What Is an E2 Visa? (2023)

Written by: Patrick Findaro
Last Updated by Rocio Somoza: October 25, 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. This article will explain what an e2 visa is and provide information about how it has evolved over recent years, including current news updates.

Visa Franchise can help entrepreneurs and investors achieve their goals of owning a business in the United States. If you are considering applying for an e2 visa, this article will give you the answers you need to get started. Read on to learn more!

What Is the E2 Visa?

The E2 visa, also known as the Treaty Investor Visa, is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to engage in a substantial business venture. This type of visa is granted to individuals who are nationals of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.

The E2 visa is attractive to entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners who want to establish or purchase a business in the United States. The visa also affords business owners the opportunity to work and reside in the U.S., if certain criteria are met. Additionally, the E2 visa holders may bring dependents, such as their spouse and children, to the United States.

what is an E2 visa

Benefits of an E2 Visa

The E2 visa has many benefits for entrepreneurs who are looking to establish or purchase a business in the United States.

One of the major benefits of the E2 visa is that it does not have a permanent residency requirement. As a nonimmigrant visa, the E2 visa allows the visa holder to remain in the United States for an extended period of time, potentially up to five years. Furthermore, the visa can be renewed indefinitely, as long as the criteria for obtaining it are still met.

The E2 visa also allows visa holders to bring family members to the United States. The family members, who are known as dependents, can obtain an E2 visa of their own. Dependents of E2 visa holders are able to work and reside in the United States, although they are not able to work as primary investors.

Additionally, the visa holder is allowed to travel in and out of the United States. This means that the visa holder can leave the United States for business or pleasure without affecting their visa status.

Requirements for an E2 Visa

In order to qualify for an E2 visa, the foreign national must meet certain criteria. The individual must be a national of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. The individual must also be investing a substantial amount of capital in a business, or in the process of establishing a business. The investment must be a real operating enterprise and must generate more than enough income to support the investor and their family.

Specific requirements:

To be eligible for an E2 visa, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Nationality: The applicant must be a national of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.
  • Investment: The applicant must have made, or be in the process of making, a substantial investment in a business enterprise in the United States. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business and must not be marginal.
  • Control: The applicant must have operational control over the business and must have the ability to direct and develop the enterprise.
  • Job Creation: The business must have the potential to create jobs for U.S. workers.
  • Spouses and Dependents
  • Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of E2 visa holders are eligible for E2 dependent visas. E2 dependents may study in the United States but are not authorized to work.
  • Validity Period and Renewal
  • The E2 visa is typically valid for two to five years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the E2 visa holder continues to meet the eligibility requirements and the treaty country of the applicant remains in force.

E2 Visa Approval Statistics

The approval rates for the E2 visa are much higher than other employment or investor visas like the H1-B, L-1 and EB-5. Over the past year, the approval rate fell slightly from 92.51% to 89.43%.

The approval rate includes people who did not receive the approval in the first interview and had to return to the consulate with a revised petition. 

The manager’s E2 visa option is generally harder to obtain than an investor petitioning for himself. Immigration attorneys are often being asked to prove that a U.S. worker could not fill the E-2 visa position.

YearE-2 Visa Approval Rate*
201989.43%
202087.79%
202192.51%
*The adjusted approval rate equals:
[[1] minus [Refusals minus Overcomes]] divided by [Issuances plus Refusals minus Overcomes]

E2 Visa Approvals in The Americas

 

The popularity of the E-2 visa program varies significantly across different countries in the Americas. Canada maintains a consistent level of interest, with 10% growth in E-2 visa issuances over the three-year period. Mexico and Argentina have demonstrated substantial growth, with 18.46% and an impressive 109.70% increase respectively. However, Colombia and Venezuela have experienced significant declines in interest, with both countries seeing a decline of over 80% in E-2 visas issued. Brazil also faced a notable decrease of -36.72%. Chile’s E-2 visa program saw a decline of -58.78%, indicating a significant drop in popularity. Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica also experienced decreases in E-2 visa issuances, with declines of -44.07%, -67.65%, and -60% respectively. Honduras, however, experienced a small decrease of -7.69%, indicating relatively stable interest in the program. These numbers reflect the evolving preferences and economic conditions in these countries, influencing the popularity of the E-2 visa program in the region.

Most of our Canadian clients move to the southern U.S. states of Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, often to escape the harsh winters in Canada. Many are also looking for greater economic and educational opportunities in the United States.

As for Latin Americans, there is a heavy concentration in Florida, Texas and California, and most of them move to the U.S. for better opportunities for their children.

E2 Visa

E2 Visa Issuances in The Americas

Countries20192020202120223 Year Growth
Canada4,2442,5001,8483,81410%
Mexico2,0288382,0441,65418.46%
Argentina536277971,122109.70%
Colombia5171473296-81.49%
Venezuela203572537-81.77%
Brazil2569924162-36.72%
Chile1318522854-58.78%
Ecuador5913633-44.07%
Trinidad and Tobago3418211-67.65%
Jamaica15706-60%
Honduras65265060-7.69%

E2 Visa Approvals in Asia

The popularity of E-2 visas varies significantly across different countries. Among the notable contenders, Taiwan experienced a remarkable surge in E-2 visa issuances, soaring by an impressive 319.25% over the three-year period. South Korea also demonstrated substantial growth, with a 38.69% increase in E-2 visas. Both Japan and China saw steady growth, with Japan experiencing a 15.87% rise, while China’s E-2 visas grew by 30%. Pakistan and Kazakhstan showed commendable progress, with 35.71% and 61.02% growth respectively. On the other hand, Sri Lanka faced a decline of -46.43%, indicating a decrease in E-2 visas issued. Thailand’s growth remained relatively flat, with a marginal decrease of -4.22%. Meanwhile, India exhibited positive growth, with a 23.08% increase in E-2 visa issuances. Overall, these numbers reflect the evolving trends and preferences for E-2 visa opportunities among citizens of these countries

Language barriers can often be an issue for our Asian clients investing in U.S. franchises. We have developed a portfolio of business opportunities that has Chinese-speaking staff (as well as other languages) to support our clients with less advanced English. Often, the franchisor can also provide an operator that speaks the same language as our client to support the ongoing business operations.

E2 Visa Issuances in Asia

Countries20192020202120223 Year Growth
Japan13,6648,65415,83015,00915.87%
South Korea2,5541,9733,5413,38238.69%
Taiwan6423906572,694319.25%
Thailand308122179295-4.22%
Philippines86306915984.88%
Pakistan847610211435.71%
China80424210430%
Kazakhstan5924709561.02%
Sri Lanka2892015-46.43%
India3917114823.08%

E2 Visa Approvals in Europe

The popularity of the E-2 visa varies significantly across different countries. Germany and Great Britain are leading the way, both experiencing substantial growth in E-2 visa issuances. Germany saw an impressive 15.98% increase, while Great Britain faced a slight decrease of -4.02% in the number of E-2 visas issued. France and Spain maintained relative stability, with France experiencing a small decrease of -1.24%, while Spain demonstrated an 11.39% increase. On the other hand, Italy showed a significant decrease of -45.11% in E-2 visa issuances, signaling a notable shift in demand. Sweden and the Netherlands faced substantial decreases of -30.59% and -53.61% respectively, reflecting a decline in interest for E-2 visas.

Denmark, in contrast, showed an impressive 67.66% growth, indicating a surge in popularity. Belgium also experienced a notable increase of 26.20% in E-2 visa issuances. Austria and Poland showed modest changes of 5.74% and -3.43% respectively. Norway faced a significant decrease of -51.68%, contrasting sharply with Ukraine’s impressive 50.88% growth. The Czech Republic and Romania showed declines of -44.12% and a slight growth of 10% respectively. These figures highlight the dynamic nature of E-2 visa popularity across various European countries, influenced by economic factors, legal frameworks, and individual preferences.

E2 Visa Issuances in Europe

Countries20192020202120223 Year Growth
Germany3,0151,4872,315 3,49615.98%
Great Britain and Northern Ireland3,2531,2756323,122-4.02%
France2,9031,2799722,867-1.24%
Italy1,789827730978-45.11%
Spain1,4175837601,57911.39%
Sweden559236211388-30.59%
Netherlands38824379182-53.61%
Ireland31311844257-17.87%
Switzerland301141231269-10.63%
Belgium1878915023626.20%
Denmark22910310638467.66%
Austria2441692752585.74%
Poland204110132197-3.43%
Norway149767773-51.68%
Ukraine5734538650.88%
Czech Republic1367411176-44.12%
Romania100575811010%

E2 Visa Approvals in the Middle East

Is Turkey part of Europe, Asia, or the Middle East? It probably depends on who you ask and perhaps what side of the city you live in Istanbul. E-2 visa issuances have grown 49% in Turkey over the past three years. Many Turkish nationals are moving to Florida and California and investing in a wide array of franchises, including fitness, coffee, and fast casual restaurants. Egypt also grew nearly 50% over the past three years and now has over 100 E2 visa issuances. Egyptian nationals generally have strong command of the English language and invest in service-based franchise (such as commercial cleaning) throughout the United States.

middle east-map

E-2 Visa Issuances in Middle East

Countries20192020202120223 Year Growth
Turkey56018679253-54.29%
Egypt93322347-49.46%
Israel98130304438347.96%
Jordan50471714-72%
Azerbaijan4982247-4.08%
Iran0001Iran did not issue any E-2 visas in 2019, 2020, and 2021. In 2022, one E-2 visa was issued.
Morocco1191210-9.09%
Lebanon6410-100%
Algeria1100-100%
Tunisia558860%

E2 Visa Issuances When There Is No Treaty Brazil, China and India

Many countries, including the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), do not have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. allowing for the E-2 investor visa. With over 30% of our clients being dual nationals residing in countries that do not maintain an E-2 visa treaty with the United States, we have found that just because individuals are from a non-E-2 treaty country it does not necessarily mean that they or their spouses might not have another citizenship that would qualify them for an E-2 visa.

Brazilians and Venezuelans may leverage their European ancestry from such countries as Spain and Italy to apply through their second nationality. We expect many more Brazilians to apply for the E-2 investor visa. For instance, thousands of Brazilians recognize their Italian citizenship every year through their grandparents and great-grandparents. Also, we have clients from countries such as China who acquire a second citizenship through investment (often Grenada). They then make the investment and apply for the E-2 visa with their second passport. 

For those not holding passports of one of the countries eligible for the E2 visa (listed below), they might consider investing for a second citizenship, or possibly have they or their spouse qualify for another passport through ancestry or birth.

E-2 Visa Countries

Countries With A Treaty Of Navigation And Commerce With The U.S.

AlbaniaArgentinaArmeniaAustralia
AustriaAzerbaijanBahrainBangladesh
BelgiumBosnia and HerzegovinaBulgariaCameroon
CanadaChileColombiaCongo – Brazzaville
Congo – KinshasaCosta RicaCroatiaCzech Republic
DenmarkEgyptEstoniaEthiopia
FinlandFranceGeorgiaGermany
GrenadaHondurasIranIreland
ItalyJamaicaJapanJordan
KazakhstanKorea (South)KosovoKyrgyzstan
LatviaLiberiaLithuaniaLuxembourg
MacedoniaMexicoMoldovaMontenegro
MoroccoNetherlandsNew ZealandNorway
OmanPakistanPanamaParaguay
PhilippinesPolandRomaniaSenegal
SerbiaSingaporeSloveniaSpain
Sri LankaSurinameSwedenSwitzerland
TaiwanThailandTogoTrinidad & Tobago
TunisiaTurkeyUkraineUnited Kingdom

Option for Green Card?

Although the E-2 visa does not have a direct path to U.S. permanent residency (green card), there are many ways to obtain a green card in the U.S. such as through the EB-5 or EB-1 visas. It is always advised to consult with a licensed immigration attorney in the beginning, because the investment might qualify the individuals and their families for a U.S. green card in the future.

Development of E2 Visa Over the Past Few Years:

Background:

The Department of State lost between 400 and 500 senior consular officers during the Trump administration, and there really wasn’t a plan to replace them, according to Department of State representatives briefing the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) convention about consular processing of visas in New York recently. Furthermore, because of poor ventilation in foreign consular offices, the Department experienced numerous shutdowns and sick staff when Covid-19 struck, which slowed down processing and created a backlog of E-2 applications awaiting authorization.

Although 500 new officers have been hired by Secretary Anthony Blinken, it will take time for them to become accustomed to the procedure. Officials at the conference forecast that it will take years for the U.S. consular system to return to its previous state before President Trump and the pandemic arrived. E-2 visa applications still take six to eight months to process, even in the better consulates, and in the worst U.S. consulates, no such cases are even being handled.

Recent news:

The E-2 Investor Visa has come under increased scrutiny in recent times, with processing times lengthening, and attorneys had to be creative in serving their clients who were investing in the United States. The Department of State has recently provided updated information regarding the processing of E-2 visas, with appointment slots at most consulates and embassies being based on discretion. As well, some posts have refused to accept E-2 visa applications at all, and visa processing delays have occurred for non-immigrant visas in general. Attorney Jacob Sapochnick has provided a brand-new update from the U.S. Department of State regarding the status of E-2 Treaty Investor and Trader Visas. For those interested in applying, funds and assets must be committed to the enterprise and must be real and irrevocable.

Conclusion

The E2 visa provides a valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors to start or purchase a business in the United States. If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in starting or investing in a business in the United States, the E2 visa may be a suitable option for you.

Who Is Visa Franchise?

Visa Franchise guides investors in identifying and analyzing the best investment opportunities tailored to their specific objectives. The focus of the firm is on franchises that qualify for the E-2 (1) and EB-5 visas (2). Visa Franchise is the trusted advisor of clients from all over the world, helping them find the business opportunity that best meets their investment and immigration goals. Takes into consideration their capability, experience, and size of investment to ensure that they choose the best possible option for their unique, individual situation. Visa Franchise is based in Miami, Florida with offices throughout the U.S. and world.