Investors

E2 Visa: Everything You Need to Know

The E2 visa is a temporary work visa for investors who have contributed money to a new or existing U.S. business and will be creating jobs. In this comprehensive E2 visa guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about the E2 visa requirements, processing time, and costs.

Chelsea Spinos, Writer
Simon Craven, Manifest Immigration Lawyer

By:

Chelsea Spinos

Chelsea Spinos is a contributing writer for Manifest Law. She covers all topics related to U.S. visas and green cards. She is passionate about helping people navigate their immigration journey with clarity and confidence.

Reviewer:

Simon Craven, Esq.

Simon Craven is an immigration attorney with 11+ years of experience working on thousands of successful immigration cases. Simon is passionate about US immigration and helping people.

6 min read • Feb 14, 2024

Business professionals smiling and standing
Business professionals smiling and standing
Business professionals smiling and standing

Key takeaways

The E2 investor visa allows investors to live and work in the U.S.

The E2 visa duration is up to 5 years and can be extended indefinitely

Any kind of businesses can qualify for an E2 visa, and you can invest in an existing or new business

Investor visa is only for citizens of specific countries with treaties with the U.S. See full list below.

The E2 visa processing time can be as short as 15 business days under Premium Processing program

Our E2 visa lawyers are experienced in these visa types and can help you present the strongest case to the USCIS

What is E2 visa?

What is E2 visa?

Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her
Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her
Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her

The E2 visa (also known as the investor visa) is a temporary work visa made for investors who have contributed money to a new or existing U.S. business and will be creating jobs.


E2 visa is designed to encourage foreign investment and make it easier for people contributing to the American economy to make their move.


To meet the E2 visa requirements, you must:


  1. Be a citizen of a country that has a qualifying treaty with the United States

  2. Invest a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business

  3. Be coming to the United States to run the business


If you're ticking these boxes, the E-2 visa could be your pathway for immigrating to the U.S. and making a positive impact on the U.S. economy.

The L1 visa is a temporary work visa for moving skilled professionals from international organizations to a U.S. company. To meet L1 visa requirements the employee must have worked for the foreign employer for at least one year.


There are two different types of of L1 visas:


  • L1A visa: For Managers and Executives

  • L1B visa: For individuals with “specialized knowledge” about the company’s products, policies, or procedures

The L1 visa is a temporary work visa for moving skilled professionals from international organizations to a U.S. company. To meet L1 visa requirements the employee must have worked for the foreign employer for at least one year.


There are two different types of of L1 visas:


  • L1A visa: For Managers and Executives

  • L1B visa: For individuals with “specialized knowledge” about the company’s products, policies, or procedures

What are the benefits of the E2 visa?

What are the benefits of the E2 visa?

The E2 visa can be used with a variety of businesses, making it a versatile and flexible choice for entrepreneurs and investors pursuing U.S. visas.


Here are key reasons why the E-2 visa stands out:


  1. It’s a flexible option for foreign investors

  2. If you compare E2 visa vs H1B visa, the benefit is that there is no “cap” or “lottery”, since there are no limits to the amount of E2 visas

  3. The E2 visa requirements do not require you to have a foreign company or relevant business experience (like the L1 visa)

  4. Your family can join you, and work in the U.S.

  5. You can bring employees to help with your business

  6. E2 visa renewal can occur as long as the business continues

The E2 visa can be used with a variety of businesses, making it a versatile and flexible choice for entrepreneurs and investors pursuing U.S. visas.


Here are key reasons why the E-2 visa stands out:


  1. It’s a flexible option for foreign investors

  2. If you compare E2 visa vs H1B visa, the benefit is that there is no “cap” or “lottery”, since there are no limits to the amount of E2 visas

  3. The E2 visa requirements do not require you to have a foreign company or relevant business experience (like the L1 visa)

  4. Your family can join you, and work in the U.S.

  5. You can bring employees to help with your business

  6. E2 visa renewal can occur as long as the business continues

The E2 visa can be used with a variety of businesses, making it a versatile and flexible choice for entrepreneurs and investors pursuing U.S. visas.


Here are key reasons why the E-2 visa stands out:


  1. It’s a flexible option for foreign investors

  2. If you compare E2 visa vs H1B visa, the benefit is that there is no “cap” or “lottery”, since there are no limits to the amount of E2 visas

  3. The E2 visa requirements do not require you to have a foreign company or relevant business experience (like the L1 visa)

  4. Your family can join you, and work in the U.S.

  5. You can bring employees to help with your business

  6. E2 visa renewal can occur as long as the business continues

Not sure if you
qualify for an E2 visa?

Not sure if you
qualify for an E2 visa?

Take our simple and free online quiz to find out if you meet the visa requirements

Who qualifies for an E2 visa?

Who qualifies for an E2 visa?

Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her
Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her
Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her

The E-2 visa can be used for a variety of businesses, but there's a key E2 visa requirement: the applicant must come from a treaty country.


Let's start by taking a look at the list of countries whose citizens have E2 visa eligibility.

The E-2 visa can be used for a variety of businesses, but there's a key E2 visa requirement: the applicant must come from a treaty country.


Let's start by taking a look at the list of countries whose citizens have E2 visa eligibility.

The E-2 visa can be used for a variety of businesses, but there's a key E2 visa requirement: the applicant must come from a treaty country.


Let's start by taking a look at the list of countries whose citizens have E2 visa eligibility.

What are the E2 visa countries?

What are the E2 visa countries?

Albania

Argentina

Armenia

Australian

Austria

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Belgium

Bolivia

Bosnia

Bulgaria

Cameroon

Canada

Chile

China (Taiwan)

Colombia

Congo (Brazzaville)

Congo (Kinshasa)

Costa Rica

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Egypt

Estonia

Ethiopia

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Grenada

Honduras

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Korea (South)

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Liberia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macedonia

Mexico

Moldova

Mongolia

Montenegro

Morocco

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Oman

Pakistan

Panama

Paraguay

Philippines

Poland

Romania

Senegal

Serbia

Singapore

Slovak Republic

Slovenia

Spain

Sri Lanka

Suriname

Sweden

Switzerland

Thailand

Togo

Trinidad & Tobago

Tunisia

Turkey

Ukraine

United Kingdom

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Usually, determining your individual citizenship is straightforward. For most people, it’s the country that issues your passport.

💡 Manifest Tip: If you got your nationality in a treaty country through a financial investment, you will need to show that you lived in that country for at least 3 years before applying for the E2 visa.

Navigating the nationality of a business can add a bit of complexity, so let's break it down. Generally, a business's nationality is tied to the nationality of its individual owners. For instance, if you as a French citizen, own the entire business, it's considered French too.


USCIS doesn't care so much about where the business is incorporated, but who the owners are. At least 50% of the business must be owned by individuals from a treaty country. Now, if ownership is evenly split (50-50), you've got to choose one country for the US E2 visa.


If you're investing through/in a public company on the stock exchange, USCIS will assume the company’s nationality is where the exchange is located.

💡 Manifest Tip: When figuring out a business's nationality, the stock shares owned by U.S. permanent residents don't count.

Not sure if you meet the E2 visa requirements?

Reach out to us and schedule your E2 visa evaluation. Our Immigration lawyers have done over a thousand E2 Visas

What is the E2 visa minimum investment amount?

What is the E2 visa minimum investment amount?

Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her
Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her
Woman looking tablet screen man is showing her

The question about the E2 visa investment amount is a very common one, and it's completely understandable.


There is no set E2 visa minimum investment amount set by USCIS. It depends on what business you're investing in.


According to the rules, the investment has to be "substantial," and the business should demonstrate its ability to remain operational and provide employment opportunities.


Ultimately, the specific amount required hinges on the nature and cost of the business itself.

The question about the E2 visa investment amount is a very common one, and it's completely understandable.


There is no set E2 visa minimum investment amount set by USCIS. It depends on what business you're investing in.


According to the rules, the investment has to be "substantial," and the business should demonstrate its ability to remain operational and provide employment opportunities.


Ultimately, the specific amount required hinges on the nature and cost of the business itself.

The question about the E2 visa investment amount is a very common one, and it's completely understandable.


There is no set E2 visa minimum investment amount set by USCIS. It depends on what business you're investing in.


According to the rules, the investment has to be "substantial," and the business should demonstrate its ability to remain operational and provide employment opportunities.


Ultimately, the specific amount required hinges on the nature and cost of the business itself.

What is considered a “substantial” investment for E2 visa?

What is considered a “substantial” investment for E2 visa?

A “substantial” E2 visa investment amount should be proportional to what your business needs (a proportionality test), which varies based on the business: more expensive businesses will require bigger investments.


For example, a manufacturing business, such as an automobile manufacturer, might easily cost many millions of dollars to either purchase or operate. On the other hand, the cost to purchase an existing consulting firm may only be around $100K.

💡 Manifest tip: Inheriting a business doesn't count as an investment for E2 visa requirements!

To show that your investment is “substantial” for your E2 visa application, you will need to include a business plan or analysis showing in detail how much it costs to establish or buy the business. Then, you can compare this amount with your total investment in the company. Manifest lawyers will help you draft a business plan for your E2 Visa.

Examples of investments that met "Substantial investment" requirement for E2 visa

Two investors discussing E2 visa application
Two investors discussing E2 visa application

$85,000

$85,000

Investment to launch a financial services company

A veterinarian examines a little white dog
A veterinarian examines a little white dog

$250,000

$250,000

Investment in a veterinary clinic

Liquor store owner after a sumbstantial investment
Liquor store owner after a sumbstantial investment

$100,000

$100,000

Investment in a liquor store

Real estate agent holding a toy wooden house
Real estate agent holding a toy wooden house

$1,000,000

$1,000,000

Investment in a real estate portfolio

What is the proportionality test?

With a “proportionality test”, USCIS will compare the amount of money invested with the total investment size. The higher the percentage of your investment, the better. For instance, if you're putting in 100% of the required capital for your business, that's a clear signal of a substantial investment.


However, the required percentage can vary based on the business's overall cost. A low-cost business might demand a higher percentage, while a pricier venture might find a lower percentage sufficient. Again, the rules here aren’t super-clear – there are no set percentages and it depends on the specific circumstances.


Here's a practical E2 visa investment example: an investment of $100,000 for a startup could be considered substantial if it covers 100% of the business cost. On the flip side, a $10 million investment in a $100 million business is also seen as substantial due to its significant dollar value, even if it's a fraction of the total cost.


To meet the E2 visa requirements, your investment should demonstrate a genuine commitment to developing the business, not just serving as small, passive funding.

How do I show how much the business costs?

For an existing business, the cost is usually its purchase price, often referred to as the fair market value. For a brand new business, the cost encompasses the expenses involved in setting it up and getting it operational, as outlined in your business plan.


In most cases, the cost is determined through invoices, contracts, appraisals, audits, and other similar records.

Does it matter where the money for the E2 visa investment amount comes from?

You can use money from various sources for your E-2 visa investment amount, like savings, gifts, inheritance, winnings, or loans backed by your personal assets. It doesn't have to be from outside the U.S., but it must be legal (the money cannot be not from illegal activities).


USCIS will ask for documents confirming the source of the funds that you are investing, like pay records, bank transfer records, and other financial documents. You also need to show that you own and control the invested money and assets in order to meet the E2 visa requirements.

Don't have a business to invest in?
No worries!

Manifest Law has a network of business owners looking to raise capital from outside investors. We will be happy to help you!

How many jobs do I need to create?

Two businessmen discussing visa application
Two businessmen discussing visa application
Two businessmen discussing visa application

There is no set number of jobs that you need to create for the E2 investor visa. At a minimum, you need to be able to show that your business will be able to support additional employees, and not just you and your family. The government refers to this as “marginality.”

There is no set number of jobs that you need to create for the E2 investor visa. At a minimum, you need to be able to show that your business will be able to support additional employees, and not just you and your family. The government refers to this as “marginality.”

What is “marginality”?

A “marginal” business is one that doesn't generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for you and your family, and it doesn't show the potential to do so in the future.


To qualify for the E2 investor visa, it's crucial to show that your business is not marginal. In other words, you need to show that it has the capacity to create job opportunities for others. If you are just starting out, you will need to show that you can grow the business within 5 years to support additional employees.

A “marginal” business is one that doesn't generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for you and your family, and it doesn't show the potential to do so in the future.


To qualify for the E2 investor visa, it's crucial to show that your business is not marginal. In other words, you need to show that it has the capacity to create job opportunities for others. If you are just starting out, you will need to show that you can grow the business within 5 years to support additional employees.

Can I start a new business with an E-2 visa?

Absolutely! The E2 investor visa is an excellent option for investors looking to launch a new business in the U.S. A key E2 visa requirement is presenting a well-thought-out business plan, outlining your strategy for profitability and demonstrating the likelihood of additional hiring within the next 5 years.

Absolutely! The E2 investor visa is an excellent option for investors looking to launch a new business in the U.S. A key E2 visa requirement is presenting a well-thought-out business plan, outlining your strategy for profitability and demonstrating the likelihood of additional hiring within the next 5 years.

💡 Manifest tip: You do not necessarily need a physical office space to qualify for an E2 business visa. Although, having physical office space may be helpful to strengthen your E2 visa approval chances.

How long can I stay on an E-2 Visa?

How long can I stay on an E-2 Visa?

Businessman in blue suit with his arms crossed
Businessman in blue suit with his arms crossed
Businessman in blue suit with his arms crossed

Typically, the E2 visa duration is in 2-year increments. The total time spent on the E2 visa isn't capped, as long as you consistently meet the E2 visa qualifications by successfully managing your business and renewing the visa.


Remember though, the E-2 visa is designed for a temporary stay in the U.S. for living and working purposes. You will need to include a statement confirming your intent to return home after your work under E-2 status is complete. However, you're not required to specify the exact duration of your stay in the U.S. in advance. The flexibility in renewal periods allows you to adapt your plans based on the evolving needs of your business.

Typically, the E2 visa duration is in 2-year increments. The total time spent on the E2 visa isn't capped, as long as you consistently meet the E2 visa qualifications by successfully managing your business and renewing the visa.


Remember though, the E-2 visa is designed for a temporary stay in the U.S. for living and working purposes. You will need to include a statement confirming your intent to return home after your work under E-2 status is complete. However, you're not required to specify the exact duration of your stay in the U.S. in advance. The flexibility in renewal periods allows you to adapt your plans based on the evolving needs of your business.

Can E2 visa lead to Green Card?

Unfortunately, there is no direct path from an E2 visa to Green Card. However, if you have another path, say, through family or an EB-5 investor process, you could get a Green Card that way.

Unfortunately, there is no direct path from an E2 visa to Green Card. However, if you have another path, say, through family or an EB-5 investor process, you could get a Green Card that way.

Need a business plan for your E2 visa?

Here at Manifest Law, we have vetted partners who can help you build a business plan for your E2 visa application.

E2 Processing Time

E2 Processing Time

If you’re outside of the US, you’ll need to set up an appointment at a consulate to get the visa stamp in your passport before you can travel.


The timing for this will depend on where you apply, since different locations have different appointment availability. Many consulates require you to send the entire application to them in advance. They will then review the application, and let you know when they are ready to interview you. Each consulate has its own E2 visa process and timing, and the latest information can usually be found on their websites.

E2 Premium Processing

E2 Premium Processing

Can you apply for an L1 visa with premium processing? Yes! For an additional USCIS filing fee of $2,500 (this fee is set to increase to $2,805 on April 1, 2024), you will receive a decision on the I-129 petition within 15 business days.

Can you apply for an L1 visa with premium processing? Yes! For an additional USCIS filing fee of $2,500 (this fee is set to increase to $2,805 on April 1, 2024), you will receive a decision on the I-129 petition within 15 business days.

The Form I-129

If you are filing from within the U.S. (as a change from another status), the time to receive an E2 visa decision after filing is usually about 1 or 2 months.

You can download form i-129 below for free.

Or check out our comprehensive manual on how to complete your Form i-129 here.

Form I-129
Form I-129
Form I-129

When can I start working under an E2 Visa?

If you are applying from INSIDE the United States (as a change from another status, for example), you change to E2 visa status on the approved start date.


If you are applying OUTSIDE the United States, you will need to make an appointment to get an E2 visa stamp at the consulate, and can then come into the U.S. with that visa to start working under E2 visa status.

If you are applying from INSIDE the United States (as a change from another status, for example), you change to E2 visa status on the approved start date.


If you are applying OUTSIDE the United States, you will need to make an appointment to get an E2 visa stamp at the consulate, and can then come into the U.S. with that visa to start working under E2 visa status.

E2 Visa Cost

E2 Visa Cost

Generally speaking, the fees for an E2 visa application include:

  • E2 visa lawyer fees

  • Government fees and other costs

E2 visa lawyer fees

When it comes to lawyer fees for an E2 visa, they can vary depending on who you go to. For a more personalized touch, we suggest checking out smaller immigration law firms that specialize in E2 visas like Manifest Law where our E2 visa lawyer fees start at $7,500 and can be paid over 6 months.


E2 processing fees


Below is a summary of the current government filing fees for the E2 visa according to USCIS.

When it comes to lawyer fees for an L1 visa, they can vary on who you go to. For a more personalized touch, we suggest checking out smaller law firms that specialize in L1 visas like Manifest Law where our lawyer fees for an L1 visa start at $7,500 and can be paid over 6 months.


USCIS L1 visa cost

Below is a summary of the current government filing fees for the L1 visa (note that all fees are subject to change).

Most Organizations

Organizations with fewer than 25 employees

Nonprofits

I-129 Fee

$1,015

$510

$510

Asylum Program Fee

$600

$300

N/A

TOTAL

$1,615

$810

$510

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Should I hire an E2 visa lawyer?

Should I hire an E2 visa lawyer?

Since E2 visa applications can be complex and involve a lot of paperwork, many people find it helpful to work with a lawyer.


Hiring an E2 visa lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes and increase your E2 visa approval rate. Qualified immigration lawyers know how the E2 visa process works, can help you gather the right evidence, and make sure you meet the E2 visa requirements.


Here at Manifest Law, we only work with experienced E2 visa lawyers. We offer flexible payment plans stretching up to 6 months, a visa-approved or money-back guarantee (terms apply), and immigration lawyers who are well-versed in the E2 visa process.

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

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Review of visa options available for you

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General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

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Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

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Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

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Review of visa options available for you

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General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

Check mark in a circle icon

Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

Check mark in a circle icon

Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

Check mark in a circle icon

Review of visa options available for you

Check mark in a circle icon

General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

Check mark in a circle icon

Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

Check mark in a circle icon

Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

What should I look for in an E2 visa lawyer?

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What is the difference between an E1 and E2 visa?

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What is the minimum E2 visa investment amount?

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Can I convert from an E2 visa to green card?

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Can I bring my spouse/children with me when I am on an E-2 visa?

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Can I extend or renew my E-2 visa?

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Can I bring employees with me on an E-2 visa?

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Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.