Intro to E2 Visa
The E-2 Visa is a non immigrant visa that allows individuals from treaty countries to enter the US for the purpose of investing a substantial amount of capital in an eligible business.
If you are an Indian investor or entrepreneur, you might find the E2 Visa an attractive choice for launching a business in the United States or acquiring an established one. Nevertheless, meeting the eligibility criteria for an E2 visa necessitates holding citizenship from a nation that has a treat with the United States allowing E2 visas.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of an E2 Visa for Indian nationals, the challenges involved in obtaining one, and some potential ways to overcome those challenges as well as some other US visa options for Indian citizens.
For more information on the E2 Visa, please see our article E2 Visa USA 2023: The Ultimate Guide by Experts.
E2 Visa Requirements
There are various requirements for the E2 Visa, including being a citizen of a country that has a treaty with the United States, making a “substantial investment” in a US enterprise, and stating intent to depart the country when the E2 Visa expires.
For more details, please see the article E2 Visa Requirements — A Detailed Guide.
Because the process is complex for Indian citizens wishing to apply for an E2 visa, it is advisable to consult a US immigration attorney.
While India is not a treaty country, there are some potential pathways for Indian citizens to apply for this visa.
Benefits of an E2 Visa
There are multiple benefits of the E2 Visa, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs. For example, having the visa means you can:
in the US
- You can legally live in the US, work and operate your business.
- Your immediate family (spouse and unmarried children under 21) is included in the visa. Your children can also study in the US.
- You can travel freely to and from the US, without restrictions.
- You can renew the visa indefinitely, as long as the business remains viable and renewal requirements are sustained.
- There is no set minimum investment. An investment will qualify as long as it is considered to be a substantial amount and it is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Obtaining Citizenship to an E2 Country
India is not one of the treaty countries that is eligible for the E2 visa, but there are pathways for Indian nationals to become citizens of E2 countries, enabling them to later apply for an E2 visa.
Many Indian nationals have gained citizenship of other countries that do have a signed treaty with the US. However, it is worth noting that there has been an effort to reduce the number of people applying for an E2 visa after getting citizenship of one of the treaty countries.
Indeed, as of 2023, it is important to bear in mind that if you have acquired citizenship of an E2 treaty country, you will also need to prove that you have been a resident of that country for at least three years.
As holding dual citizenship is not permitted in India, it is recommended that you see advice from immigration lawyers in both India and the US to determine how gaining a new citizenship could affect your status in India.
One way for Indian citizens to become eligible for an E2 Visa is to obtain Grenadian citizenship, which they can do via a citizenship-by-investment program. This can be done either via a National Transformation Fund or an Approved Project.
The National Transformation Fund is a government initiative designed to attract foreign investment and contribute to the nation’s economic development. In order to qualify, you must make a non-refundable contribution of $150,000 to the Fund.
The Approved Project option entails a real estate investment: You can either purchase $220,000 in shares of real estate projects or buy a property worth at least $350,000. The properties involved must be approved by the government. After five years, you can then sell the shares or the property you have bought.
For more details on this option, please see our article Grenada Citizenship by Investment — The Ultimate Guide by Experts.
Canadian citizenship can also offer a pathway to an E2 Visa for an Indian citizen. There are several options for this route.
The Start-Up Visa is an excellent pathway for investors and entrepreneurs to establish themselves in Canada. To qualify, you must first secure a commitment from a designated Canadian venture capital fund (minimum of CAD$200,000), an angel investor fund (minimum of CAD$75,000), or a business incubator.
As well as this commitment, you must also meet the language requirements, with proficiency in English or French mandatory.
Finally, you must also demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and any accompanying family members. For more information about this visa, please see our article Canada Start-Up Visa: The Ultimate Guide by Experts.
The Express Entry system is a streamlined pathway for skilled workers aspiring to become permanent residents of Canada. This program assesses candidates based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows Canadian provinces and territories to nominate foreign workers with skills and experience that align with their specific economic needs. Each province has its own PNP streams and criteria.
For more details on gaining citizenship of Canada, please see our article Canadian Citizenship: Your Key to Global Opportunities.
E2 Alternatives for Indian Nationals
Here are two options to consider:
L1 Visa Requirements
The L-1 Visa (intercompany transfer) is a work visa the USA issues to professionals wishing to legally work in the country. The visa is issued to people who are already employed by a company in another country, and who simply wish to relocate to an American office.
Visa holders who wish to partake in a long-term assignment at a US site or facility must also apply for the L-1 Visa.
The L-1A is given to managers and executives. In turn, the individual must prove they hold an executive or managerial position with the company.
The L-1B is given to individuals whose work requires specialized knowledge capacity.
The benefits of the L-1 Visas include:
- Freely live and work in the US with a temporary residence permit and work permit
- Travel in and out of the US on a valid L-1 Visa
- Your dependents can live with you.
- Your spouse can work in the US.
Similarities Between L1 and E2 Visas
There are several notable similarities between the L1 Visa and the E2 Visa. For example, both allow your spouse and dependent children to stay in the US with you, and both enable a pathway for spouse work authorization.
Meanwhile, they are both temporary, nonimmigrant visas that don’t directly lead to a Green Card. However, either of these visas could eventually be converted into a Green Card, provided certain conditions are met.
The EB-5 Visa is another alternative to the E2 Visa for foreign investors. It requires substantial investment into a commercial enterprise. Additionally, there are also job creation requirements for any foreign investor hoping to gain an EB-5 Visa.
Meanwhile, in comparison with the E2 Visa, there are considerable benefits to the EB-5 Visa. For example, it enables high net worth individuals to gain permanent residency and a direct pathway to a Green Card.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
- The investment amount is $1,050,000 for direct investment and $800,000 for the regional center program.
- The proof of lawful sources and pathway of your investment
- The investment you make must be made in a for-profit commercial entity in the U.S.
- Your EB-5 investments must create at least ten American jobs directly or indirectly within the first two years of your conditional residency.
- Direct investments are made directly to the commercial enterprises that create the jobs.
- In the case of regional investments, the investments are made into the NCE, also called the EB-5 fund. The NCE then loans the fund to the JCE.
For more detailed information, please refer to our article An Expert Guide To The EB-5 Visa Requirements.
For an Indian investor, the E2 Visa can be an appealing option. However, as India is not an E2 treaty country, the path to getting an E2 Visa can be long and complex for Indian citizens, particularly as it dependent on securing citizenship in another country.
Depending on your goals and circumstances, as an Indian citizen, you can also consider applying for other US visas such as L1 and EB5, which have other requirements and benefits.
In order to give yourself the best chance of making a suitable decision, it is advisable to seek immigration advice.
Why work with Global Citizen Solutions?
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right residency or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens. With offices in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Brazil, our multilingual team guides individuals and families from start to finish, providing expert advice considering freedom, mobility, taxation, and security.
- We have helped hundreds of clients from 35+ countries in all the top Residency by Investment and Citizenship by Investment programs. With an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the area, we provide our clients with solid guidance. We have a team of immigration lawyers, and immigration advisers specialized in US immigration.
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Frequently Asked Questions About the E2 Visa for India
Am I eligible for an E2 Visa an Indian Citizen?
India does not have a treaty with the US that enables its citizens to qualify for an E2 Visa. You can consider securing citizenship of another country to become eligible, but you would be required to prove that you have been a resident of that country for at least three years before you could apply for an E2 Visa.
How much is the minimum investment for an E2 Visa?
There is no minimum investment amount for an E2 Visa, but it must be substantial relative to the total cost of the enterprise.
Can I travel in and out of the US on an E2 Visa?
Yes, you can travel in and out of the US as long as your E2 Visa is valid.