The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa. Many countries have treaties with the United States permitting legal non-immigrant status in the U.S. for an investor or trader, or their employees. Both the person receiving the visa (and their employer, if any) must be a national of a country that has such a treaty with the United States.
The investor must make a substantial investment in the United States whereby he or she will own at least 50% of an enterprise that is of benefit to persons other than the investor and his family. The investor’s 50% ownership of the investment/enterprise can be a business the investor starts, or an existing business in which he/she purchases at least a 50% interest. If the investment is owned by a corporation or partnership, majority ownership must be in hands of treaty nationals.
The E-2 investor visa is reserved for nationals of treaty countries. In addition, the families (spouse and unmarried children who are under the age of 21) of the principal investor can obtain derivative E-2 visas. The visa can also be extended to the employees of the actual investor if the employees meet certain requirements.
In order to secure an E-2 visa, it is helpful to have relevant business experience. However, if an applicant has a good business plan that clearly outlines the businesses goals, including operations, marketing, and finances showing precise planning and preparation, an applicant might be able to overcome the deficit of lack of experience. Additionally, ownership of assets will help to show that the applicant has the required funds for an E-2 visa. Loans secured using personal assets might also qualify as a legitimate source of funds.
Initially, a two year visa is granted to persons coming to the United States in the E category. However, this period can be extended in increments of up to two (2) years for each extension, as long as the underlying investment is in existence and the E-2 enterprise remains operational. Although there is no maximum time limit on how long an E-2 nonimmigrant can stay in the United States, they must maintain their intention to depart the country upon the expiry of their then current E-2 visa.