The E2 visa is a special non-immigrant visa available to citizens of treaty countries entering the US To do the following:
a.) Develop and direct the operations of a company in which they have invested or are actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital;
b.) Invest substantially in an established US company;
c.) Develop and direct investments from the treaty country.
The investment should create job opportunities for American workers. While it is preferable to hire US workers at the time of the treaty investor visa application, reasonably achievable projections of future jobs are usually 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:
1.) It must represent a significant proportion of the total value of the business enterprise; gold
2.) It must be sufficient to establish a profitable and viable business of the type contemplated.
Family members (spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) of the principal treaty investor visa holder can obtain derivative status that allows them to live, work, and attend school in the US.
Treaty investor visas are generally issued for four to five years, although some consulates issue the first visa for two years. Extensions are generally unlimited as long as the investment continues and are often reissued for an additional five years at a time.
Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation detailing the business plan, the amount of the investment, the nature of the capital, and the calculation of the jobs to be created. A successful visa application will also demonstrate how the proposed business will benefit the United States.
Treaty Investor (E-2) versus Business Expansion Visa (L-1A)
It often happens that one can qualify for the Treaty Investor visa (E-2) or the Business Expansion Visa (L-1A). The question then arises as to which of the two visas is the more advantageous. Below is our analysis of this question:
The business expansion visa has the following distinctive advantages:
It is not necessary to invest a specific amount of cash before visa approval;
Once the case is filed, approval can be obtained in as little as 7-10 days;
The adjudication of the case takes place in the US, rather than at the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate (which can be quite difficult for investor cases);
The principal’s spouse obtains a general work permit for the duration of the visa;
Eligibility for priority permanent residence in the US After 1 year.
In contrast, as explained above, the treaty investor visa requires the investment of a “substantial” amount of money, prior to approval, and generally requires an adjudication at a US embassy or consulate, which can take several weeks.
Also, although one may plan to stay in the US for just a few years, it is quite possible that he will change his mind about this at some point in the future; The treaty investor visa does not lead to permanent residence regardless of the amount of time one spends in the US.