Should You Apply for an E-2 Visa?

Many types of visas that allow foreign nationals to lawfully reside in the U.S. require applicants to contribute, in some way, to the nation’s economy. Employers sometimes need specialized foreign talent to fill gaps in their workforce. Other times, foreign nationals may use their own money to get a U.S. visa. One of the most popular types of work-based visas is the E-2 visa, or treaty investor visa. Our firm has extensive experience helping applicants secure this dynamic visa.

E-2 visas are only reserved for nationals of certain countries. These countries have treaties with the U.S. for purposes of spurring economic activity. Several dozen countries have the E-2 treaty arrangement with the U.S., with at least one in every continent, save for Australia. This is why E-2 visas are often referred to as “treaty investors.”

Unlike the E1 visa, E-2 visas are self-petitioning, which means E-2 applicants do not need to be sponsored by an employer. This doesn’t mean that you should go it alone; having competent legal advice is essential. Claim your free visa strategy meeting with RelisLaw by filling out this form today.

Making the Investment

The main requirement for E-2 visa applicants is to invest a “substantial amount of capital” in a “bona fide,” U.S. enterprise. Applicants must also show that they either own or have “operational control” of at least 50 percent of the investment enterprise. The investment capital must be considered at-risk, meaning it is subject to at least a partial monetary loss if the enterprise fails.

How Much Should the Applicant Invest?

Contrary to popular belief, E-2 treaty investors do not have to invest a set amount of money. Instead, the investment amount must be “substantial.” The USCIS defines substantial, in this context, to mean:

  • Proportional to the total cost of purchasing a comparable established enterprise or starting a new one;
  • Enough to ensure the visa holder’s financial interests in fostering a successful enterprise; and
  • Significant enough for the enterprise to actually have a good chance of success.

E-2 Visas for Employees

Generally, employees of a bona fide E-2 U.S. enterprise may apply for an E-2 visa. Successful employee applicants must show that they will work in a supervisory or managerial capacity OR that they have specialized skills that are essential to the enterprise. Simply being fluent in English is not enough for employee applicants.


If you have some capital to spend and want to live in the U.S. for a certain period of time (up to five years, which can be renewed without limit if you continue to meet the requirements), the E-2 visa may be right for you. Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get legal status for your employees and immediate family members, as well. RelisLaw has decades of experience helping foreign nationals realize their dreams, and we would be honored to do the same for you. Click here to claim your free visa strategy session to change your life today.

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We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.

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