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What is an E-2 Visa? How Can I Obtain One?

The E-2 nonimmigrant visa classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted into the United States because he or she is investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.  Certain employees of such people, or of a qualifying organization, may also qualify for this type of visa. If you’re in Kentucky we may be able to help you obtain an E-2 visa.

To qualify you must:

  • Be a national of a country that’s a party to a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce or Navigation or its equivalent with the United States (a list of countries is available on this webpage).
  • Have invested, or are investing, a substantial amount of money in a bona fide U.S. enterprise (an active commercial or entrepreneurial business producing services or goods for profit, not an idle investment created in hopes of future, potential increase in value), not a marginal enterprise (one that won’t provide more than enough income for a minimal living standard for you and your family or make a significant economic contribution).
  • Show you control the enterprise by owning at least half of it or show you have operational control through a management position or other corporate device.

The required investment needs to be the placing of capital (which can be funds or other assets) at risk in the business sense, with the goal of earning a profit.  The person must risk partial or total loss if the investment fails.  The investor must also show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.

The investment would be considered “substantial” if it’s:

  • “Substantial” relative to the total cost of purchasing an established enterprise or creating a new one,
  • Enough to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise,
  • Large enough to support the likelihood the investor will be successful in developing and directing the enterprise, and
  • As the cost of the enterprise goes down, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be.

The spouse of an E-2 nonimmigrant would be authorized to work in the U.S. upon application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the receipt of an employment authorization document (or EAD).

To come under the E-2 classification, the employee of an investor must:

  • Be of the same nationality as the principal alien employer,
  • Meet the legal definition of “employee” under relevant law, and
  • Be involved in duties as an executive or supervisor, or if in another capacity, have special qualifications.

Treaty investors and employees who qualify for this visa classification are allowed an initial stay of up to two years.  They can request an extension of stay in periods of up to two years, and there is no limit to the number of extensions that could be granted.  All E-2 nonimmigrants must maintain an intention to leave the country when their visa expires or is terminated.

If you live in Kentucky and have any questions about an E-2 visa or think it might be right for you and your business, contact our office so we can discuss the requirements, whether you might qualify and how we can help you through the visa process.