E2 Visa: Countries Eligible for Treaty Investors

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The E-2 visa was designed for individuals from certain treaty countries to make financial investments in U.S. businesses and come to the U.S. to direct and develop their businesses. These countries have a treaty of Commerce and Navigation with the U.S. The E-2 visa is an excellent option for U.S. franchises as visa applications based on these types of businesses tend to have a higher approval rate. The E-2 visa can be issued up to 5 years, though is determined by the consulate officer and the reciprocity schedule with the applicant’s country and the U.S.

Consular Officer Determines E-2 Visa Length

For the majority of countries, the visa may be issued for 5 years and most of the time the E-2 visa applicant receives the full 5 years. However, the consular officer may issue the visa for a shorter period (often 2 years). The consular officer might have doubts in the investor’s ability to follow through on the business plan and hire American workers. After 2 years, the E-2 applicant must return to the consulate and demonstrate he followed the business plan at which time the investor is generally issued a 5-year extension. Compared to franchises, startup businesses have more variables in the business plan which might make it difficult to secure the renewal.

Country Reciprocity Determines E-2 Visa Length

The length of time an E-2 visa is issued for is also dictated by the reciprocity schedule between the U.S. and the applicant’s country. The reciprocity is based on the maximum amount of time a non-immigrant visa (such as the E-2 visa) can be issued for. The majority of countries have a 5-year validity, but some countries only have 3 months! When a visa is valid only for 3 months, this represent the period of time the investor has to enter the U.S. after the visa is issued. Once the applicant enters the U.S., he is entitled to 2 years under E-2 status to direct and develop his business. The investor can renew his status with USCIS indefinitely or if the investor leaves the U.S. after the 3-month period, he needs to renew the visa at a U.S. consulate.

Visa vs. Legal Status

A visa determines the investors ability to enter the U.S. while U.S. policy and regulations determine how long the investor can reside legally in the U.S. For the E-2 visa, the government states the investor is entitled to 2 years on E-2 status as long as they are operating the business and do not leave the country.

For a U.K. national with a 5-year E-2 visa, he must travel outside of the U.S. before his 2-year status lapses. Then, when he returns the U.S., he is entitled to 2 more years on the E-2 status.

Less than 12-month E-2 Visa Countries

For E-2 visa investors from countries where the reciprocity schedule is less than 12 months, it is important to work together with your immigration attorney on a mid to long-term strategy. Some investors will seek the EB-5 visa through a direct franchise investment as a more permanent solution (more info here). The following countries have E-2 visa terms less than 12 months:

  • Azerbaijan (3 months)
  • Bahrain (3 months)
  • Bangladesh (3 months)
  • Congo – Brazzaville  (3 months)
  • Congo – Kinshasa  (3 months)
  • Ecuador  (3 months)
  • Egypt   (3 months)
  • Iran      (3 months)
  • Jordan  (3 months)
  • Kyrgyzstan (3 months)
  • Moldova (3 months)
  • Ukraine (3 months)
  • Ethiopia (6 months)
  • Oman (6 months)
  • Thailand (6 months)

E-2 Visa Counties

Below is a list of E-2 visa countries with the corresponding reciprocity schedules. Always check directly on the U.S. State Department Website (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html) for the latest schedule.

Country Validity Period Number of Entries
Albania 36 Months Multiple
Argentina 60 Months Multiple
Armenia 60 Months Multiple
Australia 48 Months Multiple
Austria 60 Months Multiple
Azerbaijan 3 Months One
Bahrain 3 Months One
Bangladesh 3 Months Two
Belgium 60 Months Multiple
Bosnia and Herzegovina 12 Months Multiple
Bulgaria 60 Months Multiple
Cameroon N/A N/A
Canada 60 Months Multiple
Chile 60 Months Multiple
Colombia 60 Months Multiple
Congo – Brazzaville 3 Months One
Congo – Kinshasa 3 Months Two
Costa Rica 60 Months Multiple
Croatia 60 Months Multiple
Czech Republic 60 Months Multiple
Denmark 60 Months Multiple
Ecuador 3 Months Two
Egypt 3 Months One
Estonia 60 Months Multiple
Ethiopia 6 Months Multiple
Finland 24 Months Multiple
France 60 Months Multiple
Georgia 12 Months Multiple
Germany 60 Months Multiple
Grenada 60 Months Multiple
Honduras 60 Months Multiple
Iran 3 Months One
Ireland 60 Months Multiple
Italy 60 Months Multiple
Jamaica 60 Months Multiple
Japan 60 Months Multiple
Jordan 3 Months One
Kazakhstan 12 Months Multiple
Korea (South) 60 Months Multiple
Kosovo 12 Months Multiple
Kyrgyzstan 3 Months Two
Latvia 60 Months Multiple
Liberia 12 Months Multiple
Lithuania 12 Months Multiple
Luxembourg 60 Months Multiple
Macedonia 60 Months Multiple
Mexico 12 Months Multiple
Moldova 3 Months Two
Montenegro 12 Months Multiple
Morocco 60 Months Multiple
Netherlands 60 Months Multiple
Norway 60 Months Multiple
Oman 6 Months Multiple
Pakistan 60 Months Multiple
Panama 60 Months Multiple
Paraguay 60 Months Multiple
Philippines 60 Months Multiple
Poland 12 Months Multiple
Romania 60 Months Multiple
Senegal 12 Months Multiple
Serbia 12 Months Multiple
Singapore 24 Months Multiple
Slovenia 60 Months Multiple
Spain 60 Months Multiple
Sri Lanka 36 Months Multiple
Suriname 60 Months Multiple
Sweden 24 Months Multiple
Switzerland 48 Months Multiple
Taiwan 60 Months Multiple
Thailand 6 Months Multiple
Togo 36 Months Multiple
Trinidad & Tobago 60 Months Multiple
Tunisia 60 Months Multiple
Turkey 60 Months Multiple
Ukraine 3 Months Two
United Kingdom 60 Months Multiple

About The Author

Patrick Findaro is the commercial director of Visa Franchise. He is a franchise consultant based in Miami, Florida. Patrick’s experience with franchises, investments and investor visas brings significant value to foreign nationals seeking investments in the United States. He has the ability to manage an otherwise onerous process of immigrating through investment by partnering with trusted advisors and established franchisors. Moreover, his experience advising multinationals and high-net worth individuals on a wide spectrum of investments provides great market and financial analysis for prospective franchisees. Visa Franchise guides investors in identifying and analyzing the best investment opportunities tailored to their specific objectives. The focus of the firm is on franchises that qualify for the E-2 and EB-5 visas. Visa Franchise is the trusted advisor of clients from all over the world when it comes to helping them find the business opportunity that best meets their investment and immigration goals.

Patrick Findaro is the Finance Director at Visa Franchise. He is a franchise consultant based in Miami, Florida. Jack worked a number of years at global franchise company Restaurant Brands International, parent company of global iconic brands such as Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes, within various departments, including Global Finance, Investor Relations, and Global Development. Jack’s experience at Restaurant Brands International enables him to provide deep insights to foreign national clients by finding and analyzing multiple business opportunities to help secure the best franchise investment. Visa Franchise guides investors in identifying and analyzing the best investment opportunities tailored to their specific objectives. The focus of the firm is on franchises that qualify for the E-2 and EB-5 visas. Visa Franchise is the trusted advisor of clients from all over the world when it comes to helping them find the business opportunity that best meets their investment and immigration goals.

Visa Franchise is based in Miami, Florida with offices across the U.S. and world. If you are interested in learning more about our advisory services, please reach out to info@visafranchise.com or call us at +1-888-550-7556.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.