Timelines and Step-By-Step Guide for E-2 Visa


The E-2 visa is a coveted pathway for individuals seeking to invest in and manage a business in the United States. This non-immigrant visa allows foreign nationals to live and work in the U.S. as long as they actively manage their investment. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the E-2 visa application process, providing insights into how long it takes to obtain this visa and offering a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the intricate journey to achieving your American dream.

Understanding the E-2 Visa

Before embarking on the E-2 visa journey, it’s vital to comprehend the basics of this visa category:

  1. Eligibility: To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must be a citizen of a country that has a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with the United States. The investment you plan to make in the U.S. must be substantial and at risk, and you should be actively involved in managing the enterprise.
  2. Treaty Countries: The U.S. maintains treaties with many countries worldwide. However, the terms and conditions of these treaties may vary. Therefore, the first step is to determine whether your home country is eligible for the E-2 visa.
  3. Investment Amount: While there is no specific minimum investment for the E-2 visa. It should be significant and proportionate to the sort of business. Generally, investments under $100,000 may face scrutiny, while larger investments are more likely to be approved.

How To Get An E2 Visa For USA

Here is a breakdown of the requirements for securing an E-2 visa:

Develop a Business Plan

A compelling business plan is crucial for your E-2 visa application. Your plan should outline the nature of your business, the source and amount of your investment, as well as the employment opportunities your enterprise will create. It should also emphasize how your investment will be “at risk” and “substantial.”

Establish or Acquire a Business

You can either establish a new business in the U.S. or acquire an existing one. Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to ensure that the enterprise meets the E-2 visa requirements. If you’re acquiring an existing business, you must prove that it will undergo a substantial change or that your investment will significantly improve it.

Invest Your Capital

You’ll need to invest the capital required for your E-2 business. This investment should be made before you apply for the visa. Ensure that the funds you invest are well-documented and traceable, as this will be scrutinized during the application process.

Register the Business

Register your business as required by the state in which it operates. You must provide evidence of this registration as part of your visa application.

Gather Required Documents

To initiate the E-2 visa application process, gather the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • Completed Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Treaty investor application forms (DS-156E)
  • Proof of your investment
  • Business plan
  • Ownership and operational control evidence
  • E-2 visa treaty country eligibility proof

Pay the Visa Application Fee

Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to pay the visa application fee. At the time of writing, the fee for an E-2 visa is $205.

Schedule an Appointment

After paying the visa fee, schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. Be ready to undergo a visa interview, where you’ll discuss your business and investment in detail.

Attend the Visa Interview

During the interview, they will ask about your business plans, investment, and your ties to your home country. Be ready to provide compelling answers and bring along all the required documents to support your case.

Visa Approval

If your application is granted, you will obtain an E-2 visa stamp in your passport. The processing time for the visa itself can vary depending on the specific embassy or consulate, but it typically takes a few weeks to a few months.

Timelines for Obtaining an E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa process is a multi-step journey, and the timeline for each step can vary depending on various factors:

  1. Business Planning and Investment: The time it takes to develop a business plan, invest the required capital, and register the business is largely dependent on your specific circumstances. It might last from months to a year or more.
  2. Document Gathering: Gathering the necessary documents, including those verifying your investment and business plan, can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on your organizational skills and the complexity of your case.
  3. Visa Appointment Scheduling: The availability of visa interview seats at your home country’s US embassy or consulate may vary. It’s advisable to schedule your appointment well in advance, as some locations may have a waiting period of a few weeks to a few months.
  4. Visa Interview: The actual visa interview is usually a brief process, typically lasting around 10-15 minutes. However, the waiting period for the interview appointment can significantly affect the overall timeline.
  5. Visa Processing: The processing time at the U.S. embassy or consulate varies from one location to another. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The officer reviewing your case will decide whether additional administrative processing is required, which can add to the processing time.
  6. Visa Issuance: Once your application is approved, you’ll receive the E-2 visa stamp in your passport. The time it takes to issue the visa can also vary but is typically a matter of a few days to a few weeks.

Overall, the timeline for obtaining an E-2 visa can range from several months to over a year, depending on individual circumstances and embassy or consulate processing times. It’s crucial to be patient and prepare well for each step of the process to minimize potential delays.

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