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What is the E2 and E1 Visa and who is Eligible?

E Visa Eligibility | E Visa Eligible Countries

The E2 Treaty Investor Visa and the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa are popular options for individuals seeking to relocate to the United States to establish or operate a business there. These programs allow eligible business owners to either start their own business or invest in/purchase an existing one. Additionally, the spouse of the business owner is eligible to apply for work authorization in the U.S.

Although there is no specific minimum investment requirement for an E2 visa, the U.S. State Department recommends consulates to consider an investment of approximately USD $100,000, which does not necessarily have to be entirely in cash. However, it’s important to note that E Visas are not automatically available to everyone.

E-2 Visa Eligibility for Investors Not from E2 Countries

The E visa program is only open to citizens of E Treaty Countries (referred to as E Treaty Countries), which are countries that have established treaties with the United States. If your country of citizenship is not on the list of E Treaty Countries, there is still a possibility of utilizing the E visa program by first becoming a citizen of an E-2 Treaty country. Our team of immigration lawyers assists clients in obtaining citizenship of an E2 Treaty Country and subsequently filing the E2 visa application.

If you are a citizen of a non-E2 treaty country such as China, India, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, or Vietnam, you cannot directly apply for an E-2 Treaty Visa. Instead, you must first acquire citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country. There are numerous countries available on the list to choose from, and the entire process of obtaining citizenship in one of these E-2 Treaty Countries can be completed in less than a year.

There are various pathways to obtain citizenship in an E2 visa treaty country, including:

  • Citizenship through Donation
  • Citizenship Through Residency
  • Citizenship by Bank Deposit
  • Citizenship by Investment
  • Citizenship through Ancestry
  • Citizenship through Special Association

If you acquire citizenship through a “financial investment,” U.S. law now mandates that you reside in that country for a period of three (3) years before applying for an E visa. It is important to note that “domicile” in this context does not necessarily mean being a resident of that country. However, there are alternative methods to navigate around this domicile requirement. Please speak to one of our team for further details.

We assist clients in obtaining citizenship in various E2 countries, among others, enabling them to pursue their E2 status in the United States.

Citizenship by Donation:
Grenada, Armenia and Egypt

Only three E visa countries offer citizenship by donation.

Grenada, Armenia, and Egypt are the only three E visa countries that offer citizenship through donation. According to U.S. law, individuals applying for an E visa through citizenship obtained via a “financial investment” must reside in that country for three (3) years. The concept of a “donation” does not inherently encompass the idea of a financial investment.

Citizens of Grenada who acquire citizenship through donation can also pass their nationality to their spouse. The spouse of a Grenadian citizen can obtain nationality through a separate law that is unrelated to either donation or investment, making them eligible for a U.S. E visa. While Grenadian law explicitly states that a donation is not considered a “Financial Investment,” the laws of Armenia and Egypt are less clear in this regard.

Grenada Citizenship Program Summary

Donation: USD 150 000 for a single applicant (plus additional application fees), USD 200 000 for more than two applicants (e.g. main applicant and spouse).

Children under the age of 30 can be included provided they are dependents, as well as unmarried siblings with no dependents).

No visit or language requirements.

Processing times between 3-6 months

Dual nationality: allowed.

Visa free travel to UK and Schengen countries for up to 90 out of every 180 days. Visa free travel to over 143 countries.

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What is the E2 and E1 Visa and who is Eligible? | Download Program Factsheet

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