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What are the Investor Visa Requirements in USA? How to Get it?

The U.S. E-2 Investor Visa enables foreign investments into the country and allows qualified candidates to legally gain admission into the country and remain in the U.S. for a practically indefinite period of time.

An E-2  Visa is issued of citizens of countries with which the U.S. maintains a treaty regarding commerce and navigation, thus the E-2 Visa is also commonly known as the Treaty Investor Visa. The U.S. Department of Justice website can assist in verifying if a treaty is in force between your home country and the U.S.

The sole purpose of the E-2 Visa is to promote foreign investments that are deemed beneficial to the U.

S. economy and the community at large. The Visa is initially valid for up to five years; however, it can be extended every two years for an unlimited number of times as long as the required conditions are still met, and candidates are required to show intent to return to their country of origin upon completion of the business, or change their legal status.

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can also obtain a Dependent Visa to accompany the principal investor alien into the U.S. Spouses are furthermore allowed to apply for work permits, although the children under 21 are excluded.

Requirements of the U.S. E-2 Investor Visa

  • The investment must be substantial, not marginal, with $50,000 often mentioned as the minimum, although exceptions may be granted. Such investments must be sufficient to ensure the long term viability of the business, which must be a real operating enterprise, and passive investments will not be considered. Merely providing a living to the investor and immediate family is not sufficient for consideration, as the investment is expected to provide a significant impact to the U.S. economy.
  • Investment funds need to be verifiable and committed before the application, and furthermore be considered “at risk”, as commonly defined in the commercial sense. Funds have to be in the complete control of the investor, and loans against the assets of an acquired business are disallowed. In the case of a business acquisition, it is strongly recommended that no more than 25% to 30% of the acquisition price be financed and funds to purchase an existing business have to be placed into an escrow account.
  • The investor must be in a position to direct and develop the business, with 50% ownership preferred, as current regulations allow for two co-owners to apply for E-2 Visas. Investors are only permitted to work in the stated business, not any other commercial enterprise. If not the owner, the applicant needs to be in a supervisory role.
  • Although applicants can apply for an E-2 Visa at any U.S. embassy or consulate, a more appropriate approach would be to apply at the embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over the permanent residence location.
  • Process and documentation requirements of the U.S. E-2 Investor Visa:
  • Interviews are required for persons between the ages of 14 and 79, and persons between the ages of 16 to 45 are also required to submit form DS-157.
  • Forms DS-160 and DS-156E to be completed and signed.
  • A valid passport with an expiration date at least six months beyond the intended period of stay in the U.S. and at least one blank page.
  • One 2 by 2 inch color passport type photograph showing full face and without head coverings.

Those are the main requirements for the U.S. E-2 Investor Visa. It should be further noted that the E-2 Investor Visa is generally regarded as the path to application for Permanent Resident status in the U.S.

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