United States
Investment and Finance

What Can You do in the US With an E-2 Visa

4/20/2021 8:00:00 AM
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The E-2 visa is one of Mundo´s favorite investor-based visas. This status is only available to citizens of countries that have the corresponding agreement with the US. Unlike the EB-5, the E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it does not lead to a green card or citizenship. The main purpose of this visa, as a “business investor visa”, is that the applicant owns and runs a business in the US, for this reason, they will be required to make a “substantial” investment which can be in an already existing business or a new one. 

Under this visa status you will be able to enter and stay in the US for 2 years (renewable as long as the business is still running). Your essential employees will also be allowed to freely enter the US if they have the same nationality as you. For larger businesses, employees may be sent to the US without the business owner. 

In order to qualify, you must own at least 50% of the company and start the business with an investment. Unlike other similar programs, there is no minimum amount stipulated for the E-2 visa. The only requirement is that the investment needs to be “substantial”, e.g., you need to invest the amount of money that you need to run your particular company or carry out your activity. The amount to be invested depends on the type of business. 

The visa can be renewed indefinitely every two years while the business is still running. If the business fails, then you must change your visa status or leave the country. With an E-2 visa, you won´t be able to apply for a green card (resident status), therefore to renew the E-2 visa you need to keep your business running. 

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What can you do as an E-2 visa holder?

With this status you can:

  • Legally work in the US with the same business which granted you the visa. 
  • Freely entry and the US. Freely travel within the country. 
  • Renew your status and live in the US indefinitely as long as your business is running and you comply with your visa conditions. 
  • Take your family with you (spouse and children under 21).
  • Dependents can attend schools and universities in privately-owned and state institutions. 
  • The applicant's spouse can work anywhere and for any employer. 

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FAQs about an E-2 Visa

Can I study with an E-2 visa?

Yes, but with some limitations. 

The primary applicant and his/her dependents can study in the US. However, the main applicant can only take courses and classes but is not allowed to engage in long-term tuition or full-time programs. The children can attend either private or publish schools in the US but only till they become 21 years old. If they want to keep studying after this age they will have to change their visa status, which is usually an F-1 visa. 

How long is the visa valid and can I renew it?

Each entry to the country is limited to 2 years. If your business is still running you can renew your E-2 status indefinitely. The visa is usually valid for five years, although this depends on the country of origin of the applicant. 

Can I change my status while on an E-2 visa?

Yes, you can. The usual two choices are 1) the form I-129, which is a petition to become a nonimmigrant worker, or 2) form I-539, which allows you to extend or change your nonimmigrant status. In this regard, we recommend you consult with immigration lawyers specializing in business visas. Contact us and get in touch with Mundo´s partners in the US. 

Can I bring my spouse and children to the US?

Yes, you can. The main applicant is allowed to include children under 21 years of age and the spouse. One of the main characteristics of this visa is that the spouse can work in the US for any employer. 

Does the visa have any travel restrictions?

The E-2 visa does not have travel restrictions nor minimum stay requirements. Applicants can stay for 2 years during each entry. Thanks to this flexibility, the applicants can regulate the time they spend in the US so that they don’t become tax residents. Regarding this, Mundo recommends consulting with an expert in international and US taxation. 

Can I apply for a green card while I am on the E-2 visa?

No. The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it depends only on your business. In other words, you are allowed to enter and stay in the country with the purpose of running this business, so if it is no longer viable, there is no reason for you to stay in the United States. It is possible to apply for a resident status (green card) through a different visa as long as you comply with the requirements and conditions of your current visa status. For this, we highly recommend consulting with an expert lawyer. 

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Can I purchase property while on an E-2 visa?

Yes, however, you must prove that you are staying in the US temporarily. 

What if I am not from a treaty country?

If you are not a citizen of an E-2 treaty country, you can become one. The fastest way to achieve this is through a citizenship by investment program. Currently, there are three countries with such programs and a bilateral E-2 agreement:

Luckily, Mundo offers citizenship in these three countries. If you are interested in Montenegro, we recommend applying now as the program will be soon closed to applications. 

Does my business need to create jobs?

Unlike other investor-based visas, the E-2 does not require creating a specific amount of job positions. However, the business should have the number of employees needed for its correct functioning. In other words, the company should have substance. You can obtain an E-2 visa as an employee of an E-2 visa holder as an essential skills role, an executive, or supervisor. The employee has to be of the same nationality as the employer. 

Do I have to invest before applying for the E-2 visa?

If you want to start the application process for an E-2 visa, you must be at least in the process of investing in a business. If you are worried about not being accepted, you can choose to put your investment funds into escrow until you are granted the E-2 visa status. 


The E-2 visa is one of the best options to conduct business in the US as a foreigner because it allows you to operate, entry and exit the country, without paying tax on worldwide income like any US passport or green card holder. Anyway, the strategy to form a business in the US needs to be carefully designed. For this, we recommend you get in touch with our Mundo experts. 

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