The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows nationals of a treaty country (i.e., one with which a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation exists with the United States) to enter the U.S. if they invest a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, they enter for the sole purpose of directing and developing the enterprise, and they intend to leave the United States when their E-2 status ends . 8 C.F.R.§ 214.2(e)(2). Treaty countries may be found on the U.S. Department of State website. The treaty investor can also bring their spouse, and unmarried children (children must be under 21 years of age). The visa is granted for an initial period of two years, and is renewable in two year increments.
Substantial Amount of Capital
Under 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(e)(14), a substantial amount of capital constitutes an amount which is: (i) substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise under consideration; (ii) sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise; and (iii) of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. Generally, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered a substantial amount of capital.
Bona Fide Enterprise
Per 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(e)(13), the enterprise must be a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. The enterprise must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business in the particular jurisdiction in the United States.
Enterprise Not Marginal
The enterprise may not be marginal. Under 8 CFR. § 214.2(e)(15), a marginal enterprise is an enterprise that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. An enterprise that does not have the capacity to generate such income, but that has a present or future capacity to make a significant economic contribution is not a marginal enterprise. The projected future income-generating capacity should generally be realizable within 5 years from the date the alien commences the normal business activity of the enterprise.
Develop and Direct Enterprise
Under 8 CFR § 214.2(e)(16), an alien seeking classification as a treaty investor (or, in the case of an employee of a treaty investor, the owner of the treaty enterprise) must demonstrate that he or she does or will develop and direct the investment enterprise. Such an applicant must establish that he or she controls the enterprise by demonstrating ownership of at least 50 percent of the enterprise, by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device, or by other means.
Treaty Investor Employees
A treaty investor may also bring employees who will also be accorded E-2 status if, per 8 C.F.R. §214.2(e)(3), the employee is in or is coming to the United States to engage in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or, if employed in a lesser capacity, the employee has special qualifications that make the alien’s services essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise. The employee must have the same nationality as the principal alien employer. In addition, the employee must intend to depart the United States upon the expiration or termination of E-2 status. The principal alien employer must be:
(i) A person in the United States having the nationality of the treaty country and maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader or treaty investor status or, if not in the United States, would be classifiable as a treaty trader or treaty investor; or
(ii) An enterprise or organization at least 50 percent owned by persons in the United States having the nationality of the treaty country and maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader or treaty investor status or who, if not in the United States, would be classifiable as treaty traders or treaty investors.
Under 8 C.F.R. §214.2(e)(17), the employee’s position must be principally and primarily, as opposed to incidentally or collaterally, executive or supervisory in nature. Executive and supervisory duties are those which provide the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the enterprise’s overall operation or a major component thereof. In determining whether the applicant has established possession of the requisite control and responsibility, a Service officer shall consider, where applicable:
(i) That an executive position is one which provides the employee with great authority to determine the policy of, and the direction for, the enterprise; (ii) That a position primarily of supervisory character provides the employee supervisory responsibility for a significant proportion of an enterprise’s operations and does not generally involve the direct supervision of low-level employees, and; (iii) Whether the applicant possesses executive and supervisory skills and experience; a salary and position title commensurate with executive or supervisory employment; recognition or indicia of the position as one of authority and responsibility in the overall organizational structure; responsibility for making discretionary decisions, setting policies, directing and managing business operations, supervising other professional and supervisory personnel; and that, if the position requires some routine work usually performed by a staff employee, such functions may only be of an incidental nature.
Do you have questions about an E-2 visa? Please contact a Woodland Hills E-2 visa immigration attorney for a consultation so we can help you obtain an investor’s visa. In addition to Woodland Hills, we provide immigration attorney services in a variety of other areas, including Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Burbank, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Eagle Rock, Encino, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles, Mission Hills, Monterey Park, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pasadena, Reseda , San Fernando , Santa Clarita, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Warner Center, Winnetka, and West Hills. Even if your city is not listed, please don’t hesitate to contact us to see if we can help. Since immigration law is federal, we can help you wherever you live in the United States.