Global Citizenship

E2 Visa USA

The E-2 investor visa is a temporary visa granted to investors coming to the US to develop and manage the business they have invested in. This visa requires an investment agreement between the investor's country and the US. Investors can only work in the business that is the subject of the visa.

The E-2 visa is usually issued for 5 years. Once the applicant arrives in the US, they can stay for a maximum of 2 years. An extension can be applied for, and each application can be granted for an additional 2 years. However, all E-2 visa holders must intend to leave the US when their visa expires.

The characteristics of the investment are:

  • The investment must be a real business and speculative or non-operating investments are not acceptable. Funds or collateral sitting in bank accounts do not count as investments.
  • The most important requirement for an E-2 visa is that the investor invest or actively invest a substantial amount of principal in a "bona fide U.S. business enterprise." How much is substantial depends on the size of the business and the proportion of the investment. Generally, investments of $100,000 or more meet the substantial principal requirement.
  • The investment must not be "marginal," meaning that the business must make a minimum profit sufficient to support the investor and his or her family. The investee must make, or be capable of making, more than enough profit to support the investor and his or her family in the United States.
  • The investor's purpose for entering the United States must be solely to develop and manage the business enterprise. To prove this purpose, the investor must own at least 50% of the business, control the management of the business, or hold a managerial position.
  • Investment may only be made in an active commercial enterprise.

Simply buying real estate and managing the business is not sufficient for an E-2 visa. Investors must apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the area where they usually reside. The application process usually takes 2 to 3 weeks. Applicants should note that visa eligibility may be more difficult to assess if they have to apply for visa eligibility at a US consulate outside their country of residence.

Application Procedure and Duration

Applicants for an investor visa are expected to apply at the Consulate or U.S. Embassy in the region of their permanent residence. Applicants may be eligible, but applying from a U.S. consular office outside of their country of residence may make it more difficult to be found eligible for a visa. After application, the E-Visa unit will first review the application and then notify the applicant about the best available appointment date for the Consular Section and the applicant, when and how the appointment can be confirmed. The review time for E-Visas is 2 to 3 weeks.