E-2 Investor Visa

How to Reside in the U.S on E-2 Investor Visa

The E-2 Visa is a wonderful opportunity for eligible investors and their families to live and work in the US. We’ve created a helpful overview of all of the key information you need to know.


What is an E-2 Visa?

It’s a non-immigrant visa for foreign entrepreneurs from countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. E-2 investor visa allows foreign investors to enter and work in the United States upon investing a substantial amount of capital into a bonafide enterprise.

A bonafide enterprise is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.

The E-2 visa allows investors and their families to reside in the US for 2 or 5 years.  It can be renewed indefinitely so long as all the visa requirements continue to be met. With an E-2 visa, your spouse is entitled to work anywhere in the US and children under 21 can attend school.

While the E-2 visa is not an immigrant visa, it is the longest-term visa currently available for the U.S. Furthermore, it can be converted to an EB-5 visa, through which you can obtain a green card and citizenship down the line, provided all the conditions for the EB-5 visa are met. Key requirements include an investment of at least US$500,000 and the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.  In some cases, your E-2 investment can serve as a down payment for your E-5 investment.


What are the requirements to apply for an E-2 Visa?

  • You must be a national of a treaty country. For a list of all of the countries that currently have an E-2 visa agreement, please click here.


  • You must have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bonafide enterprise in the United States.


  • An eligible investment is one where the investor’s capital, including funds and/or other assets, is at risk with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. The investor must be able to prove that the funds have not been obtained from criminal activity. 


  • A substantial amount of capital is based on the total cost of purchasing an existing enterprise, or establishing a new one. It also must be sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the business. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher the investment must be to be considered substantial.

While there is no officially mandated dollar amount, most E-2 investments are at least $100,000-$200,000. 

  • Your investment cannot be marginal. This means that it cannot be established just to support you and family. It must be a business that will be viable and continue to grow and scale.


  • You must be coming to the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.  This includes having at least 50% ownership of an active enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other acceptable means.

The investor can only work for the business which was the basis of the E-2 visa application. His family can hold other jobs.

The business must create at least 2 jobs.


What kind of businesses can I invest in to be eligible for an E-2 visa?

The business must be a lawful, active, operating enterprise that offers a tangible good or service for profit.

The enterprise must produce enough profit to initially support the investor’s family, but it should ideally have a significant economic impact in the United States and create US jobs.


There are many types of businesses that can successfully obtain E-2 visa. Here are some examples.


  • Franchises
  • Import/export business
  • Law firm
  • Internet start-up
  • Restaurant
  • Coffee shop
  • Wine distributor
  • Retail store
  • Convenience store
  • Fashion design company
  • Medical office
  • Fitness centers
  • Consulting company
  • Catering company
  • Cleaning company


There are many other business types that are eligible for the E-2 visa - please contact us if you have a question about the business you plan to establish.


What is the application process?

The processing time for an E-2 visa is just 2 months, but the application process varies depending on which country you’re applying from, and the type of enterprise you plan to invest in.  Please contact us and we’ll be happy to outline the exact application steps for your unique situation.