The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, available to countries from nations which have bilateral investment, commerce, and navigation treaties with the United States. Individuals who qualify will have made a substantial investment in a United States company, and wish to come to the U.S. to develop and direct the business operations of that enterprise. You may check the list of qualifying countries through the USCIS.
Although an E-2 visa is generally not considerd to be a path to permanent residency, in some circumstances, the holder of an E-2 visa may qualify to apply for permanent residency in the United States.[FN1]
Alien investors who meet the following requirements may qualify for an E-2 visa:
It may benefit applicants for an E-2 visa to demonstrate that their investments will result in the creation of jobs within the United States.
There is no fixed amount of investment necessary to qualify for an E-2 visa, although as a general rule of thumb some immigration lawyers suggest that a minimum investment of $25,000 is necessary. The investment must amount to not less than fifty percent ownership in an enterprise that generates active income (as opposed to "passive income", such as that generated from rental property).
Ordinarily, the investment will be made by the E-2 applicant. There may, however, be circumstances in which an E-2 visa will be issued to an employee of a foreign company that qualifies as a treaty investor, provided the employee comes the United States in an executive or supervisory capacity to direct the enterprise or possess a specialized skill required by the enterprise.
An E-2 visa is issue for a two year period, and is renewable for an indefinite period as long as the visa holder continues in the same capacity with the business, and the business is actively engaged in trade or services.
The spouse and unmarried minor children of an E-2 visa holder will also qualify for E-2 visas. These visas, however, will not automatically grant the spouse and children the right to work in the United States.