The E-2 Visa is a treaty investor visa that enables its holders to live and work in the United States.
The United Kingdom is one of the treaty countries in this program, meaning that its government has a relevant treaty with the United States government. This means that citizens of the United Kingdom are eligible for an E-2 Visa, provided they meet the investment requirements.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of an E-2 Visa for UK nationals as well as the requirements and the process involved in obtaining one.
For more information on the E-2 Visa, please see our article E-2 Visa USA 2023: The Ultimate Guide by Experts.
E-2 Visa Requirements
As well as being a citizen of a treaty investor country, which includes, the United Kingdom, the key requirement for an E-2 Visa is to make a significant investment in a qualifying business in the United States. This can involve either establishing a new business or investing in an existing business that is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
You must make a substantial investment in a US business or commercial enterprise. There is no specific minimum amount required, but it must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business.
The United States Foreign Affairs Manual does not quantify what “substantial” is, but the rule of thumb is to invest at least $100,000. However, this is not an official guideline and some treaty investors have been able to invest less and be granted an E-2 Visa. A ‘bona fide enterprise’ refers to a real and active business that makes goods or provides services for profit. It should also meet all the legal requirements to operate in its area.
Other requirements: The investment must be classified as a real operating enterprise, rather than a passive or speculative investment. The funds you invest must be at risk and committed to the enterprise, meaning that you must have a personal financial stake in the success of the business.
The investment cannot be marginal or idle. It means the business should be established for more than just the purpose of supporting you and your family. The capital invested must be lawfully acquired. In other words, you cannot use money obtained through illegal means.
The business should have profitability, be able to generate more than enough income to provide a living for you and your family and be a significant economic contribution to the US.
As the primary investor, you must be actively involved in the development and direction of the business. You must own at least 50 percent of the enterprise or have operational control through a managerial position.
What are the benefits of having an E-2 Visa for a citizen of the United Kingdom?
There are multiple benefits of the E-2 Visa, making it an attractive option for investors from the United Kingdom. For example, with an E-2 Visa, you will have access to the following benefits:
- You can legally live in the United States, 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 United States.
- You can travel freely to and from the United States 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 is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
A Step-by-Step Guide to an E-2 Visa Application
- Plan Your investment: Decide on the business or commercial enterprise you want to invest in, whether it’s purchasing an existing business or starting a new one. Calculate the amount of money you need to invest and develop a solid business plan that outlines your investment, the nature of the business, and its potential to be profitable.
- Establish the enterprise: Make the investment in a treaty enterprise.
- Submit the application: Prepare all the necessary documentation for your application and complete the Online Visa Application (DS-160) form if you are applying from outside the United States, then submit it via the visa appointment service website. If you are applying from within the country, you need to file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification. If you are an employee, your eligible employer must file Form I-129 on your behalf. Visa applicants or employers must send the forms and documents to the USCIS.
- Schedule and attend your visa interview: Be prepared to answer questions about your investment, the nature of your business, and your intentions while in the US.
- Provide Biometric Information: You, as the principal applicant, and your family will need to provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs, during the visa application process.
- Receive E-2 Visa: If successful, you will receive a positive decision on your application, and the E-2 Visa, allowing you to enter the United States. The visa allows you to work only for the business you invested in, and your family members can accompany you to the United States.
- Maintain E-2 Status: Now you have to maintain your treaty investor status by actively managing and operating the business. You can renew your E-2 Visa (usually every two years) for as long as you continue to meet the visa requirements.
E-2-Visa Application Document Checklist
- DS-160 confirmation page: A completed and printed DS-160 confirmation page, which is the online non-immigrant visa application form.
- Passport: Your valid passport with a minimum of six months’ validity beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.
- Photograph: One passport-sized color photograph that meets the US visa photo requirements.
- Business plan: A detailed and comprehensive business plan outlining your investment, the nature of the enterprise, and its potential for profitability.
- Proof of investment funds: Documents demonstrating that the funds underpinning the investment are legitimate and legally acquired.
- Proof of bona fide enterprise: Documentation proving that the business you plan to invest in is a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking.
- Articles of incorporation/registration: If the business is already established, provide the articles of incorporation or registration.
- Lease agreement or property ownership: If you have already secured a location for your business, include the lease agreement or documents showing property ownership.
- Financial statements: If applicable, provide the enterprise’s financial records for the past two to three years, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
- Market research and projections: Any market research or projections that support the potential success of your business.
- CV/Resume: Your curriculum vitae or resume, highlighting your relevant experience and qualifications.
- Employment details: Information about any employees you plan to hire in the US, along with their roles and responsibilities.
- Proof of managerial role: If you will be managing the enterprise, provide evidence of your managerial position.
- Proof of treaty country citizenship: Documents showing your citizenship in a treaty country that is eligible for the visa.
- Payment receipt: A receipt confirming payment of the visa application fee.
- Corporate documents (if applicable): If the enterprise has multiple owners or shareholders, provide corporate documents showing ownership percentages.
- Additional supporting documents: Any additional documents that can strengthen your case, such as contracts, licenses, or permits.
Why work with Global Citizen Solutions for your E-2 Visa application?
If you think the E-2 Visa may be the right option for you, or if you’d like to know more about other US visa options, don’t hesitate to contact us and book a complimentary 30-minute call with one of our experts.
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 navigate the intricacies of 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.
• Our team has never had a case rejected. Our 100 percent approval rate sets us apart from our competitors and guarantees that you can expect a successful application.
• Our transparent pricing covers all the processes from opening your bank account, document certification, and legal due diligence to investment and submission. As there is one fee for the entire process, you can be confident that you will not face any hidden costs later.
• All data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server. You can be safe knowing that your personal data is treated with the utmost security.
• Global Citizen Solutions provides an all-encompassing solution. Our support can continue even after you receive your passport. We offer additional services such as company incorporation, Trusts, and Foundations formation.
• The BeGlobal Onboarding System® allows you to access the status of your application every step of the way, something that sets us apart from our competitors.
Frequently Asked Questions about the E-2 Visa
What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Program?
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Program allows individuals from treaty countries to enter the United States for the purpose of investing a substantial amount of capital in an eligible business, either by starting a new business or purchasing an existing business in the United States.
UK citizens can obtain an E-2 Visa, which permits them to stay in the United States for a maximum of five years and re-enter the country multiple times. Furthermore, they can request extensions of up to two years at a time without any set upper limit. E-2 Visa holders are also eligible to bring their spouse and children with them to the United States.
Can my family members join me in the US if I am on an E-2 Visa?
Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for derivative E-2 Visas, and they do not need to be the same nationality as you.
Your children would be able to attend a public school if you have an E-2 Visa, and your spouse would be permitted to legally work in the United States without needing to apply for an Employment Authorization Document.
Does an E-2 Visa holder have to pay tax in the United States?
Yes, you need to pay E-2 Visa taxes on all qualifying income. However, how much you pay depends on your tax status.
Depending on whether you’re a resident alien or a non-resident alien (for tax purposes), the tax treatment will differ. It’s recommended to take the Substantial Presence Test to determine your status.
If in doubt, speak to a tax specialist to help determine your tax situation in the country.
How long can UK nationals stay in the US with an E-2 Visa?
With an E-2 investor visa, UK nationals will be granted an initial stay of two years.
Are there any special conditions for UK E-2 Visa applicants?
No, the UK is one of the E-2 treaty countries, so its citizens are eligible for the E-2 Visa, with no special conditions for visa applicants or visa holders.
What is the minimum investment an E-2 Visa applicant should make?
The rule of thumb is to invest at least $100,000 in a US business. However, this is not an official guideline, and some treaty investors have been able to invest less and be granted an E-2 Visa.
Can I apply for the E-2 Visa if I'm already in the US on another visa?
Yes, you can apply for a change of status to E-2 if you are eligible and meet the requirements. You will have to fill out Form I-129 and send it to the USCIS requesting treaty investor status.
You will need to send documentation confirming your citizenship. In addition to this, you will also need to provide information on your investment enterprise, proving that it makes commercial sense and will contribute to the US economy (and is not a marginal enterprise solely).
How can I get an E-2 Visa renewal?
An E-2 Visa can be extended for up to two years at a time, with no maximum limit. It is important to note, however, that the applicant must demonstrate that they intend to leave the United States when their visa expires or is terminated.
How much does an E-2 Visa cost for UK citizens?
As well as making a substantial investment, it is important to factor in the various additional costs involved in applying for an E-2 Visa, such as business entity formation costs.
Does an E-2 Visa directly lead to a Green Card?
No, the E-2 Visa is a non immigrant visa, so it doesn’t directly lead to a Green Card.