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Global Work Glossary

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Table of Contents

Who is eligible for an E2 visa?

What are the qualification requirements for a treaty investor?

Can an employee qualify for an E2 visa?

How do you apply for an E2 visa?

How long does it take to get an E2 visa?

How long is an E2 visa valid?

Does an E2 visa come with a green card?

Fast-track your E-2 visa with Deel immigration

What is an E2 visa

The E2 Visa is a nonimmigrant E-visa category that permits entrepreneurs and investors to live and work in the United States. It is also known as the E2 Treaty Investor/Trader Visa.

As an investor, it grants you entry into the country to invest in an existing enterprise or start a business. As a trader, an E2 visa allows you to work for an E2 enterprise.

There are two types of E2 visas:

  • E2 treaty investor visas for entrepreneurs who invest substantial capital in US businesses
  • E2 treaty trader visas for managers, executives, or special employees of an E2 entity

Business people wanting to move to the United States can use the E2 visa to set up operations in the country. The business must do more than meet you and your family’s basic needs. To retain E2 status, the business must impact the US economy.

The E2 visa category is unlike other nonimmigrant visas. You do not need to maintain a foreign residence to qualify. You can also renew your visa indefinitely as long as your business is active.

💡Get your E2 visa faster with Deel Immigration. Deel’s immigration support handles visa applications for you to ensure compliance and faster processing rates. With our interactive dashboard and dedicated case managers, you can keep track of your application from submission to approval. Schedule a call today to get started.

Who is eligible for an E2 visa?

The US government grants E2 visas to entrepreneurs and investors from treaty countries. To qualify, you must set up a new business in the country, purchase an existing business, or invest substantially in a US franchise. You may also qualify for an E2 visa if you are a:

  • Citizen of a treaty country entering the US to develop and direct investments from your country
  • Key employee sent by a company in a treaty country to manage its US branch or affiliate
  • Key employee sent by a company in a treaty country to set up a US business

The E2 visa covers most business types, including consulting firms, salons, construction companies, restaurants, and legal practices.

With an E2 visa, you can travel in and out of the country for business or pleasure without needing to reapply. E2 visa holders can also bring along family members to the United States. Specifically, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children aged under 21.

See also: Worldwide Visa Support for Dependents: A Guide for Businesses

What are the qualification requirements for a treaty investor?

Investors from treaty countries generally qualify for an E2 visa. However, you must meet more specific requirements to gain E2 classification. You must:

✔️ Be a national of a treaty country

The US grants E-visas like the E2 based on treaties it has with other countries. As such, only citizens of treaty countries may qualify for this visa.

There are currently over 80 countries that have E2 treaties with the US. They are:

  • Yugoslavia
  • Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Togo, Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Ukraine
  • Serbia, Romania, Singapore, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia,
  • Switzerland, Spain, South Korea, Suriname, Sri Lanka, Sweden,
  • Pakistan, Oman, Panama, Philippines, Paraguay, Poland
  • Montenegro, Mexico, Mongolia, Moldova, Morocco, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway
  • Luxembourg Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania,
  • Ireland, Jordan, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jamaica,
  • Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras,
  • France, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Egypt,
  • Congo (Brazzaville)Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Canada,
  • Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark
  • Armenia, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Albania, Azerbaijan
  • Belgium, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bolivia, and Bulgaria
  • Russia, India, and Brazil do not have E2 treaties with the US.

✔️ Invest a substantial, non-marginal amount of capital

Nationals of a treaty country may obtain an E2 visa by investing or actively pursuing an investment in a bona fide business in the United States. To invest means to risk your funds or other assets with the goal of generating profit.

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) requires that your investment be substantial. While there is no set minimum, an investment may be substantial if it is:

  • Significant compared to the total cost of setting up a business
  • Sufficient to ensure your financial commitment to the business’s success
  • Significant enough to encourage you to develop the business

The USCIS uses an “Inverted Sliding Scale” to determine whether an investment is substantial. For instance, if you are setting up a startup, your investment must be sufficient to start and operate it.

Lastly, as a treaty investor, you must prove that you have legally obtained your investment.

See also: How to Sponsor an employee work visa through the Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) Scheme

✔️ Establish a real, bona fide enterprise

The business you wish to invest in or establish must be bona fide. It must be a real and active enterprise that produces goods or services for profit. Additionally, it must meet the legal business requirements of the state where it is based.

The business must not be marginal. It must produce profit beyond what you and your family need for a living.

✔️ Prove intent to develop and direct the enterprise

In addition to investing substantially in a business, you must prove intent to develop and direct it personally. You can do this by owning at least 50 percent of the business. Alternatively, you may control its operations through a managerial or executive position.

Can an employee qualify for an E2 visa?

Yes. You may enter the United States through an E2 visa as an employee of an E2 investor. However, you must meet certain conditions. You must:

  • Hold an executive or supervisory position
  • Be essential to the business operation
  • Meet the legal definition of “employee”
  • Be of the same nationality as the E2 investor

The E2 trader visa provides a crucial avenue for importing talent from a treaty country. Deel has helped companies do this before.

💡 Quantium used Deel’s proprietary hiring framework to retain and support its employees in Italy, Canada, and the Netherlands through migrant visas and remote work solutions.

“With Deel, we have an easy remote work solution powered by a user-friendly platform and a seamless process. This has been helpful in ensuring we didn’t lose key staff and the deep corporate knowledge and skills that are hugely beneficial to our business”. —Lysette Randall, Executive, HR Performance & Partnering at Quantium

How do you apply for an E2 visa?

Always apply for your E2 visa at the embassy or consulate in your home country. You will be required to pay a $315 processing fee. Some countries also charge a visa issuance reciprocity fee. Like the process, the application fees will vary across consular posts.

The application process in the US involves the following steps:

  1. Ensure you meet all E2 requirements
  2. Fill and file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker)
  3. Prepare the following documents:
  • Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application)
  • DS-156E (Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/ Investor Application)
  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months past your intended period of stay
  • One 2-by-2-inch photograph
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of intent to return to your country
  • Proof of wire transfer
  • A credible business plan

The consulate will request an interview as part of the application process. This requirement applies to applicants between the ages of 14 and 79. Some applicants may also require additional screening. If this applies to you, an agent will notify you during the application process.

If the consulate approves your application for an E2 visa, your status changes to E2 on the date indicated on your Approval Notice.

💡 Need an easy way to track your application? Deel’s Immigration dashboard delivers status updates, personal notes, and projected completion dates to keep you updated on your visa status. You also have direct access to your case manager to ask any questions or ease any concerns throughout the process.

How long does it take to get an E2 visa?

The E2 visa application process may last several weeks or months. Because processes differ from one consulate to the next, timelines may vary.

You can find more specific timeline guidelines for your consulate on the US Department of State website. You can also expedite the process through premium processing, which costs $1,225.

💡 Is your local consulate or embassy taking too long to stamp your E2 visa? Deel Immigration offers consular support to help you get faster appointments.

How long is an E2 visa valid?

If the USCIS approves your E2 visa, your E2 status is valid for the next two years. You can extend your stay in two-year increments indefinitely, either from within the country or by leaving and re-entering the country with a valid visa.

Once you conclude your business, you must return to your country. To stay, you must change your status from nonimmigrant-E2 to immigrant.

See also: Enterprise Employee Visa: Your Essential Application Guide

Does an E2 visa come with a green card?

No. The E2 is a nonimmigrant visa category. The United States Department of State forbids double intent for this visa. This means that an e-2 visa applicant may stay in the country temporarily. But, they may not use their status to apply for a green card.

That said, you can adjust your status to permanent resident. This means losing your E2 status, so weigh the pros and cons before making this decision. Your E2 status may also impact your E2 trader employees.

Consult Deel’s visa application guide for enterprises if you are unsure how this change will affect your business.

💡 Discover which US visas Deel supports with our free immigration guide.

Fast-track your E-2 visa with Deel immigration

In 2023, the US government received over 60,000 E2 visa applications and approved 91%. These numbers suggest that you have a 9-to-1 chance of getting approved for an E2 visa.

But due to process differences across consulates, E2 visa applications are often complicated and long. Deel Immigration streamlines this process. We gather and submit the required documents, plan your interview, process your fee payments, and more.

We use proprietary technology to determine your eligibility, track your approval status, and maintain regulatory compliance throughout the application. Our process helps you set up your business and onboard as many foreign employees as possible.

Connect with our immigration team to get started on your E2 visa application today.

Schedule your appointment.

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