What is an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa and Who qualifies?
E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa for nationals of certain treaty countries who invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Factors taken into consideration are:
- Whether the applicant is a national of a qualifying treaty country; 2) at least 50% of the business is owned by nationals of a qualifying treaty country; 3) applicant is a 50% owner or key employee of the business; 4) the investment is substantial
“50% ownership by nationals of a treaty country” for purposes of E-2 qualification means at least 50% of the business is owned by nationals of the same treaty country. If one of the owners is a U.S. lawful permanent resident, then their ownership is not counted toward the 50% foreign ownership qualification, even if they are nationals of the treaty country.
An owner with a stake of at least 50% in the U.S. company is eligible for E-2. In addition, key employees of the company may also be eligible. A “key employee” for purposes of E-2 qualification, means that they are either in a supervisory/executive role or have specialized skills that are essential to the functioning of the business. Knowledge of a foreign language and culture by itself does not fulfill the requirement of specialized skill.
“Substantial investment” for the purposes of E-2 qualification is not a specific dollar amount. Factors considered are: 1) dollar amount invested; 2) whether amount invested is enough to capitalize business functions; and 3) job creation. The investment should generate returns that go beyond merely providing a minimal income to support the investor and his/her family.
Evidence establishing that the individual applicant and the business meet the nationality requirements includes but is not limited to:
- Passport of applicant
- Passports of all owners
- Organizational chart explaining ownership structure and percentages
Documents supporting the applicant’s status as a qualified executive/employee includes but is not limited to:
- Employment contract
- Letter of support from company verifying executive/managerial role
- Past employment experience letters and resume
- Foreign education evaluation
To prove substantial investment an application may include, but is not limited to the following:
- Escrow documents
- Lease contracts
- Bank records
- Budget sheets
- Purchasing agreements
- Business licenses
- Employment contracts
- Inventory reports
- IRS documents
For an E-2 application, the investment made must be one in which the investor asserts control—not an idle investment such as in stocks or undeveloped land.
E-2 applications can be challenging and time consuming to document. In particular, proving substantial investment can be difficult—familiarity with what the immigration authorities expect to receive as part of a strong application is essential for a favorable outcome. Following proper formatting requirements is crucial as failure to do so can lead to the case being immediately rejected in some consulates. An experienced attorney can ensure that all the elements necessary to qualify for E-2 are properly presented for the best chances of success.
To discuss E-2 petitions and other types of employment based petitions with an experienced immigration attorney from the American Visa Law Group, feel free click the contact us tab and fill out the inquiry form or call us at 510-500-1155.