Visa and Greencards > Employment > E-2 Investor Visa
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an E-2 visa?
An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant, temporary US visa that requires applicants to invest either in an existing business in the United States or to start a new business. To qualify, an applicant must be a citizen of a country that the US has an active trade treaty with the United States.
E-2 visas are available for the initial investor in the United States, as well as any executive, managerial or essential workers with the same citizenship as the enterprise in the United States.
What are the benefits of an E-2 visa?
E-2 visas are one of the most flexible US visa types. A few benefits are:
- They are self-sponsored. You do not need an employer to sponsor you for this visa.
- They are indefinitely renewable and there is no maximum time limit you may hold E-2 status.
- If your spouse plans to travel with you, they will automatically have work authorization in the US.
- They are processed much more quickly than the majority of other US work visas. In Germany, these visas are processed in around 3 months. Other consulates can process E-2 visas in a matter of weeks.
Citizens of which countries can apply for E-2 visas?
Currently, citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply for E-2 visas:
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the US State Department list of current treaty countries, which is available here.
How do you apply for an E-2 visa?
The majority of E-2 visa applicants apply for their visas directly with their local US Consulate. In Germany, the US Consulate in Frankfurt is responsible for processing all E-2 visa applications.
If you are already in the United States, and applying for your E-2 visa as a Change of Status, you can submit your application directly to USCIS.
How long does it take to get an E-2 visa?
If you apply for your E-2 visa at a US Consulate, applications are usually processed within 2 months. In Germany, E-2 visas are usually processed within 3 months of filing.
If you apply for your E-2 visa with USCIS as a Change of Status, these applications are taking between 3 and 5 months to be adjudicated by the California Service Centeras of November 2021. For updated USCIS processing times, please click here.
How much do you need to invest for an E-2 visa?
There is no clear legal guideline about required investment amount. Instead, the law requires that the investment be “substantial.” The substantiality of an investment depends on the type of business invested in. Generally, the smaller the business, the larger the investment must be. For larger businesses, oftentimes E-2 visas will be approved with a smaller investment amount. As a general principle, we recommend investing at least $50,000, but again, this is business-dependent.
This is a crucial question to discuss with an experienced immigration attorney, as this is the crux of an E-2 visa application. To schedule a consultation with Adomat Immigration, please click here.
What type of business is best for an E-2 visa?
There is no type of business that is “best” for an E-2 visa! So long as the business is lawful and will hire US workers in the future, it will satisfy the requirements for an E-2 visa.
Can an E-2 visa lead to a green card?
E-2 visa holders do not have a direct path to permanent residency. As part of E-2 visa applications, applicants must confirm their intent to return to their home country upon expiration of their E-2 visa.
However, E-2 visa holders may qualify for an EB-1A Extraordinary Ability green card or a EB-2 National Interest Waiver green card, depending on the details of their business and their experience.
Can you work in the US with an E-2 visa?
Yes! As an E-2 investor, you will be permitted to work for your sponsoring E-2 company. E-2 visa holders can be the investor, executives, managers or essential employees.
Can I buy a house in the US to get an E-2 visa?
No. To qualify for an E-2 visa, the investor must invest in an active US enterprise. Real estate is considered a passive investment, and thus does not qualify.
If I receive an E-2 visa, can my spouse and children also come to the United States?
Yes! The spouses and children under age 21 of E-2 visa holders are also able to apply for E-2 visas that will allow them to accompany the visa holder in the US.
The family members of E-2 visa holders may apply for their visas at the same time as the E-2 investor or after the E-2 investor has received their visa stamp.
If I receive an E-2 visa, will my spouse be able to work in the US?
Yes! Under new USCIS policy issued in November 2021, E-2 spouses will automatically have work authorization upon arriving in the US. E-2 spouses will not be required to apply for a separate work authorization document (EAD).
Can my dependent children receive work permits while in E-2 status?
No, unfortunately only E-2 spouses are eligible for work authorization.