• Under this classification a national of a treaty country can be admitted to the United States who invests a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business
  • Employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification 

What is Considered as a Treaty Country In this Context?

A country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation.


See U.S. Department of State's Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

E-2 Visa Classification is applicable for Investors as well their Employees who meet certain criteria: 

General Qualification of a E-2 or a Treaty Investor 

To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:

  • Be a national of a treaty country
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
  • Expecting to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise
  • This can be established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device 



What is an “Investment” here?

  • Even though there is no upper or lower limit to the investment amount, it needs to be “substantial and cannot be “marginal”
  • It cannot be obtained by buying only real estate either
  • It is rather placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the market with the objective of generating a profit
  • The capital must also be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails
  • The treaty investor must show proof of the fact that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity 

What is a “substantial amount” of capital?

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
  • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise
  • The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial 


The investment enterprise may not be marginal. A marginal enterprise is one 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. 


What is a “bona fide” enterprise?

A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.

General Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Investor

To qualify for E-2 classification, the employee of a treaty investor must:

  • Should be of the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
  • Meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law; and
  • Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications

An employee may qualify for an E-2 visa under one of these two categories:

E-2 Specialist or Essential Skilled Workers

For an employee to qualify for this category, they must be highly skilled. It must also be demonstrated in the petition that the employee:

  • The employee has specialized knowledge of the enterprise which may not be easily found in the United States
  • It is also necessary to bring the employee to the United States for the efficient operation of the enterprise

E-2 Managers, Executives and Supervisors

Under this category, the employee must meet any of the above three descriptions:

  • E-2 managers and executives should be those in top positions and manage an entire structure of the business or a critical part of the business
  • If it is a larger business, the principal investor may not even spend much time in the United States
  • In such instances, the E-2 employee who will oversee the business operation must demonstrate the managerial or executive skills required for the smooth running of the enterprise
  • Relevant supporting documents such as resume, job description, and supporting letter must also reflect the employee’s ability and experience in such roles

Note: Knowledge of a foreign language and culture does not, by itself, meet this requirement. Note that in some cases a skill that is essential at one point in time may become common and may no longer qualify for E-2.

How to Find Your E-2 Attorney?

  • Consider a law firm with an excellent record representing investors who wish to obtain an E2 Visa to conduct business, manage their investment, or work for a US branch or subsidiary
  • Every case is different; hence you might want to consider a law firm which offers individualized and customized solution for your E-2 visa needs 

How Can We Help?

As business immigration service provider, we welcome the opportunity to guide you through the E-2 visa process. As E-2 experts, Ustun Law Group, PLLC is pleased to offer you the following services:

  • Provide advice and counsel regarding your E-2 petition and guide you through the various phases of the visa process
  • Prepare your E-2 visa packet as required by U.S. consulates abroad
  • We will also review your DS-160 application that the consulate will ask for
  • Prepare you for your E-2 visa interview
  • Prepare and file your E-2 Change of Status (this apply for E-2 applicants who are already in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa)
  • We can also draft your business plan from scratch, or you can provide us with the existing plan
  • If you provide us with a business plan, we can review and comment on your business plan
Author's Bio: 

Rudds James is an online marketplace analyst, startup planner as well as a writer. He's published on several topics composed of articles on technology and advertising