Treaty Investor Visas

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Overview

To qualify for Treaty Investor (E-2) visas applicants must be coming to the United States either to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. Czech Republic is one of these countries. For a list of all treaty countries, click here.

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty investors, or employees of enterprises may receive dependent E visas in order to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent. They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant to obtain an E visa.

E visas permit the investor and his or her family to live in the United States during the period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). E visas are nonimmigrant visas; consequently, visa holders are allowed to live in the United States only so long as the conditions under which the visa was granted remain valid. Dependents are not authorized to work in the U.S. unless they receive explicit authorization to do so from DHS-USCIS in the United States. Dependents of trader investors may apply for work authorization must be applied for after their arrival in the United States.

Qualifications for a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

  • The investor, either a person, partnership or a corporate entity, must have the citizenship  of the treaty country. If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality;
  • The investment must be substantial and the funds have to be "irrevocably" committed. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise;
  • The investment must be in a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or mere ownership of undeveloped land are not considered an investment;
  • The investment may not be marginal. Based on 9 FAM 41.51, the enterprise must either show a financial return that significantly exceeds what is necessary to support a living for the investor or else the enterprise must have the capacity, present or future, to make a significant economic contribution;
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in a commercial sense. If the funds are not subject to partial or total loss if business fortunes reverse, then the investment is not an investment in the sense intended by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(E) and in 9 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) 41.51. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise do not qualify;
  • The investor must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify. Please note that a detailed explanation of why the applicant's skills are essential for the enterprise in the U.S. or why the applicant possesses qualifying “executive or supervisory: experience may be required.
  • The applicant must intend to depart the U.S. when his/her E-2 status ends.

Application Process

E visa applications, together with supporting documents, must be mailed to the U.S. Embassy in Prague. The mailing address is: United States Embassy, Tržište 15, 118 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic, Att: Consular Section/E Visa Unit.

How to Apply

Step 1

Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 2

Pay the visa application fee. The visa fee page lists the visa types and correlating visa fee in U.S. dollars and local currency.

To pay your visa fee, read the Bank and Payment Options page. This page explains how to make your visa fee payment. You will create a profile and must keep your receipt number to book your visa appointment.

Step 3

Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need the following information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • The CGI reference number from your Visa Fee receipt. (Click here if you need help finding this number.)
Step 4

Read the instructions carefully and Submit your E Visa Application.

There are three different categories of E visa submission:

New E2 Visa - If you are applying to be an E2 investor, you must submit following documentation: 

  1. Forms DS-160 and DS-156E;
  2. Statement about your intent to return upon termination of your E status;
  3. E visa documentation package - see below.

Renewing your E visa - For a renewal of an E2 visa, please provide the following documentation:

  1. Forms DS-160 and DS-156E;
  2. Statement about your intent to return upon termination of your E status;
  3. Letter from your employer/the U.S. enterprise containing a detailed description of the enterprise’s past and planned activities; 
  4. Proof that the enterprise is still operating, such as copies of the last available U.S. corporate tax returns/updated profit and loss statement/balance sheet/W-2 forms for employees and/or payroll documentation and, only if there has been a change in the enterprise’s ownership, the new ownership documentation needs to be submitted as well.

First E visa for Employee - To request a visa for an E2 business employee, please provide the following documentation:

  1. Forms DS-160 and DS-156E;
  2. Statement about your intent to return upon termination of your E status;
  3. Detailed resume or CV and documentation of your professional qualification (such as copies of education degrees, job training certificates and/or letters from previous employers); 
  4. Letter of support from your prospective U.S. employer containing a detailed position description;
  5. Evidence that you are an essential employee and that your skills are generally unavailable in the U.S.;
  6. Proof that the enterprise is still operating, such as copies of the last available US tax return/updated profit and loss statement/balance sheet/W-2 forms for employees and/or payroll documentation and, only if there has been a change in the enterprise’s ownership, the new ownership documentation needs to be submitted as well.
Step 5

Interview scheduling: After you mail your E visa application and all supporting documents, please wait two to four weeks before scheduling your appointment for an interview. If you schedule your appointment without giving the Consular Section sufficient time to review your documents, your interview will have to be rescheduled.

Step 6

Visit the Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. If the case should require additional documentation, you will receive clear guidance from the Consular Officer on what to submit, and by what method.

Supporting Documents

Submitted applications must be clearly divided into sections separated by lettered or numbered tabs, and securely bound. A copy of your appointment letter must be included in your application packet. You must also bring a copy of your appointment letter with you on the day of your interview. A cover letter from the applicant’s representative may also be included. Applications that do not follow these guidelines may be returned unread, which may delay your appointment. Please do NOT include additional documents that are not specifically requested below.

Application Documents for Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

Submitted applications should be clearly divided into sections separated by lettered or numbered tabs, and well secured.

Tab A

A printed confirmation page from the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160, one 5X5 cm photo taken within the last six months with a white background.

Tab B

One copy of Form DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address and fax number. Please ensure that the form is filled out in its entirety.

Tab C

A photocopy of the biographical page of the passport of each applicant (page with the name and photo). Please include copies of all prior US visas and approved change of status notices (Form I-797). Also include a photocopy of the Entry/Exit immigration stamp in passport from last trip to the U.S. Please bring your original passport and any prior ones containing U.S. visas with you at the time of the interview.

Tab D

IRS Form 1040 – Pages 1-2 – provide the three most recent fiscal years (if applicable - only for Applicants who have previously worked in the U.S.)

If the applicant is entering the United States as the principal investor, proof that he or she will and is qualified to solely develop and direct the enterprise

If the applicant is applying as an employee with Executive and Supervisory Responsibility, evidence that he or she meets the criteria outlined in 9 FAM 402.9-7

If the applicant is applying an essential employee, evidence that employee has essential skills that the enterprise urgently needs, as well as the projected duration of this essentiality. You should include relevant diplomas, job training certificates or letters from previous employers in this section. You may also wish to explain why the enterprise was unable to find a qualified US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to fill the position. 9 FAM 402.9-7

Tab E

G-28I or G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative" (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number.

Tab F

Proof of treaty country ownership (at least 50%) and controlling interest in the enterprise, and proof of legal existence of the company. Examples for Corporations include: Articles of Incorporation, Stock Certificates and Ledgers, Secretary of State certificates.

Examples for Limited Liability Companies include: Articles of Organization/Formation, State Registration, Schedule of Beneficial Interests.

Tab G

Proof that the funds have been invested or that the investor is actively in the process of investing. This must include a complete trail of the money invested including documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, earnings, etc); movement of these funds to a U.S. account; and use of these funds for qualifying business expenses. Supporting documentation may include:

  1. Escrow documents
  2. Wire transfers
  3. Lease contracts (only the pages containing the following are needed):
    1. Length of time
    2. Address of facility
    3. Size of property / office
    4. Rental fee
    5. Names of landlord and tenant
    6. Signature page
  4. Invoices and receipts for business expenses, including utilities contracts and bills and office supplies, along with proof of payment by the company.
  5. Investment list
  6. Purchasing agreement (only the pages containing the following are needed):
    1. Buyer and seller names
    2. Date of agreement
    3. Amount of purchase price
    4. Any special purchase conditions (ex. Escrow accounts, etc.)
    5. Percentage of ownership share
  7. Franchise agreement (entire agreement). 
It is important to provide proof of actual purchases and/or signed contracts and leases related to the enterprise, not just an equipment list and/or wire transfers to a US account.
TAB H

Proof that the enterprise is currently running or will open its doors imminently:

  1. Business licenses
  2. Special permits (food, alcohol, etc.)
  3. Photos of enterprise
  4. Utility bills (electrical, water, etc.)
  5. Bank statements
  6. Sales contracts / invoices
  7. Customer Lists

Also, evidence that enterprise is more than marginal.

  1. All Enterprises
    1. IRS Form 941 – Pages 1-2 for the four most recent fiscal quarters
    2. Enterprise with 10 employees or less
      1. State Wage Record (ex. DE-6 or DE-9C) with names of all employees and quarterly salaries for the four most recent fiscal quarters
      2. USCIS Form I-9 – Pages 7-8 for each employee
  2. If Enterprise (including previous owners) has existed less than one year – 
    1. Sales invoices
    2. Sales contracts
    3. Bills of lading
    4. Business plan for the next five years prepared by a certified C.P.A., including projected expenses and profits. The plan must verify the capacity of the enterprise to realize a profit within a maximum of five years (this is only a requirement for new businesses; it is optional for others).

3. If Enterprise (including previous owners) has existed more than one year - provide the three most recent fiscal years (if applicable)

    1. Corporation - IRS Form 1120 – Pages 1-2
      IRS Form 1125-A – Page 1 (if applicable)
    2. Foreign Corporation - IRS Form 1120-F – Pages 1-3
      IRS Form 1125-A – Page 1 (if applicable)
    3. LLC – IRS Form 1065 – Pages 1-5
      IRS Form 1125-A – Page 1 (if applicable)
    4. Private Ownership - IRS Form 1040 + Schedule C – Pages 1-2 of each

Processing time varies with the complexity of the case and our overall workload. Generally, it takes two weeks for an officer to review your case. Applicants should not make unchangeable travel or business plans until their visas have been issued. 

Dependents

Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require a derivative E visa.

Family members who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but wish to visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas.

Spouses and dependents may not work in the United States on a derivative E visa. If your spouse/child seeks employment, the spouse must obtain the explicit authorization to do so from DHS-USCIS in the United States. This authorization must be applied for after their arrival in the United States.

Supporting Documents for Dependents:

It is preferred that families apply for their visas at the same time, but if the spouse and/or child must apply separately at a later time, they should follow the investor visa application process and submit the following required documents by courier service:

  • A confirmation page of DS-160
  • One 5X5 cm photo taken within the last six months with a white background.
  • A copy of interview appointment slip
  • A copy of Form DS-156E which was submitted by principal applicant at the time of his/her visa application
  • Proof of the relationship (e.g., family relationship, marriage, basic and adoption certificates)
  • A copy of the principal applicant’s E visa and/or I-797 approval notice
  • A dependent’s copy of I-797 if it is applicable

More Information

For more information about E visas, visit the Department of State's Treaty Trader and Investor Visa webpage.