The E2 Investor Visa

E2 visas may only be applied for by people or companies from the following countries:

Argentina China (ROC) Georgia Kyrgyzstan Pakistan Switzerland
Armenia Colombia Germany Latvia Panama Thailand
Australia Congo Grenada Liberia Philippines Togo
Austria Costa Rica Honduras Luxembourg Poland Trinidad and Tobago
Bangladesh The Czech Republic Iran Mexico Romania Tunisia
Belarus Ecuador Ireland Morocco Senegal Turkey
Belgium Egypt Italy Moldovia The Slovak Republic The Ukraine
Bosnia-Herzegovina Estonia Jamaica Mongolia Spain United Kingdom
Bulgaria Ethiopia Japan Netherlands Sri Lanka Uzbekistan
Cameroon Finland Kazakhstan Norway Suriname Yugoslavia
Canada France Korea Oman Sweden

Unratified but signed treaties exist with: Albania, Azerbaijan, Haiti, Jordan, Nicaragua, and Russia.

Investors from qualifying countries may apply for an E2 visa in order to ‘Direct and Develop’ their investment. They may also apply for E2 visas for key managerial and specialist employees.

In contrast to the L1 visa, there is no requirement that such employees have worked for the Investor for at least one year in the last three, nor is it necessary for the Investor to continue operations outside the USA while the Investor or his/her employees are in the USA.

E2 visa registration applications should demonstrate that:

  1. There has been and will be a substantial capital investment in the US. There is no specific cash threshold defined, but $40,000 is probably an absolute minimum, and any investment below $100,000 would need a very strong case to support it.
  2. Risk Capital has been Committed; the investment must entail some risk to the investor (it may not be all in the form of unguaranteed credit). At a minimum, there must be a long-term lease of an office in the US
  3. The investor will control his/her investment. In this respect control is considered to entail owning over 50% of the US enterprise.
  4. The cash invested is not marginal when compared to the total investment. In general, unless it is common to the industry to have higher amounts of ‘leveraging’ (such as in the property industry), 51% of the investment should be in the form of cash equity. Where debt is secured against other assets of the investor, it is considered to be ‘at risk’, and may be considered as part of the equity invested.
  5. The enterprise is (or will be) active. In order to be ‘Directing and Developing’ their investment, the investor will require an enterprise that involves active management.
  6. US workers are (or will be) employed. The treaties envisage more than just creating a job for the principal investor, but there is no requirement to employ a particular number of US citizens. Obviously, employment of large numbers of US citizens would be viewed very favorably.
  7. The enterprise, or its principal investor, has a past history of successful trading.
  8. That the ‘investor’ has sufficient acumen to direct and develop the investment enterprise.
  9. That the principal investor, and any other E2 staff, are able and willing to leave the US upon termination of their E2 status.