E-2 Investment Visa

US Visa in Thailand

Many people dream of coming to the United States and starting a business. However, it is difficult to get a visa to enter the country unless the applicant has US-resident family members or a US employer to sponsor them. Foreign nationals can overcome this problem by applying for an E-2 Investor Visa, an option allowing them to temporarily reside in the United States to start a business. This non-immigrant visa option allows individuals from countries that have an investment treaty with the United States to have the option of investing in a new business and becoming an entrepreneur. This article will offer a step-by-step guide on the process of securing an E-2 Visa.

For those who intend to travel to the US for business on a temporary basis, then the B-1 Visa is the appropriate option.

What are the requirements for an E-2 Investment Visa?

  1. Investment

    E-2 visa holders must have a substantial amount of investment in a US Company, which is dependent on the type and size of the company. While there is no minimum stated amount, an investment closer to $100,000 or more increases the chance for approval.

  2. Number of Investors

    There can be many partners from the treaty nation but only one partner can enter the United States on an E-2 visa to manage the business operation.

  3. Control

    The business can have US resident partners but investors from the treaty investor country must have control of the business. While the share of the ownership is not strictly defined, having at least a 50% stake in the company would classify as having an active role in the business. An active role also means being involved in making major decisions and overseeing day-to-day operations.

  4. Risk of Loss

    The E-2 investor must bear the risk of loss in case of a business failure. Loans secured by the investor's personal assets are allowed, but loans secured by business assets are not allowed.

  5. Type of Investment

    The investment must be in an active, for-profit physical business operation and must be irrevocably committed to the E-2 business. Businesses that are considered marginal enterprises, speculative, or passive investments are not allowed.

If this visa does not meet your needs, consider other US business visas, such as the L-1 Visa or the EB-5 Visa.

What is the E-2 Visa processing time & length of stay?

Normally, E-2 Visas are initially valid for up to 2 years but they can be regularly renewed as long as the business continues to operate and meet the E-2 requirements. Some visa holders are allowed to stay up to 15 years or longer. Unlike other non-immigrant visas, E-2 Visa applicants do not need to maintain a foreign residence to get an E-2 visa. However, applicants must have the intent to depart from the US once their investment ends.

The length of time it takes to get an E-2 visa depends on the embassy or consulate where the application is lodged. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months to complete. After the initial review, the consulate will set up an interview with the applicant, the scheduling of which can also affect process duration.

E-2 premium processing is available for a $1,225 fee, and USCIS will approve, deny, or issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) within 15 days. If USCIS issues an RFE, they will make a second decision within 15 days of receiving the additional evidence.

Note that all persons covered by E-2 visas are permitted to travel in and out of the US. The primary visa holder will automatically get a two-year extension granted on re-entry to the country.

However, this does not apply to family members, who are encouraged to carefully monitor how long they can stay and apply for any E-2 extensions on time.

What are the benefits of an E-2 Investment Visa?

  • Managers and Specialty Employee

    E-2 Investors can petition to bring managers and specialty employees to run the business operation. The manager must be a high-level manager who will run the business operation. The specialty employee must have “special skills” that are unique and required for the business.

  • Derivative Family

    E-2 Investors and their E-2 Employees can bring their spouses and children under the age of 21 with them to the United States.

  • Employment for E-2 Spouse

    The E-2 Spouse can obtain an unrestricted employment authorization document that will allow work anywhere in the United States.

  • Schools for E-2 Children

    Children of E-2 status holders under age 21 have similar educational benefits as US residents, such as entering local schools.

  • No Extension Limits

    The E-2 Investment status can be extended in two-year increments as long as the qualified investment enterprise is still in operation as outlined in the initial submission.

E-2 Investment Visa Frequently Asked Questions

1. Am I allowed to Change Jobs on an E-2 Visa?

No. The E-2 visa holder is typically only authorized to work in the US business they have invested in.

2. Do E-2 visa holders pay taxes?

Yes. E-2 visa holders must file federal and state tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for all income earned in the US.

3. Do the E-2 Visa require you to have a sponsor?

No. You do not need a US employer to sponsor you for an E-2 visa.

4. Can I travel outside the US on an E-2 Visa?

Yes. E-2 treaty investors can travel outside the United States and will typically be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the country.

E-2 Investment Visa Dependents

E-2 Visa holders can bring their spouse and minor children with them. An E-2 Spouse may apply for an unrestricted employment authorization card to work in the U.S. E-2 Children can enter public or private schools in the United States. Refer to this article for more detailed information about E-2 Investment Visa Dependents.

What Siam Legal can do for you?

We offer professional and reliable assistance for E-2 Investment Visa applicants. Our service package includes the following:

  • Guidance on E-2 Investment Requirements
  • Advice on the Formation of the Business
  • Advice to Ensure the Proper Transfer of Funds
  • Assistance with Obtaining IRS Tax ID Number
  • Advice on the Opening of Financial Accounts
  • Guidance with the Preparation of the Business Plan
  • Packaging of the Documents
  • Completing the E-2 Visa Form
  • Monitoring the E-2 Case Processing
  • Attorney Representation with the Consular Office
  • Access to a Licensed US Immigration Attorney
  • E-2 Interview Preparation
  • Advice on E-2 Business Requirements Post-Visa

Ready to start a new chapter of your life in the USA?

Siam Legal’s US Visa Team

  • Over 20 years of experience helping people from all over the world travel to the United States
  • More than 10,000 successful US visa applications.
Call Us Today!

Speak with an expert US immigration lawyer, or submit the form below to begin the consultation process.

Ken Graham

Ken Graham
US Immigration Attorney
Partner, Siam Legal International

For English language assistance call:

Linda Pringpuangkeo

Linda Pringpuangkeo
Senior US Visa Consultant
Siam Legal International

For Thai language assistance call:

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