The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has specific visa options for eligible foreign nationals interested in owning a US business enterprise. Can Canadians apply for the E2 Treaty Investor visa? Keep reading to find out.
What is the E2 Visa? – An Explanation
The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that permits eligible foreign nationals from treaty countries to enter the United States legally upon investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business enterprise.
Under specific circumstances, certain employees of an E2 investor or a qualifying E2 organization may also be eligible to enter the United States under the same status. The term “treaty country” refers to a country:
- With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or
- Which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation
Can Canadians Get E2 Visa? – Understanding the USCIS Requirements
The first step to qualify for E2 status is fulfilling the nationality requirement. Since January 1, 1994, Canada has been a qualifying E2 country, which means Canadians are free to apply for the E2 nonimmigrant visa.
The second step requires the applicant to have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US enterprise. The term “substantial” refers to:
- An amount of capital substantial to the total cost of either acquiring an established US business or forming a new company
- An amount that is sufficient to guarantee the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the US business enterprise
- An amount that supports the likelihood that the investor will successfully develop and direct the US business enterprise
The investor’s proposed business enterprise must be a real, active, and operating enterprise engaged in commercial or entrepreneurial activities producing services or goods for profit. Additionally, the business enterprise must meet all applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.
USCIS also requires that the investor must enter the United States solely focused on developing and directing the E2 enterprise. To establish it, applicants must demonstrate they possess at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or operational control through a managerial position or another corporate device.
The capital investment must be put at risk to generate profit, subject to partial or total loss if the proposed business investment fails. Accordingly, no passive forms of investment may qualify for E2 status.
Can Canadians Get E2 Visa? – Attention to Detail
The US Consulate in Toronto is responsible for processing all new E-2 visa applications and renewals. Dependents of individuals under E2 status and employees of qualifying E2 companies may apply for E-2 visas at the US Consulates located in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, or Toronto.
Applicants can fill out and submit the necessary forms electronically (including all supporting documentation).
Although there is no standard processing time, most applications submitted to the US Consulate in Toronto require a three-week processing period upon the submission of the application for the scheduling of the interview.
After the interview is completed and the applicant has been approved, the application will return with all supporting documents via Canadian Post Courier. Usually, this process might take place within three to five business days from the date of the interview.