What is an E2 visa?
Also known as the Treaty Investor Visa, the E2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows Canadians to travel to the US for either business or investment purposes. This is a visa that does not lead to permanent immigration status, and is for short-term or fixed-term purposes only. You are able to stay in the US for five years with an E2 Visa, but you can renew and extend your stay on the grounds that your situation has not changed, your business continues to run successfully, and you remain in the US.
To be eligible for the E2 visa, you must be a citizen of one of the 78 different countries that the US has signed the Treaty of Commerce with, and Canada is lucky enough to be one of them! You must either fully or partially own and / or be invested in an US-based enterprise to reap the benefits of being able to stay in the US on a long-term basis, allowing you to develop and direct the operations of business.
How do you apply for an E2 Visa?
To start the application process for an E2 Visa, you must first register your company with the E-Visa Unit. In order to have your company reviewed by the E-Visa Unit, you will need to complete the following process:
- Fill out and complete the DS-160 Visa application form online
- Create an account on the Visa Appointment Service website. This is when you will need to pay an application fee and arrange a delivery for your password for after you have attended the visa interview
- Submit all the required documents for the application via email. There will be a list of all the documentation required and how to achieve this on the website.
Once your application has been completed and reviewed, you will be contacted with a date for your visa interview. Although you may have to reschedule due to other commitments, it is important that you attend this interview within 90 days of the offer being made, as once this time lapses, your application will expire and you will have to start the process from the very beginning.
If your company is already registered with the E-Visa Unit, you can simply make an appointment for your visa interview through the US Visa Appointment Service. You will not be required to submit any documentation in advance, but you may be instructed to bring some with you at the time of your visa interview. It is best to ask if you need to bring anything if you have not been advised to do so, as it will prolong the application process if you do not attend the interview fully prepared. The decision about your E2 Visa application will usually come within two to four weeks after your interview, so you do not want to extend the time of the process by being unprepared for your interview.
What are the requirements for an E2 visa?
Whether you are planning on investing in an existing business in the US, are running a new business, or have stakes in a new business, you should be eligible to apply for an E2 Visa. The vital eligibility criteria are as follows:
- The business in question must employ mostly American workers
- The business in question must be for-profit
- The applicant must have at least a 50% stake in the business
- The applicant must have a managerial or supervisory role, and be in a position to prove operational control
- The applicant must have provided substantial capital to the business
- The investment made was to generate a profit within the next five years
- The applicant has a genuine commitment to successfully manage and develop the business
- The business is engaging in trade relations with other US businesses
- The applicant has experience as an entrepreneur
The business in question that is connected to the E2 Visa must be a function and existing business. You will not have a successful application if you merely have good intentions or plans, regardless of the amount of money in the bank or proof of plans. The business must also make a significant income or a great economic impact on the US.
Certain funds are not permitted as business investments for an E2 Visa application. For example, loans that are secured against the business’s assets are not seen as investments that qualify but may suffice if it is a personal mortgage or equity line.
You may be able to leave the investment amount in escrow if you have concerns about transferring money prior to obtaining the E2 Visa. Upon proof of the available funds and intentions, the investment amount will be transferred to the business’s US bank account once the visa has been approved.
What are the documents required for an E2 visa?
When making an application for an E2 Visa, you will need to provide a supporting letter on the company’s letterhead that provides the following information:
- The applicant’s connection to the company
- The financial success of the business
- Articles of Incorporation or Organization
- Certificates and documents that confirm the applicant’s ownership of the company
- Relevant licenses and evidence showing ongoing and future work
- IRS tax returns for established businesses and/or detailed plans for future businesses
- A copy of the biodata pages of the passports of all other business owners
A separate letter that does not need to be on company letterhead, but is just as vital should include the following information:
- A description of the business and beneficiary that addresses the E2 Visa requirements
- Proof of the applicant’s Canadian nationality
- Proof of the business’s Canadian nationality
- Proof of the applicant’s investment in the business
- Signed documentation that the applicant intends to leave the US upon the E2 Visa expiration
- A copy of the applicant’s passport
- A copy of any previous US visas (entry/exit stamps) and I-94 documentation (if applicable)
- Proof of residency in Canada
- A current CV
- A copy of educational certificates
- Evidence and details of the investment within the business
Please note, larger or public companies may need to provide additional documentation.
How much money is an accepted investment for an E2 Visa?
Although there is no specific minimum amount of funds in place, your investment capital in the enterprise must be considered to be substantial. As a general rule, investments are usually from $100,000 and above.
However, some businesses may not require such a sum due to the services provided, so some small investments may be accepted, albeit more difficult to obtain.
It is at the discretion of the US government to set a precedent for investment, depending on the nature of your business. You must be able to demonstrate that the enterprise is viable to the point of making an economic impact, as opposed to just providing support to you and your family.
How long does it take to get an E2 visa?
Like all visa applications, the process can take quite some time, so it is best to get your foot in the door as soon as possible. As a general guideline, the E-Visa Unit may take up to 45 days to review your original application for your E2 Visa.
These applications are prioritized on a first-in, first-serve basis, so the faster you complete your application and gather your documentation, the faster your application will be processed.
How long does an E2 Visa last?
The maximum length a single E2 Visa is valid for is five years. This does not mean that you have to stay in the US for the entirety of this period, and you are welcome to return to Canada prior to your visa expiring.
However, if the five years have expired, and you wish to continue your journey in the US, you may reapply for another E2 Visa. It is important that you do this prior to the expiry of your current E2 Visa and your I-94.
However, if you miss the boat on the time frame, you may be granted 40-day leniency as you await the new E2 Visa. The same rules will apply for this application, so you will need to prepare all the same documentation as your original application.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
An E2 Visa may extend to your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. The children are able to attend a public school under this visa and spouses are allowed to legally work in the United States without applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Other family members who would like to make a shorter visit to the United States may apply for a B2 (Tourist) Visa.
Our expert team of immigration attorneys has helped many clients apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. We understand the complexity of the application and can help businesses turn their proposal into an effective plan.
Our immigration attorney services include the following:
- Overseeing your E-2 Visa application forms to make sure that you have a strong application before submitting it to USCIS
- Checking to make sure that you have enough adequate documentation about your business
- Following the E-2 application process so that your employees can join you in the United States as well
- Liaising with your local U.S. Consulate and the USCIS on your behalf
For more information and advice, please contact us on +1 844 290 6312 or use our online inquiry form.
The applicant will be responsible for the following E2 visa fees:
- Form DS-160: $205
- Costs of certified translations (if not documents are not in English): costs will vary
- Visa issuance fee (if applicable): costs will vary depending on the country from where the visa was issued
- Premium Processing (optional): $2,500