Treaty Trader Visa
or E2 Visa

Treaty Investor Visa to the US

Looking for business opportunities in the United States can be extremely fruitful in the long run. The strong economy, diverse investment, and trading options available, make it a favorable country for businessmen, entrepreneurs, and stock marketers.

The existing visitors’ visa for businesspersons is the B-1 visa (Business Visa USA). But it doesn’t have enough provisions for entrepreneurs and people who want to trade or do business in the US. Under the special non-immigrant visa for entrepreneurs, individuals from different countries can enter the US and work on any business they control while staying in the US.

E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which enables foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and individuals to live and work in the US and develop their business. It allows the entry of executive, management and essential skilled employees. If you are a treaty investor who wishes to migrate to the US to invest a fair amount of capital in a US business or your own organization, you can apply for the E-2 visa. You can either develop your existing business or start a new business while working under this visa.

Treaty investors are investors from countries with which the US has an agreement with the subject matters of commerce and navigation. Thus, to be able to apply for the E-2 visa and visit the US to carry out commercial work, you need to ensure your country is listed under the E-2 visa acceptable countries list on the State Department’s website.

In some cases, the employees of certain organizations also are eligible to apply for this visa and not the H-1B work visa. This depends solely on the nature of the company and the work the employee is hired to perform.

If you are already working in the US as a treaty investor as a legal non-immigrant, you can file Form I-129 to change your existing visa to an E-2 visa. Your employer should do the same to change your visa status to E-2.

Requirements for E-2 visas:

  • You should be a citizen of an eligible E-2 country.
  • You should have invested or be in the process of investing a sufficient amount in bonafide enterprise in the U S. Such an enterprise could be a practical, working and operational commercial establishment that produces goods or services for a marginal profit, still having the capacity to produce more income.
  • Your intent to enter the US should be solely to expand and develop this enterprise.
  • You should have 50% managerial control over the enterprise.

US immigration officials carry out a proportionality test (between your investment and the total value of the business) to determine the substantiality of your investment. Thus, for businesses with low turnover, high investment accounts for high substantiality and vice-versa.

You can use the E-2 visa for entry in the US only 10 days prior to the beginning of the period mentioned on your approved I-797 form. The application process is similar to other non-immigrant visas. For the process details click here (hyperlink to general application process for non-immigrant visas).

What Does E-2 Visa Restrict You From?

As previously mentioned, E-2 visas are only for citizens of eligible countries. Additionally, your business should be generating substantial profits, marginal profit-making businesses cannot be used for the E-2 application.

If you are an employee for a treaty investor, you are restricted to work only for the specific employer who acted as the sponsor for your E-2 visa. You cannot switch employers once you are on an E-2 visa in the US. You need to change the status of your visa for that.

It is important to note that you can still work for the company’s parent organization or its subsidiaries until the relationship between the subsidiaries is active and the subsidiary requires essential skills, or the terms and conditions of employment are the same.

What After You Get The E-2 Visa?

The initial stay period on an E-2 visa is two years. There is no restriction on the number of renewals for anE-2 visa. As long as your business meets the E-2 visa prerequisites, you can renew your visa and continue to work/stay in the US.

The E-2 visa must be renewed at regular intervals. It is prudent to renew your E-2 visa before your I-94 form lapses. By doing so, you will be able to work in the US for another 240 days before the renewal decision is taken. In case the application for renewal is submitted after the termination of your I-94 form, you shall be permitted to work for only 40 days before your renewal decision.

For the dependents (spouse, children, etc.) of people under the E-2 visa, there is no specific non-immigrant visa, however, a candidate’s life partner and kids (more than 21 years of age) can apply for subsidiary E-2 visas. The main necessity that is applicable for their visa application is that they belong to the same eligible country.