The E-2 visa category allows foreign nationals who are citizens of treaty countries to run, operate and manage their own Business / Franchise. 

E-2 Visa Requirements:

 The treaty investor must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation

  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States

  • 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.

  • USCIS provided guidance on extending and changing status during COVID-19. Because many countries have travel restrictions in place, it is likely that H1B laid-off employees cannot return to their home countries during the 60-day grace period. During those 60 days, laid-off H-1B employees can apply for a change of status or an extension of status. If you are a national of an E-2 eligible country, the E-2 visa may be one option  to stay in the United States and to build your own business.

    Franchise Options

    If you are an individual looking to purchase an existing business or franchise. We have seen tremendous success with our Franchise investment E-2s.  Our team also works with reputable Brokers that will provide Franchise Options if desired,  and perform an analysis on potential E-2 qualifying businesses.

What if I am not from a “Treaty Country”?

There are some notable absences in the list of E-2 treaty countries, including China, South Africa, Venezuela, India, and Vietnam. However, our office is working in conjunction with immigration professional throughout the world to provide innovative solution for nationals of countries that are not E-2 eligible.

 Turkey and Grenada to provide a relatively swift path to their citizenship, which in turn will lead to U.S E-2 eligibility.

What about my Spouse & Children?

Your spouse and children under the age of 21 can accompany you to the United States; only the primary investor is required to have citizenship an E-2 eligible country. Furthermore, your spouse can receive Employment Authorization and legally work in the United States at the job of their choosing. Your child is free to attend school. 

A current list of treaty countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce or navigation may be found at: U.S. Department of State Treaty Countries.

 

Employee of a Treaty Investor (An Employee of a Foreign National Owned Business may qualify for an E-2)

An employee of a treaty investor must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)

  • Meet the definition of “employee” under the relevant law

  • Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

If the treaty investor employer is an entity or organization it must be at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country.  These owners must be maintaining non-immigrant treaty investor status.  If the owners are not in the United States, they must be, if they were to seek admission to this country, classifiable as non-immigrant treaty investors

Marginal Enterprise

marginal enterprise is 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 his or her family.

Depending on the facts, a new enterprise might not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate such income.  In such cases, however, the enterprise should have the capacity to generate such income within five years from the date that the treaty investor’s E-2 classification begins.

Period of Stay

E-2 visas are valid for a period of five years and can be renewed with two-year extensions as long as you maintain the necessary qualifications. No maximum limit in E-2 status exists, however, all E-2 non-immigrants must maintain an intention to depart to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

Family Members

Dependent Spouses and Children of E-2 non-immigrants may qualify for E-2 dependent status.  The nationality of the E-2 dependent need not be the same as the treaty investor or employee.

Spouses of E-2 non-immigrants are work authorized through the filing of the Application for Employment Authorization.  If granted, no restrictions apply as to where they may work.