E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

Citizens of a treaty country are eligible for an E-2 treaty investor visa

Only citizens of certain countries that have a bi-lateral treaty with the United States are eligible to apply for an E-2 visa. Click here to find out if you are a citizen of a treaty country. To qualify, the enterprise must be considered active, the person(s) applying must have invested or is in the process of investing in the business, the investment amount must be substantial and at risk of being lost, and the investor must enter to oversee and direct the day-to-day operations. The E-2 visa is usually valid for five years, and it may be renewed on an indefinite as long as the business continues to operate.

How much money should be spent to be consider a ‘substantial investment’?

The law and regulations do not state is considered a “substantial investment” for an E-2 visa. Opinions vary as to the amount needed – but it is generally agreed that the investment should be around $100,000 or more. There may be some situations where the investment can be lower – even as little as $50,000.00. However, these usually involve enterprises that act as a subsidiary to a parent company in the foreign investor’s home country. In these types of situations, the investor may want to consider an L-1 visa for new office start-ups.

What does it mean when the investment has to be ‘at risk’?

To qualify for an E-2 visa, the investor must have already spent the money towards the startup or purchase of the business. This is the meaning of “at risk” – specifically, the investment must be at risk of being lost of the business is unsuccessful. For example, buying a business for $100,000 and paying the seller means that the money is at risk.  Buying inventory and furniture for a new business is also considered putting the money at risk.  If an applicant kept the funds in a bank account and applied for an E-2 visa, the officer would not deem this to be at risk because the investor has not irrevocably committed the funds towards the enterprise.

If purchasing an existing business, the investor can make the sale contingent on approval of the E-2 visa as long as the money is first placed in escrow (an account held in trust be a neutral third party). If the visa is approved, the funds would be transferred from escrow to the seller. If the visa is denied, the funds can be returned to the applicant. This is a prudent way to protect your funds yet still meeting the E-2 criteria.

What is considered active commercial enterprise?

The applicant must purchase or start an active commercial enterprise. This means that the business should be providing some type of tangible good or service, such as a car wash, gas station, physical therapy clinic, etc. The key is that the enterprise cannot be passive, idle or speculative, such as real estate investment.  You can also either start a new business or buy an existing business on an E-2 visa.

What are the ownership requirements?

To qualify as an E-2 investor, the applicant must own at least half (50%) of the U.S. business. If the applicant owns less than half, he or she may still be able to work for the enterprise as an E-2 employee so long as more than 50% of that U.S. enterprise is owned by citizens of the treaty country.  For example, three Canadian citizens each own one-third of a U.S. restaurant.  While none of the owners qualify as E-2 investors since each person’s equity is 33%, they can enter and work at the restaurant as E-2 employees because the restaurant is more than 50% owned b Canadian citizens.

What are E-2 essential employees?

If a U.S. enterprise is at least 50% owned by citizens of a treaty country, the company may be able to hire employees who are also citizens of that country to work for the U.S. company under E-2 visas as executives, managers, supervisors or employees with essential skills.

Can spouses and children enter on E-2 visas?

Yes – spouses and children under 21 of E-2 investors or employees are permitted to accompany the principal applicant.  E-2 spouses are entitled to apply for employment authorization – which means that they can work anywhere in the United States without any restrictions or limitations. Children under 21 are permitted to attend school in the United States.

Our E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Legal Services

Our services include: assessing whether the applicant meets the criteria to qualify as an E-2 treaty investor under the appropriate regulations; filing the petition and all supporting evidence at a U.S. consulate abroad or through USCIS; and preparing the applicant for the E-2 interview at the consulate.  We can also assist clients with selecting and forming the appropriate corporate entity, obtaining a FEIN, social security number, and all other relevant paperwork.

Some of our approved E-2 businesses include:


  • Social media applications
  • Software solutions
  • Wireless broadband distributors
  • Video production companies
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Recreational vehicle dealerships
  • Retail toy manufacturers
  • Hair salons
  • Nail salons
  • Coffee shops
  • Juice bars
  • Nutrition services
  • Restaurants
  • Dollar retail stores
  • Travel agencies
  • Fitness centers
  • Shipping/postal/small business centers
  • Sports instruction programs
  • Textile recycling operations
  • Wineries
  • Real estate brokerages
  • Farms
  • Travel and touring agencies
  • Sports instruction programs

Testimonials from some of our E-2 clients

“Cedric was a consummate professional and incredibly helpful with my E-2 visa application. He was readily available and prepared for every question I had, making the application process as stress-free and painless as possible.”

Owner | Showreel International, Inc.

“The processes for all of our E-2 and dependent visas were smooth and we have your team to thank for that. We were very well prepared, our applications were complete and organized, and we could not be more thankful for your guidance and assistance.”

Franchisee | Postal Annex

“We expected a complicated process with major challenges and a lot of paperwork. Cedric Shen made it simple for us to navigate the system, gather the documents and prepare for the meetings. Even after he was paid, he was there to check in and help with other questions. We were successful in gaining status and can’t thank Cedric and his team enough.”

Franchisees | Engel & Völkers

“It was a true pleasure working with Cedric for my visa. He was patient, extremely sharp, and a true pro in this domain. I most appreciate the fact that he had my back the entire time. I showed up at my interview confident because of his terrific preparation, and it was a walk in the park. He’s now the only attorney I would trust for all future visas for both myself and my company, and I look forward to working with him as we grow.”

Founder | Spayce Inc.

“One of the smartest decisions I have ever made was to retain the services of Cedric Shen and Maximilian Law Inc. to assist me in obtaining my E-2 investor visa. I was referred to many different sources, but from the very first conversation with Cedric, all my instincts told me this was the guy I wanted to work with. I found Cedric to not only be knowledgeable, but he always took the time to explain every detail in very clear and simple-to-understand terms. I never felt brushed off, or afraid to ask a stupid question. When I needed something, Cedric was always there. I always heard back from him the same day, or within 24 hours. He would reply with knowledgeable, well thought out options, and I always found him to be remarkably efficient. When the unexpected came my way on a couple of different occasions, Cedric knew exactly what to do and stayed on top of things from start to finish. He made sure I knew what was going on and what to expect. My interview at the consulate could not have gone smoother. I was completely prepared to answer any questions. Since the materials were presented properly, it turned out to be a fairly open-and-shut case. The whole process took about twenty minutes. There were other applicants who had arrived before me, and who were still there pleading their cases as I was on my way out the door. This is a big decision, it can be a long road, and it is a very complex system. When something is this important, and can be so challenging, having flawless support is essential. I would absolutely turn to Cedric for any future needs. I have recommended him to my friends, and would urge anyone considering an immigration attorney to look no further. Best of all, thanks to Cedric Shen, the visa process went so smoothly that I was free to give my business the full attention it needed, without having to worry about the rest…and that’s already paying off.”

Owner | Finger Puppets Inc.

“From the very first inquiry which was answered promptly until my E-2 Visa was issued and afterwards, I found Cedric Shen outstanding in every way. Prompt, Enthusiastic, Knowledgable, Careful and Thorough. I had wondered if I could do it myself, but he took all the stress of doing the correct documents and supporting documents away from me and when I walked into my consulate interview, I was VERY glad that I had chosen Cedric. Thank you. Truly.”

Owner | H2O Trips

“I had a very short period of time before my appointed interview date for my E-2 Visa in Vancouver. Cedric and his staff pulled out all the stops and put together an excellent application package that was exceptionally well organized and convincing. My interview only took ten minutes and I was approved. I would highly recommend Maxillian Law offices for anyone wishing to pursue an E-2 visa to the United States. Thank you Cedric and your excellent staff for all your hard work and professional expertise!”

Owner | Renew Crew California

“Moving to Sunny California was always on our radar but honestly all the legal roadblocks were daunting. Cedric was one of many attorneys I interviewed and consulted with. He was by far the most genuine and the most knowledgeable attorneys I spoke to. Working with Cedric was really very straightforward and quite simple. We met and together we reviewed all of our options (we bought an existing business in California). He took the time to explain the benefits and disadvantages of each route before we chose one we felt worked best for our situation. He connected us to various other resources for our business and each of his recommendations were exactly what we needed to get all of our pieces together. Cedric successfully got us our E-2 investor visa in less than 3 months. He was prepared and organized each step of the way with a list of all our necessary documents. He kept in close contact at each step to ensure that we were on track and that all of our concerns or questions were addressed. Not once were we frustrated or worried about the process. Everything went very smoothly with Cedric. From other people who had been through this process (with other attorneys), we’d heard such crazy horror stories. We had nothing but professionalism and efficiency with Cedric. I have recommended him to others based in my experience with him and would not hesitate to work with him again!”

Owners | Grill-A-Burger Restaurant

“I am not in the habit of making recommendations for lawyers but with Cedric I had to make an exception. From start to finish, Cedric was extremely thorough in his explanation of the steps involved in my E-2 visa application and ensured that I was fully prepared for the process – a process that resulted in the most favorable outcome. He always made sure he was available to answer my questions as they would arise (or he would get back to me in short order), which was most appreciated. I therefore, without hesitation, fully endorse Cedric and his team to those who maybe considering him for legal counsel on immigration matters.”

Owner | Carefree Assisted Living Center

“Hi Cedric, we received our approval for an E-2 visa. Thanks so much for all your work and support – you are amazing!!! With much gratitude.”


“Maximilian Law was quick, efficent and supportive. Their thoroughness led me to successfully acquire an E-2 visa. Their flat fee was also reassuring and greatly appreciated.”