E2 Visa (Investors and Employees)
The E2 visa is available for application from non-immigrants to enter the US when they are investing a substantial amount of money in a US business. Employees for the investment company may also be allowed to have an E2 visa to assist with the investment process e.g. advising on the investment. Only citizens from countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the US are eligible to apply for this type of visa.
To be eligible for the E2 visa, the applicant must provide proof that they are visiting the US for the sole purpose of investing money and one of the requirements is that the investment must be considered to be a risk, in terms of commercial profit or loss.
Generally, an investment of at least $100,000 would be classed as a substantial amount of investment but there are circumstances where E2 visa applications have been approved despite the sum being less than this.
Where the investment is part of a new start-up the investment amount must be considered to be enough to start and operate the business.
This type of visa is valid for up to 5 years but if the investor only requires a short trip for investment purposes, they may be able to apply for an ESTA instead, which is a simple online form application that provides entry to the US for up to 90 days. Only citizens from Visa Waiver Program countries able eligible to apply for the ESTA visa.
Dependents of E2 visa holders
For spouses and children aged under 21 they can obtain a derivative E2 visa to join the visa holder on their visit to the US. They must be citizens of a country that has a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the US.
Application for E2 visa
The online DS-160 form should be completed and also the non-immigrant treaty trader/treaty investor application form DS-156E, which will be required to be signed by the appropriate company personnel. The applicant will be required to provide a credible business plan, US business registration, proof of income and proof of wire transfer. They will also be asked to provide evidence of their intent to return to their country of origin.
For most applicants, an interview will be required at the US Embassy in their home country as part of the application process. Once the interview has taken place, the application will be processed and the E2 visa issued as long as the Embassy approves the application. It can take up to 4 weeks for the processing of the application, depending on how busy the consulate is at the time of application.