You may be eligible for an E-2 visa if you invest a substantial amount of money in a new or existing U.S. business. You must be from a country that has a treaty of commerce with the United States or a country designated by Congress as eligible for participation in the E-2 nonimmigrant visa program. For a list of treaty countries, visit the Department of State website.
USCIS defines an E-2 investment as the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of establishing a new business venture, or purchasing a pre-existing business. In either scenario, you must demonstrate that the capital you are investing is substantial.
Initial period of stay in the United States: Up to 2 years. May extend or renew the period of stay in 2 year increments.
Ownership and Control over the business
For E-2 visa, you have to show that you own 50% or more of the enterprise or that you have operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.
Bona fide enterprise
You need to invest in a bona fide new or existing business. A bona fide enterprise is one that is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. The enterprise cannot be an idle investment held for potential appreciation in value, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to direct the enterprise.
A marginal enterprise is one that will not generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for you and your family or to make a significant economic contribution.
Investment must be at risk
You must demonstrate that the capital you invest is irrevocably committed to the enterprise and subject to partial or total loss in the event that the entity fails. This means that you cannot provide a loan to the business with the expectation of return. In addition, the capital that you invest cannot be passively held in the bank account. You need to show that the money is used for operational expenses, set up of the business, etc. The funds you invest must also be your own.
Investment may not be marginal
Additionally, the invested funds must be substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise you are considering. The amount of investment largely depends on the nature of the business.
Source of Funds
You must show a clear and legitimate path regarding the source of the capital you will be investing. You must also demonstrate that the funds you are investing have not been obtained through criminal means.
You are coming to the U.S. to Direct and Develop the Business
You must show that you will develop and direct the investment enterprise by demonstrating ownership of at least 50 percent of the enterprise, or by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices
Family of E-2 Visa Holders
The spouses of E-2 nonimmigrants are authorized to engage in employment upon application to USCIS and receipt of an employment authorization document (EAD)