The E-2 Investor Visa allows an individual to enter and work inside of the United States based on an investment he or she will be controlling, while inside the United States. This visa must generally be renewed every five years, but there is no limit to how many times one can renew. The investment must be "substantial". Investor visas are available only to treaty countries, which include countries like Albania and Senegal, but do not include Brazil, Russia, India and China.
For new startups, the investment must be large enough to start and operate the business. The amount of investment varies on the type of business. The investment will not be considered substantial if it is not large enough to capitalize the venture. The USCIS will use an ‘Inverted Sliding Scale’ to determine whether the investment is substantial in proportion to the overall cost of the enterprise.
Upon conclusion of the business, investors must return to their countries of origin, or change their status. The holder of an E-2 visa may leave the United States at any time.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may receive derivative E-2 visas in order to accompany the principal alien. The duration of visa for a family member who is of a different nationality to the principal is determined by any reciprocal agreements between their country of nationality and the US. Only if there is no such reciprocal agreement will the duration be the same as the principal applicant. Dependents may seek employment in the US by applying for employment authorization using Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Children under 21 cannot apply for work; only the spouse of the E-2 holder can.
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. The State Department has a DS-160 webpage that details the DS-160 online process.
- Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application DS-156E, completed and signed, for executives/managers/essential employees.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person must complete a Form DS-160 application.
- One 2 by 2 inch photograph.
- All male nonimmigrant visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality and regardless of where they apply, must complete and submit a form DS-157 in addition to the Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-156E).
- As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for almost all visa applicants.
How to apply
Applicants should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by embassy or consulate.
During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken before the interview. Some applicants will need additional screening, and will be notified when they apply. The E-2 visa application process vary from Consular Posts in one country to another country as there is often difference in policies and visa processing procedures.
- "Requirements: Treaty Investor". Visas for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors. Bureau of Consular Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "Treaty Countries". Bureau of Consular Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "Family Members". Visas for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors. Bureau of Consular Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- "Fees for Visa Services". Bureau of Consular Affairs. "E - Treaty Trader/Investor, Australian Professional Specialty category visa: $270.00"
- "What are the Required Visa Fees?". Visas for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors. Bureau of Consular Affairs.
- "Required Documentation". Visas for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors. Bureau of Consular Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- U.S. State Department DS-160 webpage
- Link to DS-156E Fillable Visa Application Form
- "Applying for the Visa". Visas for Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors. Bureau of Consular Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2012.