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Two E-2 Investor Visas or an Investor and Employee Visa?

By November 2, 2021E-2 Visa, Immigration
investors and employees shaking hands in an office

If you and your business partner want to set up a company and come to the US, you can either both apply for an  E-2 investor visa , or one can apply for an investor visa and the other one for an E-2 employee visa . This blog post will summarize the main differences these two approaches.

Example

You and your business partner (or a family member) are thinking about coming to the U.S. and both of you want to run a US company/have some executive role in the company. You may be wondering which option is better: Both of you applying for an E-2 Investor visa or one of you applying for an investor visa and the other one for an employee visa?

We have summarized some differences between these 2 approaches in the chart below.

Two E-2 investors E-2 Investor and E-2 Employee
Investment Each of you would have to make a substantial investment in the E-2 business and the investment amount should be the same/similar for each of you. Each of you would also have to show where the money comes from (the source of money).

 

Only the E-2 Investor has to make a substantial investment in the E2 company. The E-2 employee does not have to make any investment.
Ownership Each investor has to own 50% in the business

 

The Investor has to own at least 50% in the business, but the E-2 employee does not have to have any ownership
Role in the company For each investor, we would need to show that he/she will be developing and directing the company (will have an executive role in the company) (e.g. one investor will be the CEO and the other one will be the COO). For the E-2 investor, we would need to show that he/she is coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the business. The E-2 employee would need to qualify under one of the following categories: executive, managerial, or specialized skills employee.
Flexibility As long as you keep 50% ownership in the E-2 company, you will be able to keep working in the U.S. and your status is not dependent on the status of the second investor. For example, if the second investor sells his ownership (his 50% in the company) to someone else or if the second investor becomes a green card holder, that will not have any impact on your E-2 status. Your E-2 status will always be dependent on the E-2 status of the company. For example, if the E-2 investor becomes a green card holder, you would no longer have a valid E-2 status. Additionally, if the ownership of the E-2 investor drops below 50% (or ownership of the foreign nationals from the treaty country drops below 50%), you would no longer have a valid E-2 status.
Family members Both investors will be able to bring their spouses and children under the age of 21 to the U.S. Spouses of E-2 investors can apply for a work authorization once they are in the U.S. Both the E-2 investor and the E-2 employee will be able to bring their spouses and children under the age of 21 to the U.S. Spouses of both the E2 investor and E-2 employee can apply for a work authorization once they are in the U.S.

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