E2 Visa | Countries Eligible for Treaty Investors
The E-2 visa was designed for individuals from certain treaty countries to make financial investments in U.S. businesses and come to the U.S. to direct and develop their businesses. These countries have a treaty of Commerce and Navigation with the U.S. The E-2 visa is an excellent option for U.S. franchises as visa applications based on these types of businesses tend to have a higher approval rate. The E-2 visa can be issued up to 5 years, though is determined by the consulate officer and the reciprocity schedule with the applicant’s country and the U.S.
Consular Officer Determines E-2 Visa Length
For the majority of countries, the visa may be issued for 5 years and most of the time the E-2 visa applicant receives the full 5 years. However, the consular officer may issue the visa for a shorter period (often 2 years). The consular officer might have doubts in the investor’s ability to follow through on the business plan and hire American workers. After 2 years, the E-2 applicant must return to the consulate and demonstrate he followed the business plan at which time the investor is generally issued a 5-year extension. Compared to franchises, startup businesses have more variables in the business plan which might make it difficult to secure the renewal.
Country Reciprocity Determines E-2 Visa Length
The length of time an E-2 visa is issued for is also dictated by the reciprocity schedule between the U.S. and the applicant’s country. The reciprocity is based on the maximum amount of time a non-immigrant visa (such as the E-2 visa) can be issued for. The majority of countries have a 5-year validity, but some countries only have 3 months! When a visa is valid only for 3 months, this represent the period of time the investor has to enter the U.S. after the visa is issued. Once the applicant enters the U.S., he is entitled to 2 years under E-2 status to direct and develop his business. The investor can renew his status with USCIS indefinitely or if the investor leaves the U.S. after the 3-month period, he needs to renew the visa at a U.S. consulate.
Visa vs. Legal Status
A visa determines the investors ability to enter the U.S. while U.S. policy and regulations determine how long the investor can reside legally in the U.S. For the E-2 visa, the government states the investor is entitled to 2 years on E-2 status as long as they are operating the business and do not leave the country.
For a U.K. national with a 5-year E-2 visa, he must travel outside of the U.S. before his 2-year status lapses. Then, when he returns the U.S., he is entitled to 2 more years on the E-2 status.
Less than 12-month E-2 Visa Countries
For E-2 visa investors from countries where the reciprocity schedule is less than 12 months, it is important to work together with your immigration attorney on a mid to long-term strategy. Some investors will seek the EB-5 visa through a direct franchise investment as a more permanent solution (more info here). The following countries have E-2 visa terms less than 12 months:
- Azerbaijan (3 months)
- Bahrain (3 months)
- Bangladesh (3 months)
- Congo – Brazzaville (3 months)
- Congo – Kinshasa (3 months)
- Egypt (3 months)
- Iran (3 months)
- Jordan (3 months)
- Kyrgyzstan (3 months)
- Moldova (3 months)
- Ukraine (3 months)
- Ethiopia (6 months)
- Oman (6 months)
- Thailand (6 months)
E-2 Visa Countries
Below is a list of E-2 visa countries with the corresponding reciprocity schedules. Always check directly on the U.S. State Department Website (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html) for the latest schedule.
|Country||Validity Period||Number of Entries|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||12 Months||Multiple|
|Congo – Brazzaville||3 Months||One|
|Congo – Kinshasa||3 Months||Two|
|Costa Rica||60 Months||Multiple|
|Czech Republic||60 Months||Multiple|
|Korea (South)||60 Months||Multiple|
|Sri Lanka||36 Months||Multiple|
|Trinidad & Tobago||60 Months||Multiple|
|United Kingdom||60 Months||Multiple|
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 visas (1). Visa Franchise is the trusted advisor of clients from all over the world when it comes to 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.