An E2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa for foreign entrepreneurs or investors to enter and working inside of the US-based on a substantial investment in a bona fide business. The entrepreneur/investor must be from a country that has a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States.
Individuals with E2 visas can work legally in the company that they are investing in, travel freely in and out of the United States, and be accompanied by dependents under 21, relatives and spouses.
E2 visas are valid for up to five years and can be renewed with two-year extensions for as long as the individual maintains the necessary qualifications.
There are several qualifications the investor must meet in order to obtain and maintain an E2 visa. The investor must be from one of the E2 treaty countries. The investment must be substantial to the business, such as being enough for a startup to begin and operate the business. The enterprise that the investor is investing in must be offering tangible goods or services and the investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. The investor is only allowed to work for the employer or business that acted as his/her E2 visa sponsor.
Individuals who are applying for an E2 visa will need to provide evidence that the enterprise being invested in is a bona fide enterprise: “a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.” Documentation that can be used as evidence includes tax returns, financial statements, lease agreements, vendor agreements, quarterly wage reports, and a notice of assignment of an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
In order to apply for an E2 visa, you must be a citizen of an E2 treaty country. If one is a legal permanent resident of one of the treaty countries, he/she cannot apply. One does not need to currently be living in the treaty country as long as he/she is a citizen there. There are currently 78 E2 countries.