E-2 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the E-2 visa?

The E-2 visa allows individuals from treaty countries to enter the United States for the purpose of investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

Who is eligible for an E-2 visa?

Citizens of countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation or bilateral investment treaty with the United States are eligible to apply for the E-2 visa.

What is considered a "substantial investment" for an E-2 visa?

While there is no specific dollar amount set by U.S. immigration authorities, a substantial investment is typically one that is sufficient to ensure the success and viability of the U.S. enterprise.

Can I invest in any type of business to qualify for an E-2 visa?

The business you invest in must be a real and operating commercial enterprise. Certain businesses, like passive investments or speculative ventures, may not qualify.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an E-2 visa?

E-2 visa holders can generally stay in the U.S. for up to two years initially, with extensions allowed in two-year increments.

Can my family members accompany me on an E-2 visa?

Yes, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age can accompany the E-2 visa holder. Spouses who are granted E-2 derivative status automatically attain work authorization with their visa. This is referred to as having employment authorization ‘incident to’ their valid E-2 status.

Can I change employers or businesses while on an E-2 visa?

E-2 visa holders can only work for the specific business or investment enterprise that is the basis for their E-2 status. Changing employers or businesses may require a new E-2 visa application.

Can I apply for permanent residency (a green card) while on an E-2 visa?

E-2 visa holders are considered non-immigrants and must maintain their non-immigrant status. Applying for permanent residency directly from an E-2 status is not allowed. Consult your immigration attorney for guidance on your specific situation.

Can I travel outside the U.S. while on an E-2 visa?

E-2 visa holders can travel in and out of the U.S. during the validity of their visa. A valid E-2 visa and appropriate documentation are required for re-entry.

Can my employees from my home country work in the U.S. under my E-2 business?

Certain employees of the treaty investor or their company may be eligible for E-2 visa status if they have the same nationality as the principal investor and meet specific criteria.

Is there a minimum investment required for an E-2 visa?

There is no fixed minimum investment amount, but it must be substantial in relation to the total cost of either purchasing an existing business or establishing a new one.

Can I apply for an E-2 visa if my home country is in the process of negotiating a treaty with the United States?

You can only apply for an E-2 visa if your home country has an existing treaty with the United States. Negotiations or intentions to establish a treaty are insufficient.

Can I apply for an E-2 visa while in the U.S. or changing my status from another visa category?

Yes, eligible applicants can apply for a change of status to E-2 if they are already in the U.S., or they can apply for the E-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
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To the entire Davidson Law Group team, thank you so much for all the support during the past three years of my immigration journey in the US. They were especially supportive and responsive to all my queries about the different visas and were always prompt and kind. I especially appreciated it when Leyla got back to me beyond working hours on a Friday with, "Congratulations, your H1B has been picked." It definitely made my and my close ones' weekend a tad better. I would recommend them for sure just because I appreciated their humane approach to all of their cases. Kudos to all of you.
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010