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How Hard Is It To Get an E-2 Visa?

Posted on June 13, 2022
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By Heather Beliles, M. Ed.

Getting an E-2 visa isn’t entirely difficult. What is more, the approval rate of E-2 Treaty investor visas is about 90%. But, how hard is it to get an E-2 visa really?

What generally constitutes as the hard part is gathering the required documents and correctly ordering them in the application packet, showing proof of substantial investment – and that the source of funds have come from a legitimate source, demonstrating qualifications to implement and direct the enterprise, and ensuring all co-applicants are present for the visa interview. If the applicant meets the mandatory conditions, it should not be too difficult to get an E-2 visa.

How Many E2 Visas Are Issued Each Year?

While the following numbers include the spouses and children of investor applicants, below is a breakdown of E-2 investor visas issued, according to year:

  • 2017: 43,673
  • 2018: 41,181
  • 2019: 43,286
  • 2020: 23,493
  • 2021: 33,129

The above Nonimmigrant Visas Issued by Classification table can be found in the annual report published by the U.S. Department of State.

Causes for E-2 Denials

Though the approval rate for E-2 visas is relatively high, there are many factors which remain as deciding factors on whether the visa application is going to be approved. More specifically, the premise of E-2 visa denials relate particularly to three categories; the applicant, the investment and the business.

Applicant-related E-2 Visa Denials

  • The investor’s inability to develop and direct their enterprise
    • His or her educational history does not relate to the business
    • The investor’s professional background fails to prove the skills relate to the business
    • Their previous experience does not indicate an aptitude to run such business
  • The investor fails to demonstrate competency in the industry
    • When competency does not exist, the investor shows no indication he or she will hire employees to facilitate the direction of the enterprise
  • The investor does not have acceptable ties to his or her country of origin
  • He or she cannot demonstrate their enterprise is an at-risk one, meaning they cannot demonstrate sufficient personal financial risk
  • His or her previous travels have been to certain countries
  • The E-2 Treaty investor applicant has previous criminal convictions
  • The visa applicant has previously worked in or resided in U.S. illegally

Investment-related E-2 Visa Denials

  • The E-2 visa applicant does not have a substantial investment amount which he or she plans to use in the United States 
  • The source of the investment funds and/or assets were founded from illegitimate and illegal means

While the United States government agency officers would automatically perform some additional investigations on investments amounting less $100k, there remains a small chance a lesser-amount investment could still qualify for an E-2 visa.

Business-related E-2 Visa Denials

  • The E-2 investor is unable to convey their enterprise is not marginal, meaning the business merely generates enough money to support the investor and their household
  • It is impossible for the interviewing officer to project the enterprise’s revenue to be self-sustainable within the first five years of operation
  • The operation of the business does not otherwise make financial sense
  • Finding United States citizens to fill the open positions appears to be somewhat effortless

To increase the likelihood of your E-2 visa being approved, contact our office today. As immigration attorneys, we specialize in E-2 cases, and can guide you through the process. 

Is Getting an E-2 Visa Easy?

  • The E-2 visa applicant should consider selecting a business with a high success rate of the return on investment
    • Enterprises include, but are not limited to, lawn care services, carpet cleaning business, property management companies, etc.
  • The E-2 Treaty investor should consider applying from their nation of origin, rather than waiting to arrive to the United States prior to applying
  • The applicant should complete his or her business plan prior to beginning their application process
  • For applicants needing less of a hands-on approach from an immigration attorney, the applicant can use their services simply to review the application packets and ensure it is done properly, is complete and the proper fees are paid

If you are wondering how long does it take to get an E-2 visa, you can read our blog or contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Conclusion of How Hard Is It To Get an E-2 Visa?

Foreign national investors interested in getting an E-2 visa by investing in a U.S. business can easily do so, provided they meet all of the necessary criteria. Especially knowing the approval rate of E-2 visa is about 90%. Furthermore, there are around 30,000 E-2 Treaty investor visas issued each year, though a portion of this is comprised of spouses and/or children.

It should be noted E-2 visa applicants often receive a rejection based on several easily-fixable factors. Either the applicant has not presented a completed visa application, or they have one but failed to sign a page or two, they do not have a proper business plan, or they have not provided sufficient supporting documents to the interviewing officer. Each applicant and their co-applicant must attend the visa interview, if they are not present, this may cause a rejection as well.

Such visa applications are often denied when the E-2 investor has an insufficient academic track record or lacks relative professional experience. Furthermore, if the applicant cannot demonstrate competence, is otherwise incapable of directing the enterprise, or does not intend to hire people to who are, he or she should anticipate an immediate denial.

For a higher probability of an E-2 visa approval, the investor must be from a treaty nation, show their business is an at-risk one and is not marginal, have a substantial investment, prove the source of their investment funds is legitimate, and show how their business will create jobs for U.S. citizens. Though, such job positions should not be too easily fillable. Additionally, the investor should also prove sufficient ties to his or her country of origin.

In order for investors to make the process somewhat easier and/or shorter, they could apply from their home country, so as to only go through the process at their local U.S. embassy or consulate, rather than through the consulate and through the USCIS after arrival to the United States. Also, the applicant could expedite their visa processing time by paying for premium processing, reducing the length of time down to 15 calendar days.

If all the requirements are met, obtaining an E-2 visa is rather easy.

Is it easier to get an E-2 visa if I am already in the U.S.?

The investor’s location is not indicative of how easy it will be to get an E-2 visa. It is not necessarily easier to get the visa from within the U.S., as the process goes through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office, where the rules seem to be a bit more stringent. 

What makes it difficult to get an E-2 visa in the United States?

The main reason is that the applicant’s investment is not substantial enough. Or, not having at least a 50% ownership in the business. Likewise, if the investor does not have substantial ties to his or her home country, getting an E-2 visa will be quite difficult.

How much money is required for an E-2 visa in the United States?

Generally speaking, at least $100,000 is needed. There are cases with as low as an $80,000 investment that have been approved. Each case is unique, so it is important to meet all other criteria.

If my E-2 visa application was denied based on an insufficient investment amount, can I re-apply?

f this is the only reason for the denial, and an additional investment has been made, it is suggested to re-file the E-2 visa application.

What is the approval rate of getting an E-2 visa?

The approval rate of getting an E-2 visa is about 90%.

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