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E2 Treaty Investor Visa Long-Term Stay
2023 Legal standards
E2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E2 Treaty Investor Visa applies if you want to invest a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States (there is no minimum capital requirement). You can apply for the E2 Treaty Investor Visa and receive a long-term (5 years) visa for you, your spouse, and your minor children under 21.
Number of visas issued in 2021: 43,024
Processing Time: 1-40 days (depending on the consulate)
Visa Governmental Fee: $205
Attorney’s Fee: $6,900 (paid in 2 installments $3,900, $3,000)
Immigration Business Plan: $1,800 – $3,000
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11 Things You Need to Know About the E2 Treaty Investor Visa in 2023
- Table of Contents -
1. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Overview
The E2 Treaty Investor Visa nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States.
- First, the investor must invest a substantial amount of capital in the U.S. business.
- Second, a treaty country is a nation with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce or an international qualifying agreement.
- Additionally, an investor, their spouse, and minor children under 21 may obtain multiple entry 5-year visas for stays of no more than 2 years.
- Consequently, they can enter multiple times during the 5 years. Accordingly, the maximum stay for each entry is 2 years for as long as the enterprise is still active.
- Furthermore, certain employees of such a person or a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
2. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Requirements
To qualify for the E2 Treaty Investor Visa classification, the treaty investor must meet the following:
- First, be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
- Second, have invested or be investing substantial capital in a business in the United States.
- Third, seek to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.
- Ultimately, own at least 50% of the enterprise stock, shares through a managerial position, or other corporate devices.
The act of investment is the treaty investor’s placing capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense to generate a profit. The capital must be subject to a partial or total loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.
A substantial amount of capital is:
- First, substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one.
- Second, sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise;
- Third, of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher proportionally the investment must be considered substantial.
An enterprise is a natural, active, operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking that produces services or goods for profit. It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.
3. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - U.S. Investment Treaty Countries
The following countries have signed an investment treaty with the United States of America, and citizens below are allowed to apply under the E-2 category.
Investment Treaty Countries with U.S. – A-B
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belgium, Bolivia, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Bulgaria.
Investment Treaty Countries with U.S. – C-D
Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark.
Investment Treaty Countries with U.S. – E-J
Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan.
Investment Treaty Countries with U.S. – K-N
Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway.
Investment Treaty Countries with U.S. – O-S
Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland.
Investment Treaty Countries with U.S. – T-Y
Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia (Inference to resulting nations).
If your country is not included, apply for an EB-5 Permanent Residence Visa instead, not an E2 visa. However, the value of your investment should be either $500,000 in a US Investment Regional Center project. Notwithstanding, you can also invest $1,050,000 and create 10 jobs or $800,000 in any U.S. designated Employment Targeted Area – ETA.
4. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Capital Requirements and Marginal Investment
What are the capital requirements, or how much should the investor bring to the United States?
There is no specific amount of capital required as long as the investment’s profit is not marginal.
To clarify, a marginal enterprise is one whose profit can only support the investors and their families living in the U.S..
Minimal Living for Marginal Investment
What is the minimal living income for the treaty investor and their family?
The U.S. publishes the Poverty Guideline table that establishes the minimum income bases per number of family members.
USCIS has adopted the ruling that a foreign investment under the E2 visa should exceed the 125% poverty base for that family not to be marginal.
In conclusion, the investment’s profit should be above 125% for the number of persons indicated in the chart. Therefore, if the investment produces or it is projected to produce that profit level, will comply with the marginal condition.
Poverty Guidelines For 2022 these figures are reflective of the 125% rule by household size:
|Sponsor’s Household Size||100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines||125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines|
|Add $4,720 for each additional person and||Add $5,900 for each additional person|
Therefore, identify your household size and the 125% value should indicate your annual minimum profit for your E2 Treaty Investor Project.
5. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Status Terms and Conditions
Generally, a treaty investor or employee may only work in the approved enterprise’s activity. An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:
- Relationship between the organizations is established.
- Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills.
- Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.
Business Substantive Changes
Additionally, USCIS must approve any substantive change in the terms or conditions of E-2 status. A “substantive change” is a fundamental change in the employer’s essential characteristics. The type of change that affects the alien’s eligibility for E classification may be:
- A merger;
- An Acquisition;
- A sale of the division where the alien is employed; or
- Another event affects the treaty investor or employee’s previously approved relationship with the treaty enterprise.
Furthermore, where there has been such a substantive change, the treaty investor or enterprise, if it wishes to continue to employ the alien in E-2 status, must notify USCIS. An employer who no longer employs an E-2 nonimmigrant is urged to inform USCIS of this upon the termination of employment. Notwithstanding, a treaty investor is not required to report non-substantive changes. However, a treaty investor or E-2 employee should seek advice from their lawyer to determine whether a change is considered substantive.
The investor’s spouse and the minor dependents under 21 are entitled to receive derivative E-2 status. Therefore, the dependents may petition to receive Employment Authorization, allowing them to work legally in the U.S.. Accordingly, the dependents can work for the enterprise or any other employer in the U.S.. However, the dependent’s E-2 derivative status will follow the investor’s E-2 status. Consequently, if the Investor’s E-2 status is terminated, their spouse’s and minor dependents’ derivative status will also be terminated.
6. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Immigration Business Plan
E2 Treaty Investor’s Business Plan
The business plan is the most critical element of your application. Specifically, your business plan’s solidity, business sense, and reasonableness make the difference between an approved and denied application.
First, the plan should include financial predictions and detail on how the company will be profitable and successful enough to sustain you (the investor), your dependents, current employees, and job creators during the E-2 visa’s validity period (maximum of five years).
Source of Funds
Second, you must also demonstrate ownership and control of your investment capital in the business strategy. Documentary proof of the source of the funds must be provided in precise form for this purpose.
Third, you must indicate the marketing strategy you will employ in the US. A clear marketing strategy or your activities, plans, and procedures should be delineated. You should include the cost and staff requirements. Additionally, it would help if you had a clear action plan with meetings scheduled or contacts you might use for this purpose. If you already have contracts or letters of intent, you should include them. The more robust these lines of business, the stronger your chances of success and case approval.
Specific Immigration Business Plan
Objectively, the business plan expected by the immigration authorities is much different from the business plan you would draft as an entrepreneur or business decision-maker or the type of plan you would present to a bank. The authorities expect this business plan, in addition to the cash flow analysis, profit and loss statement, and various financial capital budgeting indicators, to include how your investment is in concordance with specific economic development goals as set out by the U.S. Congress, the President of the United States, or any other branch of government. The plan has to address how your investment coincides with the particular immigration strategies and how it attains specific job creation and inclusion-specific policies. Furthermore, your plan must correctly identify census indicators, labor department activity codes, and relevant market demographics.
Most business plans do not meet these requirements. Accordingly, we advise you to either allow us to prepare your plan based on your general strategy. Alternatively, you could select a company that specializes in drafting U.S. immigration business plans. Please ensure that this company will work with you and us concerning the plan deliverables and requirements.
Certain U.S. consulates have application and plan page restrictions and specific checklist items to be included in the submission. For this reason, it becomes paramount for the plan, checklists, and supporting documents to meet their stringent constraints.
Realistic Business Goals
Realistic business expectations are crucial to be presented in the plan. When your application is approved, contemplate the renewal phase (up to 5 years). You will be asked to provide supporting documents, and financial data about how the forecasted business plan has been followed and the performance indicators attained. From this perspective, when you apply to extend your visa, you will be expected to have met or not be significantly under your projected company performance goals.
7. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Investor's Education and Experience
Second to the Business Plan’s clarity comes Investor’s formal education, technical knowledge, and business experience.
It is expected that the investor presents formal education either in the activity to be performed by the enterprise or in general business management. Based on the enterprise’s complexity or industry, the investor should be able to demonstrate a certain level of formal education. There is no specific level of education required, but overall the education level should be above what is generally required in that given circumstance to assure enterprise success.
It is expected that the investor presents technical knowledge or familiarity with the activity to be performed by the enterprise or in general business management. Based on the enterprise’s complexity or industry, the investor should demonstrate a certain familiarity with the activity and enterprise investment vision. There is no specific level of technical knowledge required, but overall the level of expertise should be above what is generally required in that given circumstance to assure enterprise success.
It is expected that the investor possesses some degree of experience in developing the type of business activity or has been part of the technical or management of a similar type of business, or has accumulated practical type experience by completing specific practical experience courses or would be entering into a franchise or business transitioning program.
In no small amount, the U.S. government wishes that you will be successful in developing your enterprise. Your experience corroborated with your business plan form the basis for granting your application.
It is paramount for a file to create the connection between capital at risk, a solid business plan, and an investor’s formal, technical, and practical qualifications.
8. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Capital at Risk
Own Funds / Borrowed Funds
Many of our clients might not have all the funds required to launch their investment in the U.S.. We are constantly asked if funds can be borrowed or if specific assets such as machinery, equipment, intellectual property, and intangibles such as a website, application, or method, can be used and valued accordingly as sources of capital investment.
With respect to liquid capital, the general consensus is that you can use legal sources of funds that are yours (you will have to source the funds (indicate the source of the funds). Furthermore, you can borrow, a portion or the entire amount of your investment as long as you would be personally liable for the return of these funds. A lien on the business may or may not be placed but in general terms you would have to be personally responsible (secured or not secured by specific assets) towards the person or entity giving you the funds. You will have to present the proper instrument (promissory note, mortgage, pledge, etc.) to support your responsibility of repaying the borrowed funds.
Concerning in-kind capital contributions, you can include machinery, equipment, intellectual property, know-how, and any kind of intellectual property, tangible or intangible assets that can reasonably be valued. We will indicate in the business plan how these assets would contribute to the value proposition of your business and how they would aid in the profit generation scheme.
9. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Application Timeline
Every client’s file and situation are different, but in general terms, the following is a timeline of our office processing your case.
- Initial Client Consultation
- Strategy Session
- Office issues checklists
- Complete Client Intake Questionnaire
- Client Completes Draft Forms
- Client Uploads Documents on Portal
- Review Supporting Documents (Credentials, Resumes, Business Expenses if any, Corporate Documents)
- Client submits Business Plan Overview
- Prepare together supporting Memorandum
- Finalize the Final Draft
- Final Joint Review
- Upload/Submit to Department of State
The crucial phase of your application is drafting the Business Plan and ensuring it complies with the USCIS standards.
Based on your documentation, we request that you prepare a business case overview, which would be the basis for our office, or a consultant to prepare your business plan which would be the base for the case memorandum.
Our office will review and prepare the memorandum and finalize your application within 2-3 weeks of receiving all documents.
10. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Processing Times and Fees
For the E2 Treaty Investor Visa, the general jurisdiction is the U.S. Consulate where the applicants are residing (which may be different than their citizenship).
However, if within the United States on an entry other than ESTA, one can apply for a change of status in the United States in which case the application will be processed by USCIS.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) charges the following governmental fees, subject to changes.*
Standard Processing Fee
USCIS Standard Application Fee: $460.00 (See USCIS official processing Fees)
The standard processing time is, on average, 6-9 months. (See USCIS official processing Times)
Premium Processing Fee*
USCIS Premium Processing Application Fee: $1,250.00 (in addition to the standard fee of $700) (See USCIS official processing Fees)
There is the possibility for your case to be processed faster if you pay a premium governmental processing fee of $2500 directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, which will guarantee the processing of your application in only 45 days or sooner (time updated on September 15, 2022).
11. E2 Treaty Investor Visa - Attorney's Processing Times and Fees
Our office charges $6,900.00, payable in two installments ($3,900 at inception and $3,000 at submission), to prepare the E2 petition; this includes the consultations, review, document preparation, memorandum, and file submission to USCIS (a complete file submission).
Our fees are, in general, non-refundable. Still, in cases of E2, we usually offer a money-back guarantee after receiving all client documentation that confirms our requirements and checklists so that clients can rest assured of our services.
In general, it will take us about 1-3 weeks to organize every aspect of your file, review your documents, and write the case memorandum.
From our experience clients typically will dedicate a significant amount of time to securing all the requisite documents which generally takes anywhere from 1-3 months. At all times we communicate with our clients and we offer an online portal where we strive to review documents as they are being uploaded by the clients so that we can spot any elements subject to change.
Our portal is available 24/7/365 and we encourage clients to upload, message, and schedule any case conferences through the portal which consolidates all information in one place.
After the petition is received by either USCIS or the U.S. Consulate there can be 2 decisions – Approval or Request for Additional Information (RFI) for U.S. processing or Request for Additional Information or open to schedule for visa interview. The USCIS procedure does not require an interview.
RFI requests are typical in these cases and are sent on average in about 20-30% of the cases. An RFI can request a more elaborate answer to a question formulated by USCIS for example on experience or proposed endeavor.
We will work with our clients in clearing the first round of RFI free of charge. For any additional rounds of RFI, very uncommon, we will customarily charge based on the complexity and the time needed usually $1,000.
Why Use Our Services
E2 United States Treaty Investor Visa
We also offer a do it yourself package which contains all the official information, forms, adjudicator manual, sample letters, documents, and memorandum should you decide to do it at your own risk.