Area of Law: USA Travel and Immigration
Answer # 1075
Investment in Business E-2 VisaRegion: Ontario Answer # 1075
What is a Business E-2 Visa?
E-2 treaty investor visas allow Canadian citizens to:
- buy or start businesses in the USA, and also allow Canadians who are
- executives, supervisors or specially skilled employees of those businesses to work there.
How long is an E-2 Visa valid?
For Canadians, the E-2 visa can be valid from three months to five years at one time. It may be renewed indefinitely so long as the business continues to operate. Upon conclusion of the business (such as if the business closes or is sold), investors must return to Canada, unless they have obtained other legal USA immigration status.
Eligibility requirements to be an E-2 treaty investor
- Investor must be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. Canada and the USA do have such a treaty.
- The investor must have invested or be actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide (legitimate) business or enterprise in the USA.
- The investor must be seeking to enter the USA solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.
- The E-2 investor applicant must own at least 50% of the USA business. If they own less than 50%, they may be able to work in the USA as an E-2 employee as long as more than 50% of the USA enterprise is Canadian own.
- Canadian Permanent Residents or landed immigrants may be eligible for an E-2 visa, as long as they are a citizen of an E-2 treaty country. For instance, a Canadian permanent resident who is a Japanese citizen may apply, but one who is an Indian (not an E-2 treaty country), may not apply.
What are examples of an E-2 active commercial enterprise?
Businesses eligible for the E-2 visa cannot be passive, idle or speculative. This means they must have employees and be engaged in some type of commercial activity. For example:
- Retail or convenience stores
- Gas stations
- Dental or medical clinics
- Nail or beauty salons
How are spouses and children of E-2 visa holders affected?
- Spouses of E-2 investors or employees may accompany the principal applicant and do not have to be Canadian citizens, so long as the principal applicant is Canadian.
- Spouses of E-2 investors are entitled to employment authorization. This means that they can seek employment anywhere in the USA without restrictions or limitations.
- Children of E-2 investors, who are under 21 years of age, or who are employees of the business may accompany the principal applicant.
- Children are permitted to attend school in the USA.
- Children can be citizens of a country other than Canada, so long as the principal applicant is Canadian.
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