E2 Investment Visas

Frequently Asked Questions About the E2 Visa

The E2 visa is a type of visa created for potential investors from countries with which the United States maintains a commerce or investment treaty

The E2 visa requires the following basic requirements

  • There must be a treaty between the United States and the country of the potential investor or investment entity
  • The investor must be a national of the designated treaty country
  • The investor must have invested or be in the process of investing.
  • The investment must be irrevocably committed in a commercial enterprise.
  • The investment amount must be substantial relative to the value of the overall investment.
  • The investment must not be marginal and must have the potential to have an economic impact and external benefits beyond the investor and his family.
  • The applicant must be able to direct and develop the commercial enterprise or be an executive, supervisor, or a person with essential skills.


E2 visa processing times vary significantly depending on the visa wait times at U.S. consulates around the world. You can determine processing times by entering the consular post at the following link: www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html

E2 visas can lead to U.S. residency (Green card) but they require a significant increase in the investment capital to $800,000 in a targeted employment area or $1,050,000 in any other area. Alternatively, the visa may require the restructuring of the investment to meet the relevant immigrant visa requirements.

Typically, the investor or an employee must schedule an E2 visa appointment and prepare a comprehensive 5-year business plan, along with a registration package that includes detailed documentation regarding the investment. This package is generally delivered to the consular post 15-30 days before your visa appointment. The registration package must follow the specific rules of the consular post and comply with all E2 visa requirements.

There is no legally mandated minimum E2 visa investment amount. In fact, our office has successfully obtained approval for investments ranging from as little as $45,000 to $300,000. Lower investment amounts generally have a higher level of scrutiny and a greater risk of denial. The government has suggested that in small businesses the investment of $100,000 or less may presumptively meet the “substantial” requirement if the investor provides 100% of the investment.

E2 visas pertain to substantial investments in a commercial enterprise under a U.S. treaty. E-1 visas pertain to substantial trade, or the continuous flow of goods, money, or services.

Yes. E-1 and E2 spouse are authorized to work with the proper annotation in their I-94 record and visa. They may also seek and obtain work authorization although it is not generally required. www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-guidance-on-employment-authorization-for-e-and-l-nonimmigrant-spouses

There is no specific business type that is best for an E2 visa. Our firm has successfully filed E2 visas for small restaurants, sports academies, food trucks, used car dealerships, carpentry restoration companies, real estate construction businesses, among others. The key is having a profitable business plan that maximizes the external economic benefits or jobs created by the investment.

E2 visas can realistically be processed in as little as 3-4 weeks. However, the average E2 visa may take 2-3 months. The process requires substantial preparation of the required 5 year business plan, and substantial documentation regarding the investment and the source of funds.

The validity period of any E2 visa is generally determined based upon reciprocal benefits provided to citizens of the treaty countries at stake. The visa reciprocity schedule may be found under the E2 visa section at www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Reciprocity-and-Civil-Documents-by-Country.html

The visa itself is only valid for entry to the U.S. Once the immigrant presents himself for inspection, the period of authorized stay is determined, which is typically for 2 years.

You must typically increase the investment capital to $800,000 in a targeted employment area or $1,050,000 in any other area. Alternatively, you can restructure the investment entity to meet the relevant immigrant visa requirements, including EB-1A, EB-5, or EB-2 immigrant visa among others.

Generally, an E2 visa holder may only work for the petitioning entity. There is a limited exception to this requirement depending on the nature and type of investment, an E2 visa holder may do some work for another company, so long at the E2 visa holder maintains an employer/employee relationship with the E2 investment entity and employment is not inconsistent with the terms and conditions of their E2 status.

Yes, an E2 visa holder may travel while their E2 visa remains valid. They must have a valid passport, be admissible to the United States, and intend to return to continue working for the E2 entity and in compliance with the terms and conditions of their E2 visa.

Yes. E2 visa holders may apply for a social security number with the social security administration.

Every state has specific requirements for unemployment benefits. The principal E2 visa holder is generally authorized to remain in the United States solely while employed in the E2 entity. If such employment were to cease for any reason, the E2 holder would be required by U.S. immigration law to depart the United States. However, the spouse of an E2 visa holder may remain in the United States while accompanying the principal spouse and may qualify for unemployment benefits if they can meet the specific requirements of the state they reside in.

No. You can only apply for a change of status to E2 status while in the U.S. However, E2 visas are generally only issued and stamped in passports by U.S. consular posts abroad.

Although E2 holders are typically regarded as “aliens” and may “reside” in the United States while in valid E2 status, “resident aliens” are typically regarded as a distinct group of non-citizens who have authorization to permanently reside in the United States or otherwise are known as “lawful permanent residents.”

However, for tax purposes, certain noncitizens may be regarded as resident aliens if they spend significant time in the United States and meet the IRS’s substantial presence test for the relevant tax year.


E2 visa holders may attend school so long as they maintain their E2 status and their studies is not the primary purpose and is only incidental to their E2 stay. www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/Nonimmigrant%20Class%20Who%20Can%20Study.pdf

E2 visa holders may be required to pay taxes if they regularly spend a significant amount of time present in the United States and meet the IRS’s “substantial presence test.” www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-519

Yes. There are hundreds of foreign nationals working in the United States under E2 visa status who have purchased and own a home in the United States. If the buyer is seeking financing, bank regulations and lender financing terms will likely require significant employment history and/or a social security number.

No, unfortunately India does not presently have an investment treaty with the United States. However, Indian nationals may apply for EB-5 investment visas, or a myriad of other U.S. visas.

There is no specific business type that is best for an E2 visa. Our firm has successfully filed E2 visas for small restaurants, sports academies, food trucks, and used car dealerships, among others. The key is having a profitable business plans that maximizes the external economic benefits or jobs created by the investment.

Contact our E-2 Visa Lawyers for a Consultation Today

E-2 visa cases can be very challenging. At Symphorien-Saavedra Law, we have extensive experience handling E-2 visas from different treaty countries. U.S. Immigration attorney Frank Symphorien-Saavedra, our founder, is Board Certified as expert in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Florida Bar and has helped many clients over the years.

Contact us at 407-802-1717 and schedule a consultation with one of our E-2 visa lawyers in Orlando. You can also fill out the online form at the end of this page, and we will contact you shortly.

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Orlando Immigration Lawyer - Frank Symphorien-Saavedra

Symphorien-Saavedra Law, P.A. is a diverse team of immigrants who are dedicated to helping immigrants, small businesses, and investors.

(*) This information is provided for general purposes and is not a substitute for individualized advice. You should schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation.