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E2 Investor Visa

The E2 visa category enables a citizen of a treaty nation (Germany and Japan have both signed an E1 and E2 treaty, a full up to date list of treaty countries) to enter the United States by investing a considerable sum of money in a business within the country. Some workers employed by this individual or an eligible entity may also meet the requirements for this designation. The following article highlights the E2 visa application process from a German and Japanese perspective.


E2 visa benefits and popularity by the numbers

In 2022 the amount of E visas granted in a year reached 61,949  of those 45,878 were E2 visas (source U.S. Department of State). This is a return to the normal amount after two years of lower numbers due to the travel restrictions during the pandemic. In 2022 Japan was again the leading nation for E visa approvals with a total of 16,443. Germany was in third place, just behind Canada, with 3,897 granted E visa petitions.

While there are certainly some challenges to preparing a proper application, the approval rates are generally very high.

A quick summary of benefits to the holder of an E2 visa are as followed:

  1. Investment Opportunities: E2 visa holders can invest in and manage businesses in the United States, offering opportunities for growth and financial gain.

  2. Flexibility: E2 visas allow for multiple entries into the U.S., enabling the visa holder to travel in and out of the country as needed.

  3. Spouse and Dependents: The visa permits the spouse and unmarried children under 21 to accompany the primary E2 visa holder and also obtain authorization to work in the U.S.

  4. Renewable Status: E2 visas can be extended indefinitely as long as the visa holder maintains the qualifications and the business remains operational and viable.

  5. No Set Investment Amount: While a substantial investment is required, there is no fixed minimum investment amount specified, allowing flexibility in the type and scale of businesses eligible for the visa.

  6. Education and Healthcare: E2 visa holders and their families have access to education and healthcare facilities in the United States.

  7. Path to Permanent Residency: Although the E2 visa itself does not provide a direct path to permanent residency (green card), successful business operations and continued investment could potentially lead to other avenues for permanent residency in the future.

  8. Fast Processing: Compared to some other visa categories, the E2 visa application process tends to be faster, allowing for quicker entry and initiation of business operations in the U.S.

  9. Ability: to apply abroad and from within the U.S.
  10. High approval odds: Historically the E visa applications have seen high appoval odds.


It is important to note that the E2 visa is not a Green card and does not provide a path toward citizenship on its own. On the other had the investment amount is much lower than the EB-5 and the application process is less complex.

Applying for an E2 Visa from within the U.S.

When the investor is currently in the U.S. on a lawful nonimmigrant status, they are authorized to file Form I-129 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and request a change of status from their current classification to the E2 classification. The same can be done by a qualifying employer on behalf of an employee who has current lawful status in the U.S.

Applying for an E2 Visa from outside the U.S.

Applying for the E2 visa outside of the U.S. will involve the U.S. Department of State through the consular processing pathway. In Germany the Frankfurt Consulate will conduct the visa interview and the National Visa Center will process the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Once the visa has been granted you may seek admission at a U.S. port of entry (airport) as an E2 nonimmigrant.

Required Investment amount

While the regulations do not give us a specific dollar amount for the investment amount, the general investment amount is often around $100,000 – $200,000.

The enterprise also may not be marginal. Whether or not an enterprise is classified as marginal depends on its ability to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his/her family. However, even if it currently does not have the capacity to generate such income, it could generate it within five years from the date that the treaty investor’s E-2 classification begins. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(15).

E2 visa vs. EB5 Green card – What are the differences?

The E-2 visa and the EB5 Green Card are both great U.S. immigration options for Investors, but have several key differences:

  1. Purpose and Nature:

    • E2 Visa: It is a non-immigrant visa designed for individuals from treaty countries who wish to invest in and manage a business in the United States. The E2 visa does not lead directly to permanent residency (a green card).
    • EB5 Green Card: It is an immigrant visa category that offers a pathway to permanent residency (green card) for individuals who make a significant investment in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S., leading to job creation.
  2. Investment Amount:

    • E2 Visa: While a substantial investment is required, there is no specific minimum investment amount set by law. The investment must be sufficient to start and operate the business successfully, generally $100,000 – $200,000.
    • EB5 Green Card: It requires a larger investment. As of November 2023, the minimum EB5 visa investment is a reduced $800,000 for infrastructure or targeted employment area projects, and $1,050,000 for all other projects. The investment must be made in a qualifying business venture that creates or preserves a certain number of jobs for U.S. workers.
  3. Nature of Investment:

    • E2 Visa: The E-2 visa allows for investments in various types of businesses or enterprises, including franchises or established businesses.
    • EB5 Green Card: EB5 requires investing in new commercial enterprises that leads to the creation of jobs for U.S. workers.
  4. Residency Status:

    • E2 Visa: It is a temporary visa, and the holder and their dependents can stay in the U.S. as long as the business remains operational and meets the visa requirements. There is no direct pathway to permanent residency (green card) through the E2 visa.
    • EB5 Green Card: It offers lawful permanent residency (green card) status for the investor, their spouse, and unmarried children under 21. After a conditional period, typically two years, the investor can apply to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent green card.
  5. Job Creation Requirement:

    • E2 Visa: While the E2 visa does not explicitly require job creation, the investment should generate enough income to provide employment opportunities, generally 2 jobs are discussed.
    • EB5 Green Card: One of the primary requirements is to create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States.


The material in this post represents general information and should not be deemed legal advice. Any use of the website DOES NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between German American Real Estate & Immigration Law Center, LLC (law firm) or any employee of or other person associated with the law firm and a user of this website. It is intended as an educational resource for
understanding the laws. Since the law is continually changing, some parts of this website may become outdated before the next update. It is always best to consult an attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.

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