Which Countries Are Eligible for an E-2 Visa?

An E-2 visa is the perfect visa option for many foreign national entrepreneurs that want to either start or buy a business in the United States. An E-2 visa has a number of subjective requirements (eg. You must invest a “substantial” amount, your business cannot be “marginal” and your funds must be “committed.”).  The full E-2 Visa requirements can be viewed by clicking here.  There is one requirement though that is objective. That is, you must be a national of a Treaty country to be eligible for an E-2 visa.

What Does Being a National of a Treaty Country Mean?

A national of a Treaty country means that you are a citizen of that country. Permanent resident status is insufficient and you must have a valid passport from a Treaty country. Where you live (except if you are a U.K. national) is not relevant so you could for example have a Spanish passport (an eligible country) and apply for an E-2 visa even if you had not lived in Spain for 30 years. They key in this example is that you are a Spanish citizen. Where you live may impact which consulate you apply at, but it does not impact the answer to the question of whether you meet the nationality requirement for an E-2 visa.

There is one exception to this general rule though and this is when the applicant is from the U.K.. For U.K nationals, the applicants must reside in the U.K. to be eligible for an E-2 visa. What constitutes residing in the U.K. is based on an examination of a number of factors to assess whether the U.K. is in fact your home. Depending on the facts and circumstances, applicants who are not currently “living” in the U.K. could still qualify. For example, temporary work assignments in other countries (even if for years) and/or if the applicant has been in the U.S. on an H-1B or other long term immigrant visa do not necessarily exclude a U.K. national from being able to apply for an E-2 visa. The assessment requires a careful examination by a qualified E-2 immigration attorney.

The number of passports you hold (dual nationality) is also not relevant to the determination of whether or not you are eligible for an E-2 visa. As long as you hold one passport from a Treaty country, you can apply for an E-2 visa using that passport. For example, we recently processed an E-2 visa for an applicant with a Spanish passport (an eligible country) and she also had a passport from Venezuela (a country where citizens are not eligible for an E-2 visa).

Why are Only Treaty Countries Eligible for an E-2 Visa?

The E-1 and E-2 visa is a visa based on international Treaties with other countries. A Treaty is an agreement between countries to promote positive relations, trade and economic growth and if an investor Treaty exists between a country and the U.S., it means that the other country also has similar laws where a U.S. investor could purchase or start a business and obtain a visa to conduct business in that country. The Treaties with particular countries are all signed at different times (eg. The Treaty with the U.K. was signed on July 3, 1815 and the Treaty with Bahrain was signed on May 30, 2001), and one of the latest countries that is pending Treaty finalization is Israel for the E-2 visa. (Israel is already on the list for E-1).

Which Countries are on the E-2 Visa List?

In order to apply for an E-2 visa, you must be a citizen of a Treaty country. Two of the most populated countries in the world (India and China) are not on the E-2 list but many countries are represented. While there are many countries you would expect to see on the list, such as Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, there are many countries on the list that either do not have good relations with the U.S. or would not be the first countries that one may think may be on the list. For example, the following countries are also on the E-2 Treaty Investor list: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Togo, Morocco, Moldova, Mongolia, Oman, Iran, Cameroon, Congo, Senegal, and Georgia. A full list of the Treaty countries can be obtained by clicking here. The key thing to note is that the countries are based on signing a Treaty at some point with the U.S. and the current relationship with the U.S. does not play a factor with respect to eligibility.

For more practical or legal advice contact Scott Legal, P.C.. We offer services in a number of business areas including, Immigration, New Business set up, Contract review and development and entrepreneurial support. Call 212-223-2964 or email iscott@legalservicesincorporated.com for a consultation.

Ian E. Scott is a Harvard Law School Graduate, lawyer and author of Law School Lowdown: Secrets of Success from the Application Process to Landing Your First Job.  Mr. Scott worked as a corporate litigator in the law firm Cleary Gottlieb and currently runs his own law firm Scott Legal, P.C. specializing in Immigration Law & New Business set-up. 

39 Comments

  1. Nipul Shah September 13, 2015 7:18 pm

    Need help with e2

    Reply
  2. Kholoud October 9, 2015 2:59 pm

    Can lebanese people get e2 visa

    Reply
  3. Karin October 22, 2015 11:53 pm

    Hi there! Can an individual from a non treaty country partner up with someone from a treaty country (each own 50%) to obtain the visa together and run the business together?

    Reply
  4. Aziz Jami November 6, 2015 7:06 pm

    Hi,
    I am from Afghanistan and living there. My country is not in the lists of E2 visa Treaty countries, i have checked through different web pages.
    Do you have any update?
    Is there anyother window for Afghan citizen to invest in the U.S and get family visa

    Reply
    • IanScott November 6, 2015 7:09 pm

      Hello, If you can invest $500,000 to invest, you could apply for an EB-5 visa. If you would like to set up a consultation, we can set something up. We charge $250 for a one hour consultation. Kind regards,

      Reply
  5. Aziz Jami November 7, 2015 2:50 am

    Is Afghanistan one of the Treaty conutries. If no, is there any other window for Afghan citizen to invest in the U.S and obtain green card.

    Reply
  6. Tariq November 27, 2015 3:45 am

    Hi

    I need some assistance to setup E2 visa n business in USA.

    Wish great holiday season.

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
    • IanScott December 4, 2015 4:43 am

      Thank you for contacting us. We would be happy to help you with your E-2 visa needs. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation. Kind regards

      Reply
  7. Greg Wright January 23, 2016 1:41 pm

    Good day

    I see South Africa is not on the list. Does AGOA not affect this? It is a trade agreement between the two countries. Or is it that the current status AGOA has bearing?

    Regards

    Greg Wright

    Reply
    • IanScott January 23, 2016 4:11 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. The list of countries eligible for E-2 is set based on a signed Treaty related to this topic. The list stands at around 80 countries so countries are either on the list or they are not. Countries are also added and dropped as the treaty between the countries change but this is not common.

      Thanks,

      Reply
  8. An February 4, 2016 6:47 pm

    Hello,
    I am Belgian and in the United States under an E2 visa. My Belgian employer will merge with another company and will have its headquarters and management still in Belgium, but is owned by an investment group in Germany. Both Germany and Belgium are treaty countries. Will I loose my E2 once the merge is finalized since it is owned by Germans and I am a Belgian?
    Also, does the fact that the headquarters will stay in Belgium play any role and could mean that I get to keep my E2?
    Kind regards,
    An

    Reply
    • IanScott February 4, 2016 7:14 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. The E-2 employee must be the same nationality as the investor. If the Company ownership changes to German, you would not be eligible for an E-2 employee visa unless you were German. The fact that the company resides in Belgium is not relevant for this analysis.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  9. Adarsh A Prasad April 17, 2016 6:43 am

    Hello – I am an INDIAN National domicile in India with wide exposure in working in several countries on consulting works 1 we have $500 k to invest in a food venture in California – the investors are a fund and as the owner and CEO my self and another chef ; both from India ) intend to set up the business et al at US – however we are not under the treaty visa

    – there are three cofounders and an investment fund ( my third confounder is a full timer at the World Bank ) & two of us have to set up and run the business in US as above – we are all Indian nationals – we also have a lot of co facts with investment fund managers in US

    Pls could you guide us :
    1. if and what the procedure is for the EB 5 visa
    2. and can 2 Indian nationals or 1 Indian Nationals apply for this and own and manage the business in the US
    3. We are also thinking is giving a minirity stake confounder status to a leading celebrity chef in California as a potential partner ; part time work per week included with serious KRAs
    4. Are there any issues we have to be cognisant of as we decide to empanel you – I have read you charge $ 5000 k each person / each application 🙂 ?
    Many thanks 🙂
    5. Do you also offer other legal services post deploying in uS , also what other services do I offer for our transition before – during & after securing the visa ) ?

    Reply
    • IanScott April 18, 2016 2:08 am

      Thank you very much for contacting us and we welcome the opportunity to help you with your legal needs.

      At your earliest convenience, we would be happy to offer you a consultation with one of our lawyers. If after the consultation you decide to hire us to work on your matter and your billing is greater than $2,500, our $250 one hour consultation fee will be waived and the amount will be applied towards your future bill. (As such, the consultation would be free).

      While some legal questions appear straight forward, most do not have a yes or no answer and a proper answer requires a review of the facts and circumstances as well as an application of legal knowledge. Moreover, almost all questions require follow up and additional analysis that is best done during a consultation.

      We look forward to working with you and please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation. For your ease of reference, I have included information below to set up a consultation.

      Please find attached our credit card link to make your $250 consultation payment for a one hour consultation. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Once we receive the payment, we can schedule and confirm your appointment. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/scottlegalservices/operating

      Reply
  10. Julio June 6, 2016 3:11 pm

    I am an Italian citizen but my wife is not. I would be eligible for the E-2 visa, but she would not. Since we’re married, and I plan to move to the USA with her, what kind of visa will she get? Or she isn’t eligible for a visa? Note: She’s a citizen of Argentina.

    Reply
    • IanScott June 6, 2016 8:03 pm

      Hello,

      An E-2 spouse can get an E-2 visa as long as the investor is from a Treaty Country (as you are). As such, your wife can get an E-2 visa and work authorization. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your E-2 visa. Kind regards,

      Reply
  11. Gautam July 5, 2016 8:06 pm

    I’m a British citizen working in the US on an L1B visa since Dec 2014. Prior to that I resided in the UK for 8 years and have a property and bank accounts there. I’d like to apply for an E2 visa however I’m not sure I’d qualify on the residency requirements.

    Reply
    • IanScott July 6, 2016 5:40 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. Given the above fact pattern, you would likely still qualify for an E-2 visa. Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards,

      Reply
  12. Tejas July 30, 2016 10:47 am

    Hi my name tejas and i’m indian citizen. I saw the list of treaty country but india is not on the list is there any option for me to e2 visa

    Reply
  13. Bill Ng. August 2, 2016 4:06 pm

    I am Canadian who has a business registered in the US, i am currently working and living with a gay partner in Vietnam, my partner is Vietnamese. Can I apply for E-2 visa and have him coming along under some relevant category ?

    Reply
    • IanScott August 3, 2016 3:20 am

      Thank you for contacting us. If you are legally married, then your husband can get an E-2 spousal visa based on this fact pattern.

      Please contact us if you would like assistance with your E-2 visa. Kind regards,

      Reply
      • Bill Ng. August 3, 2016 5:54 pm

        How do we get a US recognized married certificate if we’re gay? my partner is Vietnamese and he’s never been to the US or Canada. Can we have a marriage ceremony/certificate in a recognized country like Taiwan, is that still accepted in our case ?

        Reply
  14. Hamood Khan August 12, 2016 10:15 am

    I am a Pakistani citizen working in Saudi Arabia. I am interested in establishing a company to start a business in US through E2 Visa. I want to know whether is it necessary to the transfer funds in the company account from Pakistan or I can do it from Saudia. Further, how much is the cost of getting E2 visa

    Reply
    • IanScott August 12, 2016 10:43 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. You can transfer the funds from any country. We charge $5,000 for an E-2 visa. Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation. Kind regards,

      Reply
  15. Hamood Khan August 12, 2016 10:45 am

    Is it necessary to stick to a business that was presented at the time of application or later on one can be engaged in different businesses.

    Reply
    • IanScott August 12, 2016 10:42 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. If the business change is significant, you must get approval. We would be happy to assist you with the assessment so please feel free to set up a consultation. Kind regards,

      Reply
  16. Jayesh August 30, 2016 9:11 am

    Sir I am Indian I want to E-2Visa?

    Reply
    • IanScott September 1, 2016 1:43 am

      Hello and thank you very much for contacting us. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S.. I have attached our E-2 visa brochure here that describes our services and fees. We can help you with the E-2 visa, your business plan and your business entity set-up.

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and I have attached the link to set up a consultation below.

      https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/scottlegalservices/operating

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  17. Al September 18, 2016 12:18 am

    I’m from Iraq and would like to apply for e2 visa. Am I eligible?!

    Reply
  18. Michael September 25, 2016 3:16 pm

    I am a Nigerian, my country is not included, i have access to Togo passport and Togo is included. Can i apply with Togo passport? Thanks

    Reply
  19. Tanya October 13, 2016 10:52 pm

    Hi, i am from Bangladesh ,now in us with tourist visa .i m going to buy a coffee shop.pls let me know how I can get e2 visa and how much u will charge for that total.
    Thanks
    Tanya

    Reply
    • IanScott October 14, 2016 1:21 am

      Hello and thank you very much for contacting us. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S.. I have attached a link to our E-2 visa brochure below that describes our services and fees and you can see from the brochure that we can also help you with your business plan and your business entity set-up.

      E-2 Visa Brochure

      http://legalservicesincorporated.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/E-2BrochureScottLegalServices20151.pdf

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and I have attached the link to set up a consultation below.

      https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/scottlegalservices/operating

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  20. Jiang Jin October 14, 2016 2:37 pm

    Dear Scoot,
    my cousin is a tourist from China currently and is interested in buying a restaurant. please advise if there is a chance that he can get e2 visa in a way and how much u will charge for that total.
    Thanks, JJ

    Reply

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