Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa
The Treaty Investor (E-2) visa is for an applicant whose purpose for entering the U.S. is solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the alien has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise. To determine whether the investment is “substantial” the Department of State employs a relative- proportionality test. Generally speaking, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionally, the investment must be to be considered substantial. For example, if the total investment is $100,000 or less, the E-2 investor should provide 100% of the investment.
The applicant’s funds must be “at risk.” This means that the capital must be subjected to partial or total loss if investment fortunes reverse. Applicants, however, are able to place funds in escrow pending the approval of the E classification provided that there is a legal mechanism that irrevocably commits funds if the application is approved.
Treaty investor applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a treaty investor (E-2) visa. The consular officer will determine whether a treaty investor applicant qualifies for a visa.
- The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
- The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
- The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
- The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
- The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.