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The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa: An Overview

The E-2 Nonimmigrant Visa allows nationals of a treaty country to travel to the United States and be admitted when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

Dependents such as spouses and children under 21 years old can also receive an E-2 visa based on the principal applicant’s E-2 Treaty Investor visa. Spouses of E-2 visa holders are allowed to work without having to obtain a work permit during the visa validity and both spouses and children can attend school and live in the United States during the validity of the visa.

To qualify for an E-2 visa, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, some examples of treaty countries are:





















United Kingdom


  • Enterprise must be owned (at least 50%) by the treaty country;
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States;
    • Invested: Funds have been put at risk for the E-2 applicant’s enterprise
    • A substantial amount of capital is:
      • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one.
    • Bona fide enterprise means that the enterprise must be real, active, and operating commercial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.
  • Seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise;
    • The applicant must show at least 50% ownership of the enterprise; or
    • The applicant must show possession of operational control through a managerial position
  • The applicant must show that the funds have not been obtained through illegal means; and
  • The enterprise must not be considered “marginal.”
    • A marginal enterprise is an enterprise that does not have the present or future capacity to generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.  An enterprise that does not have the capacity to generate such income but that has a present or future capacity to make a significant economic contribution is not a marginal enterprise

A beneficial aspect of the E-2 visa is that it can be renewed indefinitely; however, it does not provide a path to citizenship.

The validity of the E-2 visa depends on the treaty country. For example, for Mexican Nationals, the visa validly is 4 years. On the other hand, Spanish Nationals qualify for a validity period of 5 years.

The E-2 visa is also available for employees that will occupy an executive/supervisory (managerial) position or possesses skills essential to the enterprise’s operations in the United States.

If you are interested in the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa process, get started by consulting with an experienced business immigration attorney.

By: Felipe Jimenez

Felipe Jimenez is an Associate Attorney at Reddy Neumann Brown PC. He works in the H-1B Department where he assists clients through all phases of the non-immigrant visa process.