committing them to the E-2 enterprise.

Buy and continue to operate an existing business.

If you are buying an existing business, you must already have a signed purchase agreement and paid the purchase price. If the seller agrees, you can opt to put the purchase price in an escrow account subject to release to the seller upon approval of your E-2 application.

Buy and operate a franchise.

If you intend to operate a franchise, you must already already signed the franchise agreement and paid the fees. If the franchisor agrees, you can also put the franchise and other related fees in an escrow account subject to release to the seller upon approval of your E-2 application.

Aside from qualifying as an E-2 Treaty Investor, you may also be eligible to be an E-2 Treaty Employee. If you know an individual (or entity) from an E-2 treaty country  and you have the same nationality, you may be classified as an E-2 Treaty Employee if you will occupy an executive, supervisory or specialized employee position.

E-2 Visa Consular Application Process

Before applying for an E-2 Visa, you need to make sure that it’s the best option for your immigration goals. You can always consult with an immigration attorney to determine if an E-2 Visa is perfect for your situation and circumstances.

Every Embassy or Consulate has their own specific guidelines in submitting an E-2 visa application. You have to make sure that you are following the guidelines to avoid potential delays. An E-2 application requires the submission of an online DS-160 application and an E-2 application package with all the supporting documentation. The Embassy or Consulate usually reviews the application before scheduling an interview. The review and processing times at every Embassy or Consulate vary. It could take 2 to 4 weeks or sometimes 2 to 4 months depending on the caseload of the Embassy or Consulate.

E-2 Visa Consular Processing Costs

  • Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) – $315
  • Visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees depending on your home country

Our guide on the cost of E-2 visa gives you more information on the investment you must prepare to avail of an E-2 visa.

Change of Status to E-2 Process

If you are currently in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa like B-1/B-2, you may be eligible to apply to change status to E-2 by filing a petition with USCIS. You will have to demonstrate that you meet each and every requirement for E-2 classification. If approved, you will get a new I-94 with an extension of additional two years of authorized stay in the U.S. to develop and direct your E-2 company.

E-2 Change of Status Costs

  • Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) filing fee – $460
  • Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing) filing fee – $2,500 (optional)

Is it possible to transition to become a permanent resident from E-2 status?

While the E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, there are still ways to pursue permanent residency. 

  1. You may transition from E-2 to EB-5 classification when you meet the investment and employment creation requirements.
  2. You or your spouse may qualify for other employment-based immigrant petition. 
  3. You may qualify for a family-based petition as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.

If I have a pending immigrant petition, do I still qualify for E-2 visa?

A pending immigrant petition does not automatically disqualify you for E-2 nonimmigrant visa. You just need to prove that you have no plans of permanently immigrating at the time of the filing of your application. You have to be ready to prove your ties to your home country.

What is a dual intent doctrine in U.S. immigration law?

U.S. visas are either classified as immigrant and nonimmigrant. In general, to qualify for nonimmigrant visa, one has to prove that he or she has no intention to permanently immigrate to the U.S. However, based on the dual intent doctrine, certain nonimmigrant visa holders are allowed to be present temporarily in the U.S. with the intention of possibly immigrating to the U.S.

Types of Dual Intent Visa

As we have said, a dual intent visa allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. as a nonimmigrant but retains the option to apply for permanent residence in the future. Some visas inherently obtain the possibility that the individual can become a permanent resident in the U.S.

H-1B Visa

The H-1B Visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa that allows a foreign national to work in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation can include jobs in the sciences, engineering, technology, math, and medicine. Take note that an employer must go through a labor certification process before hiring a foreigner for a specific job occupation. Due to the huge demand for this visa, U.S. employers must register for a lottery unless they are considered exempt. This visa has an initial 3-year term that can be extended for a maximum of 6 years.

H-1B visa holders are eligible to bring their spouse and children below 21 to the U.S. They are also eligible to adjust status or apply for immigrant visa based on an approved petition for permanent residency for the H-1B visa holder.

L-1 Visa

The L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows a manager or executive of a foreign company to be transferred to a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch in the U.S. to perform managerial or executive functions.

L-1 visa holders may be accompanied by spouse and children below 21 on L-2 visas. They are also eligible to adjust status or apply for immigrant visa at an Embassy or Consulate based on an approved employment based petition for the L-1 visa holder.

K-1 Visa

A K-1 Visa is also a dual intent visa used by a foreign fiancé who enters the U.S. and marries a U.S. citizen. K-1 Visa applicants enter the country as nonimmigrants but it is clear that they have the intent to marry a U.S. citizen and generally, immigrate to the U.S. The holder of this visa must be married within 90 days from their arrival in the U.S. They are also not allowed to work legally in the U.S., so they need to apply for a work permit or adjustment of status after their marriage to work legally.

K-2 Visa

Dual intent visas like K-2 Visa, on the other hand, allows unmarried children under the age of 21 years of K-1 Visa holders to enter the U.S. It is approved at the same time as that of their parent’s K-1 Visa, and should be submitted not later than a year after their parent’s K-1 Visa was issued.

K-3 Visa

Dual intent visas like K-3 Visa is used by the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the country while waiting for their pending Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) filed by their U.S. citizen spouse listing them as a beneficiary. They’re allowed to work in the U.S. without securing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

K-4 Visa

Meanwhile, the K-4 visa enables unmarried children under the age of 21 years of a K-3 Visa holder to enter the U.S. K-4 Visa holders are eligible to apply for work in the U.S., and their visa automatically expires as soon as they turn 21 years old.

Green Card Application

Generally, the first stage in applying for permanent residence in the U.S. starts with your sponsor, such as qualifying U.S. lawful permanent residents or organizations, to file an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. If you are currently in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant status, you may be able to adjust status to become a permanent resident within the U.S. Otherwise, you will have to go through consular processing to obtain your visa. It should be noted that there are a lot of factors that determine your eligibility to adjust status or apply for an immigrant visa at an Embassy or Consulate. You have to make sure that you speak with a U.S. immigration attorney to be guided on the requirements and the process.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

UK Visa Immigration

E2 Visa for UK nationals

Are you a UK national looking to start a business in the United States? If so, you may be eligible for an E2 visa. In this article, we will discuss the E2 visa for UK nationals, its requirements, and how to apply for it.

What is an E2 Visa?

An E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to enter and work in the United States based on a substantial investment in a US business. This visa is only available to citizens of countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States, and the United Kingdom is one of them.

Benefits of an E2 Visa

The E2 visa offers several benefits to UK nationals looking to start a business in the US. These include:

  • The ability to come in and out of the U.S. on the valid E-2 visa for 5 years to develop and direct your E-2 company.
  • The ability live and work in the US for a full two-year period for every entry on the valid visa, with the option to renew the visa indefinitely.
  • The ability to bring dependents, including spouses and unmarried children under 21, to the US.
  • No minimum education or language requirements.
  • No annual quota or cap on the number of E2 visas issued, which means that there is no significant wait time to obtain the E-2 visa as compared to other visa classifications.

Requirements for UK Nationals

To be eligible for an E2 visa, UK nationals must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen AND an ongoing resident* of the United Kingdom
  • Have invested or be in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business
  • Have at least 50% ownership of the US business
  • Be seeking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the US business
  • The investment must be in an active and operating business, not a passive investment such as real estate or stocks
  • The investment must be at risk, meaning there is a risk of losing the investment if the business fails
  • The investment must be substantial, meaning it must be enough to ensure the success of the business
  • The business must have the potential to create job opportunities for US workers
  • The business must be a legitimate enterprise, not a marginal one

*The treaty with the UK specifically requires the principal applicant to prove ongoing residency in the U.K. Examples of the appropriate evidence which must be issued within the last 6 months maximum are a recent copy of a pay slips/stubs or proof of payment for Inland Revenue taxes in the UK. Other examples are proof ofpayment of local utilities bills such as gas, water, electric, local council taxes; a current lease or mortgage payment should be accompanied by other proof such as bank statements for a current account reflecting local direct debit charges or transactions are all acceptable proof of domicile.

Investment Amount

The investment amount required for an E2 visa varies depending on the type of business and its location. However, the investment must be substantial and sufficient to ensure the success of the business. Generally, the investment amount should be at least $100,000, but it can be lower for certain businesses. The investment can be made in a start-up company, an existing/operating company or a franchise.

Ownership Percentage

To qualify for an E2 visa, UK nationals must have at least 50% ownership of the US business. This means that they must have a controlling interest in the business and have the power to make decisions and direct the operations of the business.

Developing and Directing the Business

UK nationals must be seeking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the US business. This means that they must have a key role in the business and be actively involved in its day-to-day operations. They must also have the necessary skills and experience to successfully run the business.

Job Creation

One of the requirements for an E2 visa is that the business must have the potential to create job opportunities for US workers. While there is no specific number of jobs that must be created, the business must have the capacity to generate enough revenue to support the creation of jobs.

Marginal Enterprises

A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and their family. To qualify for an E2 visa, the business must not be a marginal one.

How to Apply for an E2 Visa

To apply for an E2 visa, UK nationals must follow these steps:

1. Complete the online non-immigrant visa application (Form DS-160)

2. Pay the visa application fee

3. Gather the required documents and submit the application package based on the Embassy guidelines. Some required documents are the following:

  • A valid passport
  • A business plan outlining the investment and business operations
  • Proof of investment, such as bank statements or loan agreements
  • Proof of ownership, such as stock certificates or partnership agreements
  • Evidence of the business’s potential to create jobs, such as a business plan or financial projections
  • Evidence of the business’s legitimacy, such as business licenses or tax returns
  • Evidence of the investor’s qualifications and experience, such as resumes or educational certificates

4. Schedule an interview at the US Embassy in London

5. Attend the visa interview and answer the questions from the visa officer

6. If approved, the visa will be issued and the investor can enter the US to develop and direct the business


The E2 visa is an excellent option for UK nationals looking to start a business in the United States. It should be noted that you may also buy an operating business or acquire a franchise. It offers several benefits, making it accessible to a wide range of investors. By meeting the requirements and following the application process, UK nationals can successfully obtain an E2 visa and start their business in the US.

This article has been written by Alex Jovy, Head of Business Development Davies & Associates, London Office.

Alex Jovy  heads sales & business development in the UK and Europe. Alex has a long history of senior management roles in a wide range of sectors, from sustainability to film and has worked in a variety of sales, marketing and business development roles in a range of law and professional services firms. Alex has a passion for film and was nominated for an Academy Award. He is a published author with a successful historical fiction book about Cyrus the Great.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.