The E classification visa is a visa that entitles foreigners to enter the United States if they undertake a significant amount of international trade with the United States; or who have made a significant investment in the United States, and; who are a citizen of a foreign state with which the United States has a treaty.
E-2 visas are available for citizens of certain countries with which the U.S. enjoys bilateral investment treaties. Investors who seek to enter the U.S. to develop and direct the operation of a company and key employees of such a company who hold the same citizenship are eligible.
The U.S. entity must be majority owned by nationals of the treaty country who have invested a substantial amount of capital. No foreign related company is necessary, nor is prior employment abroad required.
There are six (6) requirements for obtaining an E-2 visa:
- The foreign worker must be a citizen of a country that has an investor treaty with the U.S.
- The company must be at least 50% owned by nationals of the treaty country (who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents).
- The foreign worker must be either the owner or a key employee of the U.S. business.
- There must be “substantial investment” in the U.S. business. Generally, $100,000 is the minimum, but $250,000 and higher is better.
- The U.S. entity must be actively engaged in business. Passive investments in real estate and the stock market do not qualify.
- The foreign worker must intend to leave the U.S. when the U.S. assignment is completed.
The foreign worker can work in the U.S. for the U.S. company following a substantial investment made by the foreign worker and/or other citizens of the home country. E-2 visas are typically issued quickly, usually within two to four weeks.
E-2 visas are often granted for a period of five years, but each admission may be granted only for a period of two years. There is no legal limitation on the number of extensions that may be granted, thus legal status may last for the life of the qualifying investment.
The EB-5 visa is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category:
- Creating a new commercial enterprise or
- Investing in a troubled business.