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Top 20 Questions About the U.S. E-2 Visa

    E-2 Investor Visa 

    The E-2 Investor Visa is geared toward investors who plan to start or run a US-based enterprise. The E-2 Investor Visa is one of the most popular visas in the U.S.  Not only have E-2 Visa issuances increased by 80% over the past 10 years, but the E-2 Visa also has an overall approval rate of 89%, which is one of the highest among U.S. issued visas.

    1. How long is the E-2 visa valid?

    It depends on the treaty agreement with your country of citizenship. It can range anywhere from three months to 5 years. You can use this government site to confirm how long your E-2 visa will be valid for.

    2. Do I have to run the E-2 business?

    Yes. You are required to run, direct, and develop the E-2 business. This often entails living near the business, frequenting it regularly, and ensuring it is your sole occupation in the U.S. 

    3. Where must my business be located in order to be eligible for the E-2 visa?

    Your business can be based in any U.S. state. Thus, you should select a location that makes the most sense for your business. Consider factors like where you'd like to live, the local employment market and workforce, taxes, real estate prices, and cost of living. 

    4. How long do I need to stay in the U.S. while on an E-2 visa?

    There is no minimum required time period. However, one of the E-2 visa requirements is that you must actively be running a business in the U.S., so the more time you spend stateside, the better. (It should be no less than 6 months). 

    5. How many employees do I need?

    You are required to staff at least 5 employees by the end of 5 years. If you have a large business or a business that needs many employees, you will need to employ more than 5 people. 

    6. Do the employees need to be U.S. citizens?

    Yes, all your employees must be citizens or green card holders.

    7. Do I need a business partner for the E-2 visa?

    No. You are certainly allowed to, but it is not a requirement. If you do have a partner, you must maintain at least 51% ownership in the country, though it is better if you have more.

    8. How much should I invest in my business to qualify for the E-2 visa?

    There is no government-mandated minimum, but we suggest a minimum of $150,000 for small businesses. The larger the business, the more you will need to invest. Per the requirements, the investment must be large enough to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the business and support the likelihood that the investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. 

    9. Can I get the investment funds from a family member? 

    Yes. This is a common source of funds, particularly among young investors. 

    10. What is the order of operations as far as investing and applying for the E-2 visa?

    You must first invest the capital in the business and hire your U.S. based employee(s). Then you submit your application, and upon invitation, do an interview. 

    11. Who needs to attend the E-2 visa interview?

    The investor, the spouse, and kids ages 14-20.

    12. Can my children be included in my E-2 visa application?

    Yes, so long as they are unmarried and under 21 years old. 

    13. Can my children attend school while on the E-2 visa?

    Yes, until they turn 21. 

    14. Can my spouse work in the U.S while on the E-2 visa?

    Yes, after they meet certain conditions. Namely: being approved for the E-2 visa at the U.S. consulate, arriving in the U.S., filling out the government form I-765. Upon receipt of the approval, your spouse is eligible for any employment, including working for your E-2 business or starting their own business. 

    15. Can I get a green card by having an E-2 visa?

    No. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa and therefore does not lead to a green card. The good news is that the E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely, as long as the investor and business continue to meet the program requirements. 

    16. What happens to my E-2 visa if I decide to sell the E-2 visa business?

    You will lose your E-2 visa status and you will likely need to leave the U.S.

    17. What if my E-2 visa is denied?

    You can re-apply for another interview. 

    18. I have been denied a U.S visa previously, how will this affect my E-2 visa application?

    It depends on why and when you were denied, and which visa you applied for. 

    19. If I don’t have citizenship from an E-2 visa treaty country, can I still apply for E-2 visa?

    No, you must have citizenship in an E-2 visa country in order to apply. If you do not currently have citizenship in an E-2 visa country, you could obtain citizenship by investment in Turkey, Grenada, Bulgaria, or Montenegro, and then apply for the E-2 visa. 

    20. What is the difference between an E-2 and E-1 visa?

    Both visas, the E-2 visa, and the E-1 visa are non-immigration visas, which means that they will not lead to a green card; however, both will allow you to reside in the U.S., along with your spouse and children under 21. The E-1 visa purpose is more of carrying out international trade of goods, services, and banking. The E-2 visa is an investor visa. The individual investor must demonstrate that their sole purpose for entering the U.S. is to run or develop an enterprise.


    Find the right business 

    Interested in applying for the E-2 visa but don’t know what kind of business to invest in? There are hundreds of vetted options that run the gamut from a carwash to a boutique hotel. Depending on your expertise and background, we can suggest the right investment option for you. Set up a free initial consultation to learn more. 

    Obtain citizenship in a E-2 visa treaty country 

    If you don’t currently have citizenship in a country eligible for the E-2 visa waiver, there is a solution. We can assist you by obtaining a citizenship by investment in one of the following countries which have E-2 visa treaty status with the U.S.:

    Next steps 

    Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation. We are happy to answer any questions, help you find the right E-2 visa investment opportunity, and assist you throughout the entire process. 

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    Vicky Katsarova

    A citizen of the world in every sense of the phrase, Vicky has done her fair share of traveling. Born and raised in Bulgaria, she spent 10 years living and working in Abu Dhabi before settling down with her family in Nova Scotia, Canada. And it’s only fitting for the CEO and founder of High Net Worth Immigration to be an avid globetrotter—her extensive travels have given her deeper insight and understanding into her clients’ needs.

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