E-2 visa is an investment based nonimmigrant visa, which allows permits a citizen of a U.S. treaty country to live and work in the USA by investing in a new or existing U.S. business. Under E-2, An investor has the opportunity to start a business in the US as a foreign entrepreneur. This visa is only available for investors from specific Treaty Countries including Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Taiwan, and Ethiopia.

The investment can be made into any business in the US and the investor is allowed to work and live in the US but they are restricted to their specific business. E-2 visa holders can travel freely in and out of the US and the investor’s dependents are also covered under the E-2 treaty. They may be allowed to work in the US through an Employment authorization document.

Table of Contents

What is an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant investor visa for foreign individuals from treaty countries seeking to operate a business in the United States. A treaty country refers to a foreign nation with any of the following.

  • Maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.
  • Maintains a qualifying international agreement.
  • Designated a qualifying country by law.

The E-2 Visa is available to foreign nationals from treaty countries that include the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Argentina, and Ethiopia. Countries with no treaty with the US for the E2 Visa include India, China, Vietnam, Kenya, and Dubai.

this is different from EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa.

What are Non-Marginal Enterprises?

The enterprise must generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the entire family on the visa. In the case of a start-up, it should be able to generate such income within five years.

What is the Period of Stay under E-2 Classification?

Qualified treaty investors will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 non-immigrant may be granted. All E-2 non-immigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated. There is a different classification for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI Investors).

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What are the main Terms and conditions of E2 Status?

A treaty investor may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted.

Dependents, Family and Employees

  • Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities do not need to be the same as the treaty investor.
  • These family members may seek E-2 non-immigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the investor. Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for work authorization. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work.

Who can Apply for an E-2 Visa while present in the USA?

If the investor is on a legal non-immigrant visa, they may apply for a change of status through Form I-129 Further read Change My Nonimmigrant Status

What are the Requirements for an E-2 Visa?

Here are the basic requirements for an E-2 Visa.

  • Be a citizen of a country that has signed a treaty with US.
  • Requires investor’s investment be typically over US $150K with minimum 50% ownership.
  • Move to USA to establish and manage the business.
  • Generate significant returns for investors and economy – employing US workers.
  • Funds must be “at risk”

See details of E2 Requirements

How does this apply to your Situation?

Get info on E-2 Visa Business Opportunities!

How does an E-2 Visa Work?

The E2 Visa requires a foreign national to invest substantial capital in a new or existing U.S. business. The E2 Visa holder should be directly involved in managing and operating the US business. The E-2 Visa is valid for 3 months to 5 years depending on the country of origin. The E2 Visa can be extended indefinitely. 


What are the Benefits of the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa has these benefits for foreign investors and their dependents (spouses and minor children under 21).

  • Conduct business legally in the US. You can be employed by the same US business that you invested in. 
  • Travel freely in and out of the US. You can travel in and out of the US as long as your E2 Visa remains valid.
  • Obtain an E-2 Visa for your dependent spouse and children below 21 years of age. Your spouse can work in the US with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Your children can attain US education as a dependent on the E-2 Visa.


What are the Risks of the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa carries the following challenges and risks that a foreign investor should consider.

  • Investment risk. The E-2 Visa requires substantial investment made prior to the submission of the petition. 
  • Qualifying US treaty. Only countries with a treaty agreement can apply for the E2 Visa.
  • Business operations. The foreign investor should actively run the US business and ensure that it is earning.

What is the Processing Timeline for E-2 Visa?

The processing time for an E-2 visa depends on the investor’s location. For an Investor present in the USA, the average time is 5 months. Premium processing time is 15 days for $2,500. For outside of the US, E2 visa processing time through a Consulate varies from 2 weeks to 4 months.

Details on USCIS E-2 processing times

USCIS resume premium processing for I-129 petition

How much does an E-2 Visa Cost?

Minimum investment amount is typically over US $150,000. For investor present in USA – Form I-129 fee $460 (Form I-539 – $370 per dependent), 15 days premium processing at $2,500. Investor in Home-country – $205 fee per DS-160 form. Lawyer’s charges, Business entity formation costs.

Details of Investment

How to Apply for an E-2 Visa?

The order and manner of the E2 Visa application vary depending on the U.S. embassy or consulate. Consult the guidelines posted on the website of the Embassy or Consulate to which you are applying. 

The E-2 Visa application involves 7 steps.

  1. Fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160).
  2. Upload your photo when filling out Form DS-160.
  3. Pay the application fee and print out the receipt.
  4. Wait for an electronic confirmation after completing the online application.  Print the confirmation sheet, as you will need this along with the receipt for your interview at the consulate or U.S. embassy. The confirmation sheet has a barcode so immigration officials can easily find your application.
  5. Schedule an interview with the US embassy or consulate in your area.
  6. Complete the required documents for the E2 Visa application.
  7. Attend the visa interview in the designated US embassy or consulate.

You will be required in some instances to print and complete the Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application. This form enables you to describe your business plan and investment prior to your interview.

How Long is the Process of E-2 Visa?

The processing of an E-2 Visa depends on the applicant’s location. The average processing period for foreign investors present in the U.S. is 5 months. The average processing time for foreign investors outside the US can take between 2 weeks to 4 months. The optional premium processing speeds up the processing time to 15 calendar days.

What are the Interview Questions for an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 interview questions from the consulates differ based on the area, the internal operating protocols of each consulate, and the number of E2 Visa applications. The following are 5 of the most frequently asked questions for an E-2 Visa application.

  1. What business do you intend to invest in?
  2. How much capital have you invested in this enterprise?
  3. How did you meet your business partners (assuming you have any)?
  4. How many employees do you plan to hire? How much will you pay them?
  5. Where do you anticipate the company to be in five years?

It is imperative that you provide honest answers during the interview for the E2 Visa to reduce the possibility of your application being rejected.

What are the Statistics on E2 Visa Approval?

The E-2 Visa has a higher acceptance rate compared to other nonimmigrant visas at 89%. Below is the list of the top 10 countries with the highest number of E2 approvals.

Countries 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Japan 13,609 14,360 13,399 13,664 8,654
Germany 4,329 4,367 3,807 3,025 1,487
Canada 3,004 2,854 3,254 4,244 2,500
France 3,199 2,857 3,081 2,903 1,279
Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2,969 2,862 2,740 3,253 1,275
South Korea 2,020 2,126 2,361 2,554 1,974
Italy 2,054 1,911 1,799 1,789 827
Mexico 2,621 2,438 1,578 2,028 838
Spain 1,522 1,402 1,312 1,417 585
Taiwan 463 561 585 642 390
Others 8,453 8,035 7,265 7,777 3,687

What are treaty countries?

E-2 visa treaty countries are countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. Nationals of treaty countries must be coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; or develop and direct the operations of a business in which the investor has invested a substantial amount of capital.

The E-2 Visa is applicable to foreign nationals from treaty countries. Taiwan, Denmark, Egypt, Mexico, and Pakistan are examples of Treaty Countries that are eligible for the E2 Visa.

Foreign investors from non-treaty countries are ineligible for the E-2 Visa. United Arab Emirates, El Salvador, Peru, Vietnam, and Nigeria are examples of countries with No Treaty Agreement with the United States.

Non-Treaty countries list

Citizens of non-treaty countries can qualify to apply for an E-2 visa through one of two ways. Either by taking up the passport/citizenship of a treaty country or derivatively i.e. if the applicant investor is married to a citizen of a treaty country, they may be eligible to apply for an E-2 visa.

List of countries with no treaty for US E-2 Visa:

  • E-2 Investor VisaIndia
  • China
  • Vietnam
  • Dubai
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Nepal
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Riyadh
  • Bahrain

What are the Differences Between the E-2 Visa and the EB-5 Visa?

Both the E-2 Visa and the EB-5 Visa permit foreign nationals to invest in a US business. The EB5 Visa is an immigrant visa that is not restricted to treaty countries. The following are the key differences between the E2 Visa and EB5 Visa.

E2 Visa

  • Must be a citizen of a nation with whom the United States has a trade and navigation treaty.
  • Must invest a substantial amount of capital, or be in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital, in a legitimate enterprise in the United States.
  • Does not require the investor to create a minimum number of jobs. 


EB-5 Visa

  • Does not have a nationality requirement. Citizens from any country can apply for an EB5 investor visa. 
  • Requires a minimum amount of $800,000 invested in a new firm located in a targeted employment area. 
  • Must be capable of creating 10 full-time jobs for qualified Americans in the new business entity.


What are the Differences between the E-2 Visa and the H1-B Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant investor visa intended for citizens of countries that has a treaty agreement with the United States. The H-1B is one of the nonimmigrant visas that is based on employment for foreign workers in the United States. The differences between the E2 Visa and the H1-B are the following.


E2 Visa

  • Must be from a country that has a treaty agreement with the United States. 
  • Must have invested or is in the process of investing a considerable amount of capital in a legal U.S. business.
  • Must seek entry into the United States in order to create and manage the investment firm. 

H1-B Visa 

  • Requires the applicant to have a job offer from a U.S. firm for a specialty-required position.
  • Requires the applicant to have a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.  
  • Needs sponsorship from a U.S. employer.

How Long Can I Stay in the US with an E-2 Visa?


The E-2 Visa is valid for 3 months to 5 years depending on the country of origin. The E2 Visa can be extended indefinitely. 

Can I Work on an E-2 visa?


A foreign investor or employee can only engage in the activity for which his or her E2 categorization was granted. There are conditions that the parent firm must meet.


  • Relationship is established between the organizations;
  • Employment in a subsidiary capacity necessitates executive, supervisory, or essential abilities.
  • Other terms and conditions of employment remain unchanged.


An E2 employee can work for the parent firm or a subsidiary of the treaty organization.

Can an Immigration Lawyer Speed Up the Process of an E-2 Visa?

No, an immigration lawyer (attorney) cannot speed up the E2 Visa process. What an immigration lawyer (attorney) does is provide comprehensive services for migration, citizenship, business immigration issues, and the process for obtaining work. An Immigration Attorney helps avoid issues that can cause delays in your E2 Visa application.

Businesses for Sale to Investors

Though it depends on each investor’s interest in terms of the type of business. An investor could opt for investing a substantial amount in Multinational corporations or buying Franchises, restaurants, consulting business or purchase an existing business. As long as a substantial investment is made in the business by the investor it can qualify. As mentioned above some of the popular businesses are franchises/restaurants/consulting businesses which will help the US economy. Also see the U.S. Department of Commerce website SelectUSA

Is E-2 a dual intent visa?

E-2 visa is a dual intent Visa. A dual intent visa allows a foreign national to have two intents, one to enter the United States as a non-immigrant i.e. on a temporary basis while also having the option of remaining in the US permanently through an immigrant visa category.

Can I convert an E-2 Visa to Green Card?

 Yes, you can apply for a green card with an E-2 Visa by changing your status to an immigrant visa.

  1. EB-5 investor visa thru Direct or Regional Center Investment
  2. Green Card through your spouse’s Employer.
  3. EB1A immigrant visa for people with extraordinary abilities
  4. National interest waiver (under EB-2 visa for advanced degree professionals)
  5. E-2 Employee to green card through marriage.

See details on how to obtain Green Card from E-2 Visa

EB5 BRICS is here to help guide you to citizenship through investment. We have helped many families successfully navigate the E-2 immigration landscape. Make an appointment for a one-on-one meeting with Vivek Tandon, Esq, a US Lawyer and Investment Banker.

Can I Change to an EB-5 Visa from E-2 Visa?

Yes, you can change to an EB-5 Visa from E-2 Visa to get a USA Green Card through investment. Transitioning to EB-5 Visa from E-2 Visa is done by increasing your direct investment to meet the minimum EB5 investment amount or investing in a regional center project.  Changing to an EB-5 Visa from E-2 Visa lets you stay and work permanently in the United States with your family. You will no longer be subject to nonimmigrant visa validity rules and you are free to work anywhere and engage in other business opportunities as an investor in the US.

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Phone: +1 213.344.5941
E-mail: vivek@eb5brics.com

FAQ for Business Investor Treaty Visa 

How much investment is required for an US treaty visa?

The minimum investment is not defined however it has to be a substantial amount to support the investors expenses in the US and the investor must have 50% or more share of that business.

Am I eligible for the E2 business investor program?

If you are a resident of a country which has signed the E-2 treaty with the US and willing to invest in the US then yes you are eligible.

Can a spouse work under my non-immigrant visa status?

Spouses of E-2 visa holders are able to work in the US only once they apply for work authorization by filling form I-765, if approved they are allowed to work in the US.

How long does it take to get it?

The estimated timeline is 2-4 months. However it depends which country to maybe apply from.

Can you work in the USA with an E2 visa?

Yes you are eligible to work in the US but only the business that you have invested or if you are an employee at the organisation which sponsored your E-2 visa

What businesses qualify for the investment?

There is no specific list of businesses under the E-2 treaty. As long as the investor has made a significant investment in a business and is approved by the US citizenship and immigration services.

What happens when my visa expires?

The E-2 visa holders are allowed to renew their visas. The extensions are granted for 2 years and there are no restrictions on the number of extensions available to the E-2 investors.

What happens if the visa is denied?

If the E-2 petition is denied there the investor is left with 2 options. The options are filing a motion to reopen and a motion to reconsider. This will allow the applicant to get another chance.

How long does it take to get Grenada citizenship in order to get the US Business Treaty Visa?

The ideal timeline is 3-4 months post the filling of the petition and making the investment.

  1. E-2 Visa
  2. Bureau of Consular Affairs. Treaty Countries. United States Department of State.
  3. Fees for Visa Services – E-Treaty Trader/Investor
  4. Treaty Trader and Investment Visa U.S. Department of State
  5. Link to DS-156E Fillable Visa Application Form
  6. Title 8 of the CFR deals with “Aliens and Nationality”
  7. Electronic Visa Application Forms and other Employment Based Forms
  8. Work Authorization
  9. For Current Fees, see Department of State website
  10. For Employment and Study, read Treaty Investors (E-2)