E2 Visa Requirements to a Success Rate: Approvals and Denials in 2018

Written by: Patrick Findaro
Last Updated: March 6, 2023
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This article is based on a video originally recorded on Visa Franchise Youtube Channel

Are you an entrepreneur or investor interested in relocating to the United States? The E2 visa may be your best option. In this article, we will look into the E2 visa requirements to a success rate. Keep reading!

The E-2 Visa

Did you know that you could get an E-2 Visa to reauthorize your EB-5? Find out more options on this article!

This Visa is a renewable nonimmigrant visa that allows entrepreneurs from a treaty country to invest in a business and move to the U.S. Unlike the EB-5 visa, there is no minimum investment amount for the E-2 visa, but rather depends on the type of the business. Many immigration attorneys recommend an investment of $200,000 or more to increase the chance of approval and to satisfy the substantial investment required for the E-2 visa. Furthermore, it does not require a set number of American jobs created or maintained.

With the E-2 visa, the spouse can work in the U.S., and children can reside and study in the U.S. until they are 21. This visa can be renewed indefinitely so long as the business is doing well. At Visa Franchise we focus on finding the right business for our E-2 clients often prioritizing the security and longevity of the business.

The E2 Visa Has a Lower Investment Amount and a Shorter Processing Time

 E-2 EB-5 
Minimum InvestmentNo set a minimum but generally $200,000$900,000 for TEA $1,8 million for non-TEA
Processing time2 monthsGreater than 18 months (depending on the nationality of birth)
Who is eligible?70+ nationalities where the U.S maintains a treaty of commerce and navigationAny nationality
Type of InvestmentOperating businessRegional Center (passive investment) or operating business
Job creation minimum2+ American jobs10+ American jobs
Term5 years; renewable2 year conditional greencard; permanent greencard dependent on job creation
Ownership stakeAt least 50% ownership in the operating businessNo set minimum

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The E-2 Visa Approval Rate

The E-2 Visa Has a Lower Investment Amount and a Shorter Processing Time

E-2 Visa Approval Rate*Year
89%2018
90%2017
92%2016

*The Adjusted Approval Rate Equals [[1] Minus [[Refusals Minus Overcomes] Divided By [Issuances Plus Refusals Minus Overcomes]]]

In 2018, the E-2 visa success rate was 89%. Despite a minor decrease from 2017, it may be due to stricter requirements for the visa to be obtained through solid business investments.

Its approval rate is higher compared to other nonimmigrant visas. The nonimmigrant visa approval rate from 2014 to 2017 decreased from 85% to 78%. The approval rate decreased from 93% to 89% from 2014 to 2017. The Department of State believes this to be due to the large amount of complex paperwork, that will discourage unqualified applicant from applying.

Based on the U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the top reasons for E-2 visa denials were either because the business was not real and operating or the investment amount was not considered substantial.

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E-2 Visa Denial Rate and Business Fraud

In 2018, the denial rate was 11%. Unfortunately, there have been more fraudulent businesses falsely claiming they will be E-2 visa approved. The USCIS has identified E-2 fraud as a priority after conducting their site visit pilot project in 2018 on fraud risk.

After 252 E-2 site visits, the USCIS confirmed 63 of those businesses (25%) were fraudulent. The majority of the businesses visited were associated with E-2 status extension and certain eligibility criteria.

Of those 63 businesses, 67% were not located where the petition stated and 22% of these enterprises provided mispresented information or fraudulent documents. For example, one E-2 investor submitted a petition in May 2015 for a discount store that was out of business in January 2013.

According to USCIS officials, the most common fraud issues were businesses that were not operational, not engaged in business activities, or were not operating as they claimed in the petition. USCIS will continue its E-2 site visit pilot project into 2020.

Visa Franchise goes through a due diligence process to make sure the businesses we find for our E-2 clients are proven successful while the immigration attorney analyzes the E-2 visa viability.

Countries with the Most E2 Visas in 2018

The top two countries that had the most E-2 Visa issuances in 2018 are Japan and Germany. Many of the Japanese and German E-2 visa approvals are for the manager category for major corporations like Siemens. The majority of these E-2 visas are for E-2 managers that are transferred to work in the E-2 company in the U.S. Through discussions with many immigration attorneys, the other countries mostly represent investor visas applied by individual entrepreneurs that plan to actively run small U.S. businesses.


Some applicants have dual-nationality with an E-2 country through citizenship by investment or citizenship by ancestry.


ContinentE-2 Visa IssuancesPercent
Asia17,32842%
Europe16,56740%
North America4,96012%
South America1,7404%
Oceania4151%
Africa1700,4%

By continents, 82% of E-2 Visas issued came from Asia and Europe. Although North America is only 12% of the total visa issuances, Canada had the 3rd most visa issuances and Mexico had the 8th most visa issuances in the world. The 12 countries with the most E-2 Visa issuances in 2018 also came from the top three continents Asia, Europe, and North America.

Where Do They Move?

The majority of our E-2 clients move to Florida, Texas, and California. Often our European and Canadian clients move to southern states to avoid the winter weather. These states may provide greater educational and economic opportunities for children with overall better quality of life.

How Non-E-2 Treaty Countries Can Obtain an E-2 Passport

eb-2 niw visa

China and Vietnam are not E-2 countries, but foreign nationals from these countries can consider this visa as a faster and cheaper option from the EB-5 through citizenship by investment with E-2 countries like Grenada. Visa Franchise has advised several Chinese Grenadian clients’ on businesses for their visa application.

Conclusion

The E-2 Visa has a higher approval rate relative to other nonimmigrant visas. The majority of its applicants come from Asia, Europe, and North America. Under the Trump administration, immigration has become stricter. It is more important now than ever to find a strong business for this type of visa, especially one that will meet the renewal requirements when extending the E-2 visa after the initial term.

Therefore, it is imperative to work with professionals that will support you throughout the entire E-2 process such as immigration attorneys and business advisors like Visa Franchise.

We have advised 300+ entrepreneurs from over 50 countries around the world to achieve their dream of owning a business and moving to the U.S.

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