What are the requirements for an investor visa in the U.S.? —

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant classification and allows a national of a Treaty Country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

The United States signed the Treaty with 78 countries, allowing foreign investors to obtain E-1 (Treaty Trader) or E-2 (Treaty Investor) visas.

The E-2 Investor Visa is the most popular option for foreign nationals who want to come to the U.S. to invest in an existing business or start their own business. Virtually, any legal activity qualifies for purposes of E-2 Visa classification.

Generally, an investment of at least $ 70,000 is required. However, the law does not set an absolute minimum amount. An E-2 Visa may be obtained even with lower investments, and may be renewed without limitation, as long as the business is active and did not become a marginal enterprise. Anyway, investments below $45,000 would generally be difficult, but not impossible, to get approved.

The showing of a clear path of the lawful source of the funds invested is crucial in any E-2 Visa petition. Failure to prove the lawful source of funds is a common ground for the denial of the E-2 Visa.

The E-2 is a non-immigrant investor visa and does not create a path to U.S. Citizenship, unless the business grows considerably as to qualify for the EB-5 classification. Anyway, a limited form of “dual intent” is recognized for E-2 Visa holders. It is generally granted for an initial period of admission of 5 years (2 years in case of a change of status obtained in the U.S.). There is no limit to the number of extensions that an E-2 Visa holder may be granted.

Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied by their dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age). Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty investor or employee. They generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.  The spouse may be also authorized to work without restrictions. Unmarried children under the age of 21 are not allowed to work.