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How to obtain an E-2 visa

An E-2 visa is an entrepreneurial visa allowing foreign nationals to temporarily enter the U.S. and develop a for-profit business where they own at least a 50% share and in which they’ve made a substantial investment. There’s neither floor nor ceiling for that investment, but it’s generally thought the minimum to be between $100,000 to $150,000.

Valid for three months to five years (depending on the country of origin), the E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely if conditions are met, though the E-2 nonimmigrant must maintain an intention to leave the United States when the visa has expired.

The E-2 visa is not a path to citizenship. E-2 visa holders can adjust their immigration status, though, by obtaining a

  • Marriage-based green card; or
  • Company sponsored green card; or
  • National interest waiver; or
  • EB-5 visa; or
  • EB1A visa (providing extraordinary ability is presented).

Treaty countries

Only nationals of countries with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation may avail themselves of this visa opportunity.

For these global citizens, there’s an expectation of success. Within approximately five years, the business must succeed. It cannot be marginal. It must create jobs, and not just solely support the investor and his family.

Filing for the E-2 visa

If the investor is in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, they would file Form I-129 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Abroad, the investor would file directly with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

With an expediting fee of $2,500, processing can take as little as 15 days. Otherwise, it may take up to five months.

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