The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa created through an intergovernmental treaty of commerce and navigation. The United States maintains this treaty with a selected group of countries.


Effective Date


January 4, 1998


October 20, 1994


March 29, 1996


December 27, 1991


May 27, 1931


August 2, 2001


May 30, 2001


July 25, 1989


October 3, 1963


June 6, 2001

Bosnia and Herzegovina

November 15, 1882


June 2, 1994


April 6, 1989


January 1, 1993


January 1, 2004

China (Taiwan)

November 30, 1948


June 10, 1848

Congo (Brazzaville)

August 13, 1994

Congo (Kinshasa)

July 28, 1989

Costa Rica

May 26, 1852


November 15, 1882

Czech Republic

January 1, 1993


December 10, 2008


May 11, 1997


June 27, 1992


February 16, 1997


October 8, 1953


December 1, 1992


December 21, 1960


August 17, 1997


July 14, 1956


March 3, 1989


July 19, 1928


June 16, 1957


November 18, 1992


July 26, 1949


March 7, 1997


October 30, 1953


December 17, 2001


January 12, 1994

Korea (South)

November 7, 1957


November 15, 1882


January 12, 1994


December 26, 1996


November 21, 1939


November 22, 2001


March 28, 1963


the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY)

November 15, 1882


January 1, 1994


November 25, 1994


January 1, 1997


November 15, 1882


May 29, 1991


December 5, 1957


January 18, 1928


June 11, 1960


February 12, 1961


May 30, 1991


March 07, 1860


September 6, 1955


August 6, 1994


January 15, 1994


November 15,1882


October 25, 1990


January 1, 2004

Slovak Republic

January 1, 1993


November 15, 1882


April 14, 1903

Sri Lanka

May 1, 1993


February 10, 1963


February 20, 1992


November 08, 1855


June 8, 1968


February 5, 1967

Trinidad & Tobago

December 26, 1996


February 7, 1993


May 18, 1990


November 16, 1996

United Kingdom

July 03, 1815


November 15, 1882


The E-2 visa is unlimited in duration and currently holds no quota or annual capital requirement. People who qualify for an E-2 visa will have invested considerably into an existing company registered in the United States of America, or are able to demonstrate ability and willingness to invest substantially in a company they intend to launch on their own.

The governmental authorities do not specify an actual sum, only mentioning a “substantial” amount (relative to the cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one) sufficient for a business to properly run its operations. The minimum investment threshold for a small business in the US is $100,000; however, there are precedents when investors received E-2 visa investing between $50,000 and $100,000 depending on the nature of the business.   

An investment is recognized as a treaty investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense, with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment ends up in failure. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.

Several Facts about the E-2 Visa:

  • Typically issued for two or five year periods;
  • Allows you to get entry into the USA without actually "immigrating”;
  • Also covers the investor's spouse and children under age 21;
  • Can be renewed indefinitely, as long as the investor is running the business and profiting from it;
  • Also available to non-investor employees of the business (CEO, manager, key employee of the company);
  • E-2 holders can extend their stay, while still remaining in the US;
  • Established companies have the advantage of getting a longer stay per each visa over startups, who normally receive shorter validity periods (Under appropriate conditions, E-2 treaty investor registration may be granted to a start-up business);
  • E2 status holders and dependents may study in the US;
  • Children lose their dependent status after turning 21, and have to re-enter with a new visa;
  • A spouse, but not children, may apply for a work permit once physically present in the US;
  • An E-2 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission upon returning to the United States.  It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 (change of status) with USCIS in this situation.

Who Normally Applies for E-2?

  1. Entrepreneurs willing to purchase a business within the USA
  2. Real Estate Investors
  3. People who want to retire in the USA              

Advantages and Disadvantages of the E-2 Visa

An investor’s family can also reside within the United States and be educated (you may study on an E-2 visa, however, you may not join a full length program. You may take up a few credits at a university if doing so does not conflict with the primary interest of the visa).

One of the biggest pros of E-2 is that it is issued for an unlimited period of time. As long the business is valid, ongoing and growing, providing income to support the Treaty Investor and his dependents, it will continue to be extended. Indefinitely.

Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work. A Treaty Investor’s children cannot work in the USA unless they receive explicit authorization to do so from DHS-USCIS in the United States.

Investor’s children who have reached age 21 and created their own families can no longer reside in the US under the E-2 visa.

In comparison with EB-5, which requires an investment of $500,000 or $1 m, the E-2 visa is likely to cost much less. In fact, many families have paid between $100,000 to $200,000 to purchase a suitable business qualifying for the E2.

E-2 visas are valid and can be renewed with two year extensions, as long as you maintain the necessary qualifications. But only if the business operates. develops and grows the investment.


How the US Government Determines E-2 Investment Success

Every business is approached differently, yet some basic indicators of success include:

  • More employees are hired;
  • The business has expanded;
  • Income has grown (petitioning);
  • Rent payments are made on time;
  • New business connections with vendors are established;
  • An export business branch was started;
  • Salaries are being paid on time and being increased;
  • Tax obligations are being followed;
  • Premises are rebuilt and refurbished.

How to Apply for Extension of Stay on an E-2 Visa

To apply for E-2 extension you must submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, along with E Supplement, and submit Form I-539,, “Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status,” for accompanying relatives. Along with it you must submit:

  • A copy of your Form I-94 Arrival-Departure document
  • A copy of original Form I-797, Notice of Action, if your status was previously approved or extended in the US or
  • A copy of your complete passport, including the E-2 visa
  • A letter from your employer stating that your extension is required and
  • A copy of your personal and US business income tax returns for the past two years, including payroll tax returns.
  • And all the financial documentation that shows that the business is in substantial compliance with the original business plan filed with the initial application.


Things to Consider before E-2 Application:

  • You have to prove you have sufficient funds.  Experience in business management is not required but recommended;
  • The US government will thoroughly examine the source of the investment money. It cannot be crime- or terrorism-related. If borrowed, the funds must be supported with collateral;
  • Counsel may be asking what exact experience you have in running the type of business you are buying or entering;
  • You have to own the  majority stake in the company - 51% or more;
  • You have to present the actual paperwork with the proof of your substantial investment;
  • You have to prove that investment funds are from a legitimate source;
  • The investment size has to be proportionate to the type of business in which you are investing, if an investor buys business;
  • The only reason for the Treaty Investor to stay in the USA (extend a visa) after the E-2 visa is expired is to provide paperwork (petitions) in the interest of continuously contributing in the American economy;
  • The investor must provide solid proof of the amount invested and its origin,  such as cancelled checks or payment orders from an identifiable source, with corresponding bank statements proving actual payment to an identifiable beneficiary;
  • An investor can file for a Green Card after the investment has grown from the initial $100,000 to $1,000,000 through EB5 petition. The bottom line: an E-2 visa does not offer a smooth transition from temporary to permanent resident status. You may get a chance to apply for permanent residence after the business has been successfully operating for at least one continuous year;
  • The Treaty Investor must not  employ a certain number of US citizens;
  • If the Treaty Investor chooses to travel outside of the US while on an E-2 visa, they will generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. However, the new readmission period will not apply to the family members.
  • Also, it is important to note that if the status has been changed in the US, the investor has to reapply through the embassy if he (she) left the US.

E-2 Visa Qualifications


To start the E-2 Visa application process you must:

  1. Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
  2. Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States (there is no legal minimum, but the applicant or company must be putting capital or assets at risk, be trying to make a profit, and the amount must be substantial relative to the type of business).
  3. Be a qualified prospective employee of a treaty investor if the employee is of the same nationality as the investor and either an executive or supervisor, or a skilled worker with special qualifications that are essential to the proper operation of the company in the US.
  4. Be the spouse of an E-2 visa holder. Your unmarried children under the age of 21, regardless of their nationality, are also eligible for E-2 visas.
  5. Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.  However, if only 50% ownership shown, the investor must prove he has the ultimate control of the company.
  6. The applicant must be either the owner or a key employee (executive or supervisor, or someone with essential skills) of the U.S. business.
  7. Intend to leave the U.S. when his or her business in the U.S. is completed.
  8. Not intend to invest into a marginal enterprise (one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and their family).

How to Apply for E-2

  • Applicants should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or consulate accredited to their place of permanent residence (schedule an appointment for your visa interview).
  • An interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79.
  • Each visa applicant must pay a non refundable $205 nonimmigrant visa application processing fee and a visa issuance reciprocity fee for certain countries.
  • A digital fingerprint scan will be taken before the interview.

Required Documents:

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160.
  • Nonimmigrant Treaty Treaty Investor Application DS-156E.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States.
  • One 2-by-2-inch (5-by-5-cm) photograph.
  • A credible business plan with 5 years projections.
  • A business registration for the United States business.
  • Proof of wire transfer.
  • Proof of legal source of income.
  • Statement of intent to return to your country.
  • Other documents relevant to the case, such as marriage and birth certificates of you and your family members.

Processing Time for the E2 Visa

The processing time for E-2 visas is generally between two and four weeks from the filing of the application, however, it may take longer in some Consular posts. This may vary depending upon the workload in the US Consulate where you choose to apply.


Before committing substantial funds to a business, whether by purchasing an existing business or creating a new one, an investor should seek independent advice, both as to whether the investment is proper, given the investor’s financial situation, and whether the planned investment is likely to qualify for E-2 registration. Applicants should never rely on prospective business partners for immigration advice!

A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States which, however, does not happen often if all the documentation is properly prepared.