Coming to America - The E-2 Visa

Many immigrants looking at America from afar dream about coming to the United States for the opportunity it presents and its welcoming attitude towards immigrants. This is especially true if foreigners want to either invest in American companies, or just want to start their own business here. While there are a lot of “business rules” that you will need to follow, first and foremost, is your ability to come to the U.S.A and participate legally in this dream. Your immigration status cannot be ignored, and you will definitely run afoul if you do not establish your rights early on. There are several ways for you to come to the U.S.A. and participate in its economy, and today, I would like to discuss the first option that you must consider prior to making your decisions. The United States established relationships with many countries, especially dealing in business and investment through the E-2 Treaties with other countries.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa derives from treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation or bilateral investment agreements that the U.S. has entered into with over 80 countries of the world. The E-2 Treaty Investor visa offers a unique pathway for foreign entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in the U.S. With the E-2 visa’s fairly reasonable requirements, your American Dream of living in the U.S. may be closer than you think.

There are six requirements for obtaining a E-2 Treaty Investor visa:

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a country that has a treaty with the United States.

  • The applicant must be coming to work in the U.S. for a company that he or she either owns or that is at a minimum 50% owned by other nationals of the country of origin.

  • The applicant must be either the owner or a key employee (executive or supervisor, or someone with essential skills) of the U.S. business.

  • The applicant or the company must have made a substantial investment in the U.S. business. (There’s no legal minimum, but the applicant or company must be putting capital or assets at risk, be trying to make a profit, and the amount must be substantial relative to the type of business).

  • The U.S. company must be actively engaged in commercial activities and meet the applicable legal requirements for doing business in its state or region.

  • The applicant must intend to leave the U.S. when his or her business in the U.S. is completed.

All in all, the E-2 visa is great for those who wish to start a small business in the U.S. This particular Visa does have extensive documentation requirements. If considering an application, you should seek an attorney that is familiar with the application and supporting documentation that you will need.

Esther Noh, Esq. is business and immigration counsel to The Basile Law Firm P.C. Ms. Noh writes extensively on E-2 Visas and has helped numerous clients establish their legal status in the United States. For more information, you can contact Ms. Noh at

The Basile Law Firm, P.C.

Main Telephone: 516-455-1500 

Dallas - New York - Naples


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