E2 Visa — Ultimate Guide from Application to Approval

Pro Business Plans
Jun 27, 2019 · 7 min read

Last Updated: 3/30/2021

Purpose of the E2 Visa

An E2 Visa allows a foreign investor from a country that holds a treaty with the United States to live in the United States legally if they are willing to invest a substantial amount of money in a business venture where they own a controlling interest (more than 50% of the business). This Visa grants the holder the possibility of staying for a long period of time as a resident, as long as the business venture continues to operate within the parameters required by the visa.



· The length of the E2 visa is basically unlimited, as long as the conditions initially required for approval still remain.

· It allows the investor to bring his family along under the same E2 Visa.

· The investor has the freedom to engage in a wider range of business ventures, as long as they are in good standing and the amount invested is substantial enough to comply with the visa requirements.

· The E2 visa allows the holder to travel abroad without endangering his status.

· More than 75 countries hold a treaty with the U.S. that allows its citizens to apply for E1 or E2 Visas.


· It requires that the investor must be a citizen from a country that holds a treaty with the United States.

· The investor must be actively engaged in the business’ operations; therefore, passive investing is not permitted.

· An E2 visa investor and his family are allowed to live in the United States only as long as the business remains operational if the business fails they must leave the country, even though the E2 visa may still be valid.

· The investor is only allowed to work in the business listed on the E2 Visa application.

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Visa Requirements

· Be a national of a country that holds a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.

E2 Visa Countries

o Here you can find a list of all the countries that currently hold a commerce and navigation treaty with the United States.

· Invest, or actively engage in the process of investing, a substantial amount of money in a bona fide business established in the United States.

o A substantial amount of money invested is defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department as:

§ Substantial in relationship to the total cost associated with purchasing an established enterprise or start a new one.

§ Sufficient as to ensure the investor is financially committed to its success.

§ Of a size that increases the likelihood that the investor will invest himself into successfully develop the enterprise.

o A bona fide business refers to a real enterprise that is engaged actively in commercial activities with the purpose of producing a profit.

o Marginal enterprises, understood as businesses that are very unlikely to generate a sizable income for the investor and his family, are not eligible in most instances for an E2 Visa.

o By rule of thumb, an investment smaller than $100,000 is often not considered substantial enough to grant an E2 Visa.

· Possess a controlling interest (50% or more) of the business you are investing in or act as an executive officer of such business.


E2 Visa holders are initially granted a one or two-year maximum initial stay period. They can apply for an extension before that initial period ends, and, as long as the conditions for the E2 Visa are still met, the extension is commonly granted. Extensions may last up to 5 years and E2 Visa holders can apply for as many extensions as they need as long as the business listed for the E2 Visa remains operational.

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Application Requirements

Required Documentation

The following forms must be filed to apply for an E2 Visa:

· Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

· Valid passport with at least 6 months left before its expiration date.

· Evidence that a business has been established or purchased.

· Evidence that supports the lawful source of the funds employed for the investment.

· New companies must provide a 5-year business plan.

· Existing companies must provide past records to prove their solidity.

Processing time

It takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks for the USCIS to process an E2 Visa application. On the other hand, the process can be expedited if the candidate applies for premium processing, by paying a fee of $1,410 (updated on Oct. 1, 2018). In this case, the USCIS guarantees that the Visa application will be reviewed and responded to within 15 calendar days after Form I-907 is received.

Application Process

E2-Visa Process

Renewal Process

The renewal process for your E2 Visa is fairly simple. Nevertheless, the most crucial part of it is that you can demonstrate that you have been able to accomplish, at least to some extent, the goals you set previously on the business plan you filed on your E2 application.

These are the basic requirements for the renewal of an E2 Visa:

a. File a form I-129.

b. You must provide evidence that the business plan you initially presented on your application is on track in terms of job positions created and financial goals.

c. You must provide evidence that the business is real and it is operating.

d. Pay a filing fee of $406.

e. Pay a biometrics fee of $85.

Get a Free Consultation with an E2 Visa Expert at: Pro Business Plans

Tips for A Good E2 Visa Application

Here is a summary of a few tips for those who wish to apply for an E2 Visa shared by Jacob Sapochnick, an experienced immigration lawyer.

Immigration Attorney

1. Make sure the business entity you use for your E2 Visa application is properly set up.

Incorporating a legal entity in the United States is often easy, yet for a foreigner, looking for counseling on this matter, especially if the business entity will be used for a visa application, is advisable.

2. Pick the right legal structure for the business.

The form of association you pick for your business will affect how liable you are personally for the business financial commitments and operations and also the degree to which taxes affect you and the business individually. For this reason, picking between a Limited Liability Corporation, a sole proprietorship or a Limited Partnership is an important decision to make.

3. Be realistic with the expectations and goals you set on the business plan you file for your E2 Visa.

Remember that once your first E2 Visa expires, you have to apply for a renewal. The officer in charge of evaluating your application for renewal will assess how far you have advanced in accomplishing the goals you set on your initial business plan. Any significant deviations may pose a problem and you’ll have to carefully explain the exact reasons why these deviations have taken place. Be realistic in setting those goals.

4. Disclose the source of the funds invested on the business you plan to file on your E2 Application

The United States has a strict policy against money laundering. Your E2 Visa application must include a statement and proofs disclosing the exact source of the funds you are employing to invest in the business related to the E2 application. If the source of it is somehow difficult to explain you must find a way to put that affair in order before you submit your application to avoid being denied because of undisclosed information regarding the source of the funds.

Tips for Hiring an Immigration Lawyer for your E2 Application

Picking an attorney who specializes in immigration law is essential to make sure your needs and doubts are well served and your application process is carried on adequately. Here are a few tips we have compiled for you to help you in this endeavor:

1. Check the law firm with its local Bar Association.

All states within the United States have a Bar Association that can inform you if any formal claims have been filed against a certain lawyer or law firm. You can call them or pay them a visit before you commit any money to your prospective legal counselor. You can find a list of all State Bar Associations in the United States here.

2. Check if the lawyer or law firm is a part of the American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA)

Immigration law is a specialized field and your lawyer must be an experienced professional in this area of expertise to make sure you are getting counsel from someone who knows the caveats of the application and approval process. The AILA can confirm for you if any particular lawyer is an active member of the association.

3. Check your lawyer with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The BBB tracks the performance of several business entities and you can browse your prospective law firm through their directory to make sure they don’t have any significant claims that may indicate they may not serve as proper counselors.

4. Know which questions to ask.

There are dozens of useful articles on the internet that you can read to develop a list of valuable questions that you may ask your prospective immigration lawyer to make sure he’s the right candidate for the job. Google your way to a great first interview.

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