International Business Law and U.S. Immigration

E-2 Treaty Investors

Nationals of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation may be eligible for E-2 treaty investor classification if they invest a substantial amount of capital in a United States business. Under certain circumstances, employees of such a foreign national, or of a qualifying organization, may also be eligible for classification as E-2 treaty investors.

Requirements for E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

There are three primary requirements for classification as a treaty investor:

  • The person seeking E-2 treaty investor classification must be a foreign national of a treaty country.
  • He or she must have invested, or be in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States. “Investment” means that capital including legitimately-obtained funds or other assets must be placed at risk with the objective of generating a profit. A “substantial amount of capital” is not defined as a dollar amount, but must be substantial relative to the total cost of purchasing or establishing the enterprise; sufficient to ensure the investor's commitment to the success of the enterprise; and large enough to make it likely that the investor will successfully develop the enterprise.
  • The investor must be seeking entry to the United States solely to develop and direct the enterprise in which he or she is investing.

In order for an employee of a treaty investor to qualify for this classification, he or she must be of the same nationality of the principal alien employer, meet the relevant definition of “employee,” and be employed in an executive or supervisory capacity, or have other special qualifications.

The Filing Process for Treaty Investor E-2 Visas

A treaty investor who is currently within the U.S. and who has a lawful nonimmigrant status may file USCIS Form I-129 in order to request a change of status to E-2 treaty investor classification. Foreign nationals who are outside the U.S. may apply for an E-2 treaty investor visa by filing Form DS-160 online. You or your employer will also have to file a DS-156E supplement. DS-160 is completed electronically and is submitted to the United States Department of State, but the DS-156E supplement is a paper form.

Advantages and Disadvantages of E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

E-2 treaty investor visas offer a number of advantages. Investors with this classification can manage a business in the U.S. without needing an employment-based green card or an offer of employment. As a result, the process is often both less expensive and quicker than that for employment-based visas. The initial period of stay with an E-2 visa is two years; however, as long as the applicant meets the criteria for E-2 status, the period of stay may be extended in two-year increments. There is no maximum period of stay, so long as criteria for the visa are met. Spouses and children under the age of 21 may accompany E-2 treaty investors or their employees; family members need not be of the same nationality as the original applicant.

One possible disadvantage of the E-2 treaty investor classification is that applicants must maintain an intention to leave the U.S. when their status expires, or if it is terminated. However, applicants need not maintain a foreign residence as evidence of this intention.

Dearborn EB-2 Employment-Based Visa Immigration Attorneys

Spartan International Law Group's primary office is located in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Arab community in the United States. The firm has a satellite office in Cairo, Egypt, and has cultivated working relationships with law firms throughout the Middle East for our clients' benefit. In addition to our U.S. immigration practice, we have an active International Business practice to serve our clients' needs.

Experience speaks for itself; so do our results. We invite you to contact Spartan International Law Group to learn more about our practice areas, including E-2 treaty investor visas, and our attorneys or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.

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