Move to the U.S. through the E2 Visa

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Patrick Findaro
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Published on 13 Feb 2020 Time to read 3 min read Last update on 24 Jul 2023

The E2 investment visa allows citizens of countries with a U.S. treaty of commerce and navigation to live and work in the United States. Under the E2 visa previsions, an E2 visa investor can secure dependent visas for their spouse and children under 21 years old. The spouse is allowed to work in the U.S. And the children can study in public or private schools. The E2 it can be extended without limitations.


E-2 Visa Conditions

To apply for an E-2 visa, the following conditions must be met: 

I. The Main applicant must have a qualifying nationality

Having the nationality of a treaty country is a necessity for each applicant. Partners and children without the nationality of the treaty country are still eligible for the E2 visa as dependents of the applicant. For example, Visa Franchise has had many clients of Italian nationality who have applied for the E2 visa. And they have brought their spouse and children to the U.S. as E2 visa dependents. Even though they only hold Brazilian or Venezuelan passports (neither Brazil nor Venezuela are E2 visa treaty countries).

II. Investment in an American business.

The capital invested for the E2 visa should be sufficient. There is no fixed amount of capital. However, it must be enough to create or develop a business of this type. Visa Franchise recommends minimum investment amounts of around $150,000. The business has a higher chance of being approved if there is a more significant investment in the E2 visa company. In many Asian countries like Korea, China, and Taiwan, the average E2 visa investment is generally closer to $300,000. And approvals can be quite difficult for investments under $200,000. When the main applicant does not speak English fluently, there might be increased expenses for bilingual staff and ongoing professional services (attorneys, accountants, etc.). 

More workers, apart from the investor’s family members, have to be employed by the business and maintain their employment. Managers can either be hired by the applicants, or the applicants can be managers. The applicants have to play a leading role in the company’s direction and actively participate in business management.


Uncertainties and Limitations

In comparison with other methods of immigration, the limitations of the E2 Visa are:

I. Investors need to actively manage business operations or hire a manager. Compared to the EB5 investment visa, that allows for a more passive involvement (oftentimes in real estate). This brings difficulty for most of the EB5 investors with inadequate skills in English and without the necessary know-how of the American culture. Visa Franchise has business options available for E2 investors in need of more operational support given poor English language skills or constraints with being at the business daily given foreign business interests. Also, many Visa Franchise clients have children requiring constant medical attention and these E2 visa investor need operational support to cover unexpected health issues that arise.  

II. Children beyond the age of 21 are not eligible for the E2 visa as a dependent. These children can either apply for an E2 visa in their name. Or have the child apply for another visa (such as an F-1 student visa). We have some clients who will invest in one franchise to start and as the business expands to multiple locations, the adult children later apply for the E2 visa.

Many immigration attorneys consider an E2 Visa as a great first step option for foreign national entrepreneurs in the U.S. It is always advised to consult with a licensed U.S. immigration attorney before deciding on what visa option might be best for you and your family. 

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