If the $1 million investment requirement is too high for you, you might consider the E-2 “treaty investor” visa. Although there is no specific minimum investment required for this one, experts say that you might not qualify for an amount less than $100,000 as investor visas’ purpose is to create jobs in the US.
OWNERSHIP REQUIREMENTS:The E2 investor visa applicant must control the company through at least 50% ownership or a managerial position. The business must generate enough income to support the E2 investor visa applicant and their family in the US. However, the business must also employ or create jobs for US citizens or green card holder. There is no specific amount of jobs required to be created for US citizens or green card holders. Practically, there should be at least two to three jobs created to US citizens or green card holders
- Your native country must have an investor treaty with the US. As of now, 80 countries have a treaty with the USA.
- You must have proof of your investment. A business loan agreement, bank account balance, or investor agreement will work.
- The applicant also has to provide other details like employer identification numbers and business licenses.
FOREIGN WORKERS:E2 investors can bring over foreign workers of the same nationality as them. Generally, an E2 investor is allowed to bring over two foreign workers per business location. Foreign workers can obtain E2 employee visas, but they must be an executive of the company with substantial work experience or possess a four year bachelor degree from a university.
FAMILY MEMBERS:The E2 investor may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Such family members will be granted the same period of stay as the E2 investor. Spouses of E2 investors may apply for work authorization and there is no specific restriction as to where the E2 spouse may work. Thus, the spouse of the E2 investor does not have to work for the E2 business and can apply for work with any US employer.
CHILDREN STUDYING:Children of E2 investors can live and study in the US for free at public schools. Children of E2 investors studying in the US must be under 21 years old. Children of E2 investors over 21 years old should be enrolled in full time classes and apply for a F1 student visa since they are not eligible for E2 child visas.
MAINTAINING OPERATIONS:The E2 investor must maintain the business operations in order to renew their E2 investor visa in the future. This means the E2 business must generate income, file tax returns, maintain accounting records, maintain business licenses, maintain employee records and other documentation depending on the nature of the business.
RENEWING E2 VISAS OR STATUS:Generally, the E2 investors visas or status must be renewed every two to five years depending on the citizenship of the E2 investor. This can be done at either from within the US or outside the US at a US Embassy. E2 investor status is extended from within the US at a USCIS office. E2 investor visas are renewed at US Embassy. If an E2 investor does not want to leave the US, then they should apply to extend their status through USCIS. If an E2 investor wants to return to their home country, then they should apply to renew their E2 investor visa through the US Embassy.
HOW TO APPLY:✅ If applying from within the US with USCIS, then a "I-129 Form" is required to be printed, signed & dated then the original mailed to USCIS. Supporting documents must be printed on paper and mailed to USCIS. The supporting documents should correspond to a cover letter that explains in detail about the E2 investor's business and why they qualify to be granted E2 investor status in the US. USCIS fees are more expensive than US Embassy fees and can be paid by either check or through a credit card form.
✅ If applying from outside the US at a US Embassy, then a "DS-160 Form" is required to be submitted online. There is also another form required called a "DS-156E" that you have to download, print, sign & date. The procedures for submitting supporting documents are different for each US Embassy depending on where the E2 investor is applying. Some Embassies require you to email the supporting documents. Others require to upload them to a website or mail them in. The specific instructions for each country should be checked on the US Embassy websites including how to pay the US Embassy fees. The supporting documents should correspond to a cover letter that explains in detail about the E2 investor's business and why they qualify for an E2 investor visa.
SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS:The hardest part of preparing an E2 investor application is preparing the supporting documents. The US Embassies and USCIS require different types of documents to support an application depending on where the E2 investor is applying.
The following is a general list of the types of supporting documents required by the US Embassy or USCIS:
- I-129 Form or DS-160 Form & DS156E Form.
- USCIS or US Embassy fees.
- Passport valid for at least 2 years.
- Cover letter.
- Evidence of transfer of money to the US such as bank receipts and statements.
- Company registration certificate.
- Shareholders list.
- Share certificates.
- Shareholders agreement or operating agreement.
- Business or assets purchase agreement if existing business.
- Business licenses.
- Property lease or ownership title deed to business location.
- Color photos of the inside and outside of the business including business sign.
- Employee list.
- Employee W2 tax forms for most recent year.
- US corporate tax returns for most recent 3 years.
- US personal tax returns for most recent 3 years.
- Business website.
- Social media pages.
- Business plan.
- Past E2 visa stamps or USCIS I-797 notice of approvals.
ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES:Citizens of the following countries can apply for E2 investor visas:
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.