Treaty Investors Visas

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Overview

To qualify for Treaty Investor (E-2) visas applicants must be coming to the United States 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. Bulgaria 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 Treaty Investor (E-2)

  • 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 Items

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 webpage for more information about the DS-160.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). Bulgaria is among the countries exempt to this rule, so Bulgarian nationals need passports valid for their intended period of stay. If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph taken within the last six months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of your US$205 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This web page has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • The consular officer may provide the applicant with special forms to establish that the trading enterprise or investment enterprise meets the requirements and complies with the requirements for the E visa classification. The applicant can expect the consular officer to request additional documentation, so it is impossible to specify the exact documentation required.

How to Apply

The first step in applying for a Treaty Investor visa is to establish the qualification of the company or operation in the U.S. This process is known as registration. All companies seeking E visas for their owners or employees must be registered with the U.S. Embassy in Sofia. If your company is not registered, Click here to review the registration process on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

If your company is already registered, click here to apply at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia.

Maintain Company Registration

In order to maintain your company registry, Form DS-156E and Financial Statements/Tax Returns must be submitted annually. If these documents are not submitted for five years, your company registration will expire. Companies under “expired” registration status must register again with the U.S. Embassy Sofia. Also, please note that in certain circumstances, even if the company registration status is still valid, the processing time may take the same length of time as it does for an initial registration application.

More Information

For more information about visas for treaty traders and treaty investors, visit the Department of State's website.