Investing in the US with E2 Visa

Posted on November 07, 2006 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

E2 Visa Opens Doors to Business Opportunities in the US

In previous articles, we gave brief introduction on advantages and qualifications of E-2 visa, but a lot of readers still tend to be confused about them. We will discuss them in more details by studying the following question by a client.

Mr. Kim asked:

I am Korean. At present, I am running a mechanic business in China. I plan to develop another business in the U.S. market, but I’ve heard that it is difficult to invest there and the requirements for investment immigration are difficult to meet. So, I want to get more information about this. Additionally, I want to know if I invested in the U.S., could my wife and children go to the United States with me. Also, could my wife work in the U.S.?


In Mr. Kim’s case, he has several choices. If he has enough funds and intends to immigrate, he can choose the investment immigration visa (EB-5). EB-5 requires the investor to invest at least $1 million in the United States ($500,000.00 in economically depressed area). Mr. Kim can also apply for L-1 visa. Since he has a business in China, he can come to the U.S. to start his business as an executive or a manager of his company. In such a case, there is no limitation in the minimum investment amount. The investment amount depends on the kind of business in which Mr. Kim wants to invest.  Moreover, as a citizen of Korea, Mr. Kim could also apply for E-2 visa (treaty investor visa).

E-2 visa is geared towards principal owners, supervisors, executives or key employees of the U.S. businesses that have 50% or more shares of the company are owned by the nationals of foreign investment treaty countries.  Citizens of those countries without investment treaties with the U.S. cannot apply for this type of visa.  Mr. Kim is Korean citizen and there is investment treaty between Korea and the U.S., so he is qualified for E-2 visa.  Moreover, E-2 is relatively easy to get since less people are qualified for E-2 visa due to treaty issue.

Secondly, there is no limitation on the minimum investment amount for E-2 visa applicants.  Thus, it will be less risky for Mr. Kim to apply for E-2 visa than applying for EB-5 investment visa.

Thirdly, unlike L visa which requires the U.S. company to be a branch, subsidiary, joint-venture or affiliate with a foreign company, there is no such requirement for E-2. For E-2 applicant, as long as he or she has taken significant steps towards establishing a business in the U.S., he or she is qualified for this category.  Furthermore, with L-1 visa, one can have his or her visa extended twice and he or she can stay in the United States for no more than seven years, but for an E-2 visa holder, there is no such limitation.  He or she can stay in the United States for a very long time as long as he or she continues to maintain E-2 qualifications.

Finally, with E-2 visa, Mr. Kim’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age can come to the United States with him.  While in the U.S., his wife can also work legally after applying for the employment authorization.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.