The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant visa, which enables foreign investors to enter the US for the purpose of directing the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested (or are actively in the process of investing) a substantial amount of capital in the US. This can be, for example, a business start-up, a subsidiary of a foreign entity or a business in which the investor has invested and acquired a minimum of 50% of the shareholding.

Qualification for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa is based on, inter alia, the nationality of the proposed E-2 Treaty Investor. In order for a proposed E-2 Treaty Investor to qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa, he or she must demonstrate, inter alia, that he or she is a national of a country which has a Bilateral Treaty of Commerce or a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United States. Historically, Israeli and New Zealand nationals have been unable to obtain E-2 Treaty Investor visas, due to the absence of this requirement.

What are the Benefits Associated With the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 visa offers complete flexibility, in terms of travel, entry and residence in the US for the purposes of operating a US business. Upon attainment, the E-2 investor is at liberty to enter and exit the US as he or she pleases, for the purpose of directing the operations of the E-2 enterprise in which he/she has invested capital. Indeed, the investor may reside in the US on the E-2 visa for this purpose, if he/she wishes.

For British citizens, the maximum period of E-2 visa issuance is 5 years. However, the E-2 visa is constantly renewable, provided the E-2 Treaty Investor continues to meet the requirements at the point of renewal. In theory therefore, it is possible for an investor to reside in the US for several decades on the E-2 visa, provided the E-2 Treaty Investor continues to meet E-2 requirements at the point of renewal.

The Possibility of an Israeli E-2 Visa

On Monday June 18, 2018, the Knesset approved new regulations pursuant to a Bilateral Treaty of Commerce with the US, which will enable Israeli nationals to qualify for the E-2 visa. It is anticipated that the new rules will be fully implemented by September 2018, pending final approval from the US Government.

The US and Israeli Governments have been in dialogue regarding the E-2 Treaty Investor visa and its Israeli equivalent for some time, due to issues with reciprocity in the proposed US and Israeli investor visas. However, it appears the issues have now  been largely resolved. At Davies Legal Immigration, we are delighted to hear progress has been made and look forward to welcoming our first Israeli E-2 client.

Developments in New Zealand’s Quest to Become Eligible for E-2 Visas

Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D, Hawaii) and Mike Lee (R, Utah) have recently introduced the bipartisan Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (KIWI) Act, with the aim of facilitating the eligibility of New Zealand nationals for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa. To date, the Act has received support from Senators Tim Kaine (D, Virginia), John McCain (R, Arizona), Roger Wicker (R, Mississippi), Cory Gardner (R, Colorado) and Patty Murray (D, Washington).

If enacted, it is anticipated that the KIWI Act will increase foreign investment from New Zealand in the United States, stimulating the US economy, generating wealth in local communities and creating employment opportunities in the US.

At Davies Legal Immigration, we hope that eventually a Bilateral Treaty of Commerce and/or Investment will be agreed between the United States and New Zealand, such as to allow New Zealand nationals the opportunity to obtain E-2 Treaty Investor visas. We will endeavour to keep you updated.

Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, we pride ourselves on offering a “one stop shop” for all of your U.S business immigration needs. Our team, comprised of Attorneys, a Master of Business Administration and a Certified Public Accountant, have acted for a variety of E-2 investors, including, inter alia, entrepreneurs, SMEs and large corporations. We provide a diligent, efficient service at a competitive fixed fee and undertake to keep you informed. Call now for a complimentary assessment with one of our licensed U.S immigration attorneys and take the first step towards achieving your “American Dream”.

Published: 4th July 2018