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Comparing the E2 Visa with E1, EB5, and EB2 NIW Visas for U.S. Immigration


The E2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows investors from treaty countries to enter and work in the United States by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. The primary requirements include being a national of a treaty country, investing in a bona fide enterprise, and coming to the United States to develop and direct the investment enterprise.

E2 visa compared to other visas, Skyline with US iconic monuments

When it comes to choosing the best visa option for entering the United States, it’s critical to understand the differences between the E2 visa and other common visa types like the E1, EB5, and EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW). Each visa has its unique purpose, eligibility criteria, and benefits.

E2 vs. E1 Visa

The E1 Treaty Trader Visa is similar to the E2 in that it requires the applicant to be from a treaty country. However, while the E2 focuses on investors, the E1 is designed for individuals engaged in significant international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. An E1 visa requires that over 50% of the total volume of trade be between the US and the applicant’s treaty country, whereas the E2 requires a “substantial investment” without a defined minimum.
Both the E1 and E2 visas allow for the visa holder, their spouse, and children under 21 to live in the U.S. The spouse may also work in the U.S. However, neither visa provides a direct path to permanent residency.

E2 vs. EB5 Visa

The EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa is a step towards permanent residency. The key difference is that the EB5 requires an investment of either $1.05 million or $800,000 (in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers. The E2 does not have such a rigid capital or job creation requirements, but it doesn’t lead to a green card.
Moreover, the EB5 process is typically more time-consuming and heavily scrutinized compared to the E2 visa application. Investors seeking a more direct path to permanent residency and who have the financial ability to meet the higher investment threshold may consider the EB5 visa more suitable.

E2 vs. EB2 NIW Visa

The EB2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) is a category for foreign nationals who have an advanced degree or can prove exceptional ability in their field and seek to work in the U.S. in an area of substantial intrinsic merit that benefits the nation. Unlike the E2, an EB2 NIW applicant does not need a job offer if they receive a national interest waiver.
Unlike the E2, the EB2 NIW can lead directly to a green card without the requirement of a U.S. employer to sponsor the visa. The EB2 NIW application is also more focused on the applicant’s qualifications and the proposed endeavor’s impact on the U.S., whereas the E2’s emphasis is on the invested business and its viability.


In conclusion, while the E2 visa presents an attractive option for investors from treaty countries, it’s decisive for potential applicants to consider their long-term goals. The E1 and E2 visas are suitable for traders and investors, not necessarily seeking permanent residency. In contrast, the EB5 visa is ideal for those with substantial capital looking to immigrate permanently. The EB2 NIW is more attuned to highly skilled individuals who can demonstrate their work is in the national interest of the United States.
Ultimately, the choice between these visas depends on an individual’s investment capabilities, business and trade objectives, level of expertise, and immigration aspirations. Consulting with an immigration attorney who specializes in these visa categories can provide tailored guidance for those who wish to navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration to achieve their professional and personal ambitions.

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Sylvain Perret

Sylvain Perret is a business professional who has been living in the United States since 2010. Along with his wife Daphnee, he has established several businesses in the country, including Integrity International Brokers, an agency based in Orlando where he works as a business broker, real estate broker, business consultant, and business plan writer. Over the years, he has helped numerous clients from around the world achieve success in their projects to create or take over a company in the United States with an E2 visa. He is highly knowledgeable about U.S. immigration issues and is the author of the book "S'expatrier aux USA grâce aux visas d'entrepreneurs", which is soon to be translated into English. Sylvain is also a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) by the International Business Brokers Association and is regularly consulted on issues related to this field. At the age of 50, Sylvain chose to enhance his expertise in finance and strategy by pursuing a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He successfully graduated in May 2023, adding a valuable finishing touch to his knowledge. He is active on LinkedIn and Twitter, where he shares his insights and experiences with a wider audience.


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