E-2 Investor Visa: Treaty Investor Countries and their Nationals
The E-2 Investor Visa is an attractive visa for foreign nationals who do not have family in the United States or an Employer who is willing to sponsor them to come live and work in the United States. With the right financial resources, an E-2 visa allows foreign nationals to self-sponsor themselves to start a business in the United States.
However this right is only provided to foreign nationals of nations with a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. As of March 2013, there are 77 nations who have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States:
The company or the individual engaging in the investment must have the same nationality as a treaty country. For an individual, the individual investor must be a citizen of a treaty investor country. The nationality of the company is determined by the nationality of the persons who own at least 50% of the stock of the company. For a large publicly owned company, this may be difficult. The nationality of the stockholders is determined by their citizenship. Citizens of a treaty nation who are also U.S. Permanent Residents do not count as a national of a treaty investor country.
While there may be many individual shareholders or partners in the investment company, only one principal investor is allowed to apply for an E-2 visa to develop and direct the investment in the United States. However, there can multiple high level managers or specialty employees who can enter on an E-2 visa. The E-2 employees must have the same nationality as the treaty enterprise.
For dependents of the E-2 investor or E-2 Employees, the spouse and unmarried children under 21 do not have to be the same nationality as the treaty enterprise. They can be citizens of any country as long as they have the qualifying family relationship as the principle E-2 visa holder.
In addition, reciprocity agreements with the United States and the treaty countries varies. The U.S. will generally match what the foreign treaty nation provides U.S. citizens. The U.S. only provides Thai nationals a 6 month visa with a two year period of stay once the Thai national entered the U.S. This is because Thailand only provides U.S. citizens a 6 month visa for investors in its countries.
In most treaty countries such as the Philippines or South Korea, their nationals are provided a 5 year multiple entry E-2 visa. Every time, a Filipino or a South Korean enters the United States, they are provided a new two year authorized period of stay without the requirement of an extension.
E-2 Investor Visas are very complicated. It is recommended that those interested in the process should contact first our experienced U.S. Immigration Attorney.
Category: US Immigration
About the Author (Author Profile)
Mr. Robert R. Virasin is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science, Mr. Virasin completed his Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston and a Masters of Laws (Business) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Mr. Virasin is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a licensed U.S. attorney with over 15 years of legal experience. Robert is a regular contributor and author of a number of immigration related articles.