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Immigration & Franchise

Since 2009



The E-2 Visa allows a national of a treaty country (Click HERE to see if your country qualifies as an E-2 Treaty Country) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business either as a start-up business or purchasing an existing business.

What is the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a national or citizen of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. It allows an individual to live and work in the United States under the employment of the company for which the E2 visa was granted. Spouses of E-2 beneficiaries are also eligible for work authorization. However, they are not limited to their spouse’s employment.

Franchises Are Excellent E-2 Visa Business Options

Watch our How-To Videos: What is an E-2 Visa? and Why is a Franchise a Good E-2 Investment?

How to Qualify for an E-2 Visa

To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;

  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States; and

  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices

How Long Can I Stay in the United States on An E-2 Visa?

Investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay in, or changes of status to, E-2 classification may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-2 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

An E-2 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted, if determined admissible by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer, an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States.

Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees

Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty investor or employee. These family members may seek E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. The spouse of the E-2 Treaty Investor may also apply to work in the U.S. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work.

What Is a Substantial Amount of Capital in an E-2 Visa Investment?

A substantial amount of capital is:

Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one

Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor's financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise

Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

Where to apply for the E-2 Investor Visa?

If an applicant of an E-2 classification is lawfully admitted into the United States under a visa issued on their passport of qualifying nationality, and are in lawful status (have not overstayed or violated their nonimmigrant status), the applicant can seek a change of status by filing the I-129 petition.
If an applicant or beneficiary of the E-2 classification is abroad, or is not eligible to change status within the United States, the applicant can seek an E-2 visa at the corresponding US consulate or embassy abroad. Please note, each US consulate has different rules or requirements relating to the E-2 visa, this can include page limits, specific evidence requirements, and different procedural rules for filing.

The E-2 Investment Must Be in a Bona Fide Enterprise:

A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking that produces services or goods for profit. It can refer to a start-up business that when running would meet the same criteria as an active operation. The business must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.

Benefits of the E-2 classification

  • The E2 visa holder can legally work and reside in U.S.
  • Holder can seek a change of status within the United States or obtain one through consular processing, if the requirements above are met.
  • Many treaties allow applicants to seek extensions indefinitely if requirements are maintained.  Please note, classification periods are different based on country and applicable treaty.
  • The spouse of the E-2 primary is eligible for work authorization. Children unmarried and under the age of 21 can accompany the beneficiary. However, they are not eligible for work authorization.
  • The E-2 holder could be eligible for permanent residence (green card) through an EB1 visa petition, under specific circumstances if the company in the U.S. is owned by a foreign entity, and the beneficiary was employed abroad in an executive or managerial capacity prior to admission to the United States.
  • Eligible for premium processing for faster adjudication (change of status applications only).




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