E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)

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The E-2 visa is a special non-immigrant visa available to nationals of treaty countries entering the United States to do the following:

  • Develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital;
  • Invest substantially in an already-established US enterprise;
  • Develop and direct investments from the treaty country.

The E-2 visa qualifying investment should create job opportunities for US workers. While it is preferable to have the US workers hired at the time of application for the treaty investor E-2 visa, reasonably achievable projections of jobs that will be created in the future is often sufficient.

There is no specific dollar amount that must be invested to meet the substantial amount requirement, but the investment must meet one of two tests:

  • The E-2 visa qualifying investment amount must represent a significant proportion of the total value of the business enterprise; or
  • The E-2 visa qualifying investment amount must be sufficient to establish a profitable and viable business of the type contemplated.

Family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21) of the principal Treaty Investor E-2 visa holder may obtain derivative status that allows them to live, work and attend school in the US.

Treaty Investor E-2 visas are generally issued for three years, although some consulates issue the first E-2 visa for two years. Extensions are generally unlimited as long as the investment continues, and are often reissued for five additional years at a time.

Applicants in the E-2 visa category must have extensive documentation detailing the business plan, the amount of the investment, the nature of the capital, and calculation of jobs to be created. A successful E-2 visa application will also demonstrate how the proposed enterprise will benefit the United States.

Treaty Investor (E-2 Visa) v. Business Expansion (L-1A Visa)

It is often the case that one may qualify as either a Treaty Investor (E-2 visa) or Business Expansionist (L-1A visa). The question then arises as to which of the two visas is the most advantageous. Following is our analysis of this question:

The Business Expansion L-1A visa has the following distinct advantages:

  • One does not have to invest a specific amount of cash of L-1A visa approval;
  • Once the case is presented, one can have approval in as little as 15 days;
  • Adjudication of the L-1A visa case takes place in the US, rather than at the relevant US Embassy or Consulate (which can be quite tough on investor cases);
  • Eligibility for Priority Permanent Residency in the US after 1 year.

In contrast, as explained above, the Treaty Investor E-2 visa requires the investment of a “substantial” amount of money, in advance of approval, and usually requires adjudication at a US Embassy or Consulate, which can take several weeks. Also, although one may plan to remain in the US for only a few years, one may change ones mind about this at some point in the future; the Treaty Investor E-2 visa does not lead to Permanent Residency regardless of the amount of time one spends in the US.

Legal Services available for the Investor seeking E-2 Visa Status

In addition to representing international investors and expansionists before the US government, Ortega-Medina & Associates is available as applicable to review the financials of a target company for E2 visa purposes, examine escrow documentation to ensure compliance with the relevant E2 regulations, form a US-based entity for E2 registration purposes, obtain a Federal Employer ID number, offer guidance in locating a temporary or permanent business address for the company (including telephone and fax number), and offer feedback regarding local business licenses.

Ortega-Medina & Associates has over ten years experience dealing with similar business visa cases. We have experienced success in many cases that were considered hopeless by other law firms. If we decide to take on a case, it is because we feel it stands a good chance of succeeding. If your E-2 visa is denied, for any reason other than a determination that you are inadmissible for reasons of criminality or fraud, we will appeal the denial at no additional cost to you and/or attempt to reprocess your case in an alternative visa category. Please contact us so that we can help you determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for the E-2 visa category.