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Non-Immigrant Visas - E-2 Treaty Investor

The treaty investor is defined as a foreign national who comes to the United States to develop and direct operations of an enterprise in which he has made, or is about to make, a substantial investment.  This non-immigrant status may be accorded to nationals of countries that have the appropriate treaties with the United States.

Generally, the requirements for E‑2 status are as follows:

  1. The foreign entity or individual (the investor) must be establishing or acquiring a U.S. “enterprise.”  There is no definition of enterprise but a corporation certainly qualifies;
  2. The enterprise must have the nationality of the treaty country.  Generally, this means that the enterprise must be at least 50%-owned by the foreign national or a business entity having the appropriate nationality;
  3. The individual or entity must have invested in the United States or be actively in the process of investing;
  4. The enterprise must be a real, operating commercial enterprise;
  5. The investment in the enterprise must be “substantial.”  There is no dollar value which defines substantiality.  Two alternative tests have been applied.  First, the examiner may look at the total value of the particular enterprise in question and determine whether the investment is at least half of the total.  In the alternative, the examiner will compare the investment to the amount normally considered necessary to establish a viable enterprise in the industry;
  6. The investment cannot be “marginal,” i.e. solely to support the individual.  This could be demonstrated by the fact that other individuals are employed in connection with the enterprise; and
  7. The individual or entity must be coming to develop or direct the U.S. entity.  To satisfy this requirement, it must be demonstrated that the individual has effective control over the investment or is working at the direction of a group that does have control.

To establish eligibility for this status, the following information/documentation is generally required:

  1. Articles of Organization for the U.S. entity;
  2. Stock certificates demonstrating at least 50% ownership by a national of the treaty country.  For large publicly-traded companies, this requirement can be met by evidence that the company is traded on the treaty country’s stock exchange;
  3. Background information about the company including a description of the business in which it is engaged, an organizational chart, and a detailed job description of the proposed position and involvement with the company.  Frequently, this information is provided through a preexisting business plan;
  4. Financial information pertaining to the company including financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, and documentation evidencing the treaty investor’s investment in the company;
  5. Evidence that the amount invested by the treaty investor is “substantial” in light of the business of the Company;
  6. A copy of the lease for the company's offices; and
  7. Evidence of nationality of investor, such as a passport or birth certificate.

Ordinarily, an individual applies for E‑2 status at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate because, unlike common work statuses like the “L” or “H-1B,” this status requires no prior approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Of the non-immigrant visas, E‑2 visas may be more favorable because they may be renewed indefinitely as long as the individual continues to fulfill the requirements of the particular status. 

Please contact us or schedule an initial consultation for further information.

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