New York Immigration

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa – Why is it a Good Option for you?

By Tishita Agarwal

If you are looking for a visa that will allow not only you, as an investor in an US business, but also your family and employees to enter the US, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa might be the right fit for you. The E-2 visa is a long term non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals investing in an US business to direct and develop the business while living and working in the US. 

Financial investment

One of the main advantages of the E-2 programme is that there is no minimum threshold for the amount of money that must be invested – it should just be substantial. This means that it should be enough to ensure the investors’ continuing interest in developing and running the business. It is a requirement, however, that the business should be fairly profitable in the duration of your stay, should employ people and create income. Thus, passive investments in stocks or property will not qualify for this programme. The business also must be registered as an E-2 Treaty Investor business before you apply for an E-2 visa.

Treaty Countries

Since this is a treaty investor business, only citizens of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation can qualify for this programme. If the business is owned and managed by individuals of two different E-2 eligible countries then both may be able to enter the US under this programme. The list of countries that are eligible for the E-2 programme can be found here.

Employees and Dependents

While there is no minimum amount set for investment, it is a requirement that the applicant should own at least 50% of the business. However, another advantage if this programme is that in larger businesses, it is possible for employees with managerial, executive, or essential skills to be allowed entry. While some employees may prefer to travel on the L-1 visa as there are higher chances of acquiring a green card in the future, it can also be beneficial to travel through the E-2 programme as you do not have to show employment of one year prior to the application. Along the same lines, spouses and children under the age of 21 can also accompany you to the US via the E-2 dependent visa route. While your spouse can also be allowed work authorization dependent on their visa, children will not be qualified to obtain a work visa. However, they can attend the school of their choice, and in some states, also qualify for in-state tuition. 

Duration of stay

When you first apply for the E-2 visa, if it gets approved, it directly gets approved for two years, but the visa can be extended indefinitely as long as the business continues to operate as relatively profitable. Furthermore, during your stay, you can live outside of the US for an indefinite amount of time if you may choose, and can re-enter the country at any time while your visa is still active. This is an advantage that most visa programmes do not have – you would otherwise be required to live in the US for at least a certain period of time, and would not have as much freedom to travel as the E-2 visa programme offers.

An often overlooked advantage of applying for the E-2 visa is that you get to work for and develop a business that you have invested your money in. Since the E-2 visa needs for you to own at least 50% of the business, you get to make your own decisions regarding how to run the business, which is not a luxury a lot of investors applying for an EB-5 visa through a regional centre get. 

What if I am not from an E-2 country?

Only people from E-2 Visa Countries are eligible for an E-2 Visa. But if you would like to apply for E-2 and you are not from an E-2 Treaty, you can do so by first becoming a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country. Click here to learn whether your country has an E-2 Treaty with the US. Davies & Associates is experienced at offering this two-stage process to the E-2 Visa. The fastest and most cost-effective way to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country is via the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme or Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Program. Both countries offer citizenship within a matter of months starting from $150,000 for a donation and $220,000 for an investment in Grenada (Turkey’s program is slightly more expensive – click the links for full details). Another alternative could be the L-1 Visa. Please contact us for a consultation to explore all your immigration options.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


TN Visa to E-2 Visa for Green Card

TN Visa to E-2 Visa to Green Card: Our Surgeon Client’s Journey

Davies & Associates just secured approval of an EB-NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition for a doctor of plastic and reconstructive surgery from Canada. We initially helped him move to the US on a TN Visa, then switch to an E-2 Visa, and now he finally has a Green Card approval through the NIW route.

Immigration is an ongoing process, and obtaining a visa is often just the start of that process. Our client’s require continuing support from our firm with extensions, renewals, adjusting status, transitioning to a Green Card, setting up a business, filing taxes, and more. At Davies & Associates we forge partnerships with our clients for the long term.

Client Journey

The visa history of the client shows how we as a firm worked closely with the client to achieve his US immigration goals.

  1. First, we secured TN for the client as a Management Consultant. When he first came to us, he needed to obtain a Social Security Number to be able to obtain his license to practice as a doctor in the US.
  1. Thereafter, we worked on the client’s E-2 Treaty Investor visa application by setting up his own clinic here in the US. As part of his E-2 investment, he contributed his equipment from Canada.
  1. While here in the US on E-2 visa, we filed the EB-NIW petition for him which was just approved. We will now work with the client in filing his application to adjust status.

The client specializes in hand surgery, craniofacial surgery, breast surgery, microsurgery, pediatric plastic surgery, burn surgery, cosmetic surgery, nerve surgery, and skin cancer.  His research is applicable to a broad range of plastic and reconstructive surgery conditions and can have a profound impact on understanding complex reconstructive surgeries, and the development of effective and affordable technological improvements such as improved drug delivery systems. 

What is the TN Visa?

The TN Visa is a non-immigrant visa for professionals from NAFTA countries (Canada & Mexico) to work in the United States for up to three years. The rules are different for Canadians and Mexicans and are more advantageous to Canadians. Applicants must already have a job offer from a US based company and must meet the professional requirements for that position. It is important to work with an immigration attorney to ensure success.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows individuals from treaty countries to move to the US for the purposes of investing in and running a business. While there is no minimum required investment amount, it must make sense for the business and is usually $100,000 or more. This does not all need to be in cash, for example, this Canadian doctor brought equipment to the US as part of his investment. Canada has an E-2 Treaty with the United States, but other countries such as China, Russia, India and Vietnam do not. If your country does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the US, you must first obtain citizenship of a country that does. Grenada and Turkey are E-2 countries that offer fast and cost-effective routes to citizenship by investment. While the E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant temporary visa, it is possible to keep renewing it as long as the business continues to operate, which theoretically means you can reside in America forever. However, to be able to live in the United States without the E-2 business, one would have to obtain a Green Card.

Green Cards and National Interest Waivers

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa and the TN Visa are not “dual intent” visas. What this means is that you have to demonstrate an intent to ultimately depart the United States. That does not preclude you from subsequently obtaining permanent residency (a Green Card), but the intent to depart must be there. The conventional route from the E-2 Visa to a Green Card is through Direct EB-5 or through the EB-1c Visa for multinational managers and executives. In this instance, however, we worked with the Canadian surgeon to prove that it was in the US national interest to grant him a Green Card. The National Interest Waiver NIW is a subcategory of the EB-2 Visa. Once of the key benefits is that you can self-petition for this visa – this means you do not need an employer to sponsor you.

To find out more about TN Visa, E-2 Treaty Investor Visas, and transitioning to a Green Card through the NIW route, Direct EB-5 or EB-1c, please contact us.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Immigration Check

E-2 Extension Approved Despite Sluggish Performance in Pandemic

By Verdie Atienza, Head of L-1 & E-2 Visa Practice

Two years ago, D&A assisted an investor from Jordan obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa through his investment in a furniture business. He applied to change of status after he entered the U.S. on a visitor visa. With the change of status application, he did not have to appear for interview at the Embassy which made more sense to him since he wanted to immediately operate the business and considering that the reciprocity schedule for Jordanian nationals is only 3 months. His spouse and dependent children thereafter applied for their visas at the Embassy to join him in the U.S.

While the first year and six months were not very good for the E-2 company, D&A managed to secure an extension of status for the client. While things became much harder in the first few months of the pandemic due to store shutdowns and stay-at-home orders,  retail sales rebounded strongly due to sustained consumer resilience.

Extension of Status Approval

D&A highlighted the record percentage increase in sales in 2020 to convince USCIS that the Company is very much poised to achieve the forecasts in the business plan submitted with the initial petition. D&A emphasized the strong stock market, rising home values and record savings boosted by government stimulus payments in 2020 to assert that the Company is slowly but surely moving the path of attaining goals that is expected to ultimately result in positive contributions to the US economy, specifically in the area of employment generation.

While it was certainly not easy to get the E-2 status extended, it pays to have an experienced team on your side to present your application in the best light possible to get a favorable decision from USCIS.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Visa allows anyone with citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country to apply to move to the United States to invest in and run a business. Anyone not from a Treaty Country can first obtain citizenship of a Treaty Country and become eligible in this way. See Grenada Citizenship by Investment and Turkey Citizenship by Investment. The E-2 Visa application process requires the submission of a credible business plan and renewals are granted on the basis of performance against that business plan.

Our team has successfully filed many E-2 Treaty Investor visa cases, including where the additional step of obtaining citizenship of the E-2 Treaty country is required. D&A is one of the few firms able to support a client across the entire Grenada Citizenship by Investment and E-2 Visa process without needing to outsource the work.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 Visa, L-1 Visa, E-2 Visa

E-2 Visa: Change of Status approved for a Singaporean national amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

By Verdie Atienza

The client entered the US on a visitor’s visa and recognized the opportunity to set up a full-service business coaching and management consulting company with the goal of improving client’s profitability and increasing operational efficiency. He is the head of a private equity and capital markets firm in Singapore responsible for raising millions in sees capital from various investors and overseeing all aspects of business strategy, corporate governance and product development for global startups. 

The client decided to apply to change status to E-2 Treaty Investor Visa for the following reasons:

  1. He wanted to capitalize on the opportunity in the US;
  2. He was concerned about not being able to come back to the US as soon as he would like if he applies for the E-2 visa at the Embassy because of COVID-19;
  3. He wanted to immediately be able to develop and direct the US company.

With the assistance of D&A, the client was able to timely file an application to change status to E-2. As expected, he received a request for evidence. The challenges to his E-2 change of status application were as follows:

  1. He was required to provide for additional evidence to prove business viability since his company is a start-up;
  2. He was asked to prove his capacity to develop and direct the enterprise considering that the company is a service-oriented one. USCIS has been known to issue RFEs for service-oriented businesses with the treaty investor applicant  as one of the primary service providers.
  3. He was required to prove his non-immigrant intent.

D&A successfully overcame the RFE and obtained an approval for the client. Our team worked closely with our business plan team to prepare a strong response to prove the business viability of the E-2 company even if it is a start-up. COVID-19 made things more challenging because the lockdown and restrictions to gather in big groups will force the company to resort to online or virtual trainings.

We also had to prove to USCIS that our client has the ability to develop and direct the company. Since the company is a service-oriented business, demonstrating that the client will be performing work that is “solely” focused on developing and directing the E-2 company may be difficult, however, we were able to prove that the activities of the E-2 investor applicant are primarily focused on business management and development. We successfully demonstrated that the client’s performance of consulting activities are incidental to their job developing and directing the business. 

With the approval of the change of status application, the Company will now be able to organize corporate trainings that will lead to the professional development and improvement of the employees. The Company will provide strategic consulting services to businesses, enabling them to achieve sustained, profitable growth. This service segment includes strategic advice in the areas of general growth strategy, leadership development, performance improvement, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate portfolio design. In the area of leadership development, the Company’s team views employee engagement as a potential source of competitive advantage. The services of the Company become particularly relevant as the most US companies have to rise above the economic slowdown as a result of the pandemic.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa offers the opportunity to invest in and own a business in America. Applicants must come from an E-2 Treaty country. Click here to find out if your country holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If your country does not have an E-2 Treaty with the United States, it is possible to quickly obtain citizenship by investment of an E-2 Treaty country which would make you eligible. Grenada Citizenship by Investment and Turkish Citizenship by Investment are the quickest routes to E-2 Visa eligibility.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Israelis looks to US E2 Visa as Vaccination Program Reopens Both Countries

Israelis looks to US E2 Visa as Vaccination Program Reopens Both Countries

Israel signed an E2 Treaty with the United States in 2019, but the Coronavirus pandemic caused a false start. As the world reopens, 2021 and 2022 look set to be bumper years for Israeli E2 visas.

Israel became the newest E2 Treaty Investor Visa Country in the world when it signed a treaty with the United States that came into force in May 2019. The E2 Visa allows anyone from a treaty country to move to the United States for the purpose of investing in and running a business.

Around 500 E visas were issued to Israeli nationals in 2019*, a figure that was expected to jump significantly in 2020. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Borders were shut and the US embassy in Israel closed to all but essential operations. Visa processing ground to a halt and the number of E visa issuances in Israel dropped to just 260 last year.

The outlook for 2021 is mixed. While consular services have resumed at the embassy, they are still limited by social distancing and the need to protect both staff and applicants. Israel’s world-leading vaccination campaign mean things are likely to improve quickly in the second half of the year and into 2022. Given the current demand we are seeing from Israel, 2022 could be a bumper year for E2 visas in the country.

Benefits of an E2 Visa?

The E2 visa allows a person to invest in and run a business in the United States. Investment requirements are relatively low – usually starting from around $100,000 but need to be enough to support the business plan. It is possible to start a new business, acquire and existing business, or buy into a franchise. It is important to engage attorneys like Davies & Associates that has corporate lawyers working in close proximity with immigration lawyers because the business needs to be correctly structured to comply with the immigration regulations.

Spouses and children under the age of 21 can accompany the primary applicant. Spouses can apply for work authorization in the United States. The visa is valid for up to 5 years but can be renewed again and again provided the underlying business continues to operate. That said, the very first time an Israeli citizen is issued an E2 visa, it will be valid for anything up to 2 years before requiring renewal – subsequent renewals will be at the 5 year intervals.

Becoming a citizen of Israel to access the E2 Visa

Eligibility for the E2 Visa is determined by your country of citizenship. People from countries like Russia and South Africa are not directly eligible. Anyone from a non-E2 Treaty country the could claim Israeli citizenship can then become eligible for the E2 visa by virtue of their new Israeli nationality. Read more about dual Russia Israel citizenship.

People who hold dual UK and Israeli nationality may prefer to opt to apply for the E2 Visa under their Israeli passport. The UK is the only E2 country whose citizens are required to reside in their home country. Israeli-UK dual citizens can still apply at the embassy in London under their Israeli passport.

Alternative US Visas for Israelis

Israel and America have a long history of close political and economic ties. America is by far Israel’s leading export market with around one third of all exports going to America. This may mean the E1 Treaty Trader Visa is more suited to some Israelis. Israel has been eligible for the Treaty Trader Visa for much longer than the E2 Visa. In fact, Israel has been an E1 country since the 1950s. This visa allows for more easy access to the US for employees and owners of Israeli firms that conduct substantial trade with America.

Other alternatives to the E2 Visa for Israeli business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals include the EB5 Investor Visa and the L1 Transfer Visa. Only one Israeli was issued an EB5 investor visa in 2019 out of a total allocation of just over 700. The EB5 visa is a residency by investment program that offers a Green Card for $900,000. All qualifying family members can all obtain Green Cards for a single investment.

The L-1 Visa allows for the intra company transfer of a manager, executive or specialized knowledge employee, from the Israeli office to the US office of the same company. It is possible to use this visa category to send a manager to oversee the establishment and growth of a new US operation of your existing Israeli business. 2,000 L-1 Visas were issued to Israelis in 2019.

* Figures include E1 Treaty Trader Visas as well as E2 Treaty Investor Visas.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

Our firm has helped hundreds of business owners and families move to the United States on EB-5, E-2 and L-1 visas. Which visa is best depends entirely on your unique personal circumstances. We recommend every new client have a free consultation with our team to discuss the various options in light of their personal goals, budgets and interests.

L-1 VisasE-1 VisasE-2 VisasEB-5 Visas
Visa available to nationals of any country?Nationals of treaty trader countries onlyNationals of treaty trader countries only
Must I have worked for a related company abroad for one year?
Ability of dependent Spouse to work in US
Can the visa be renewed into perpetuity assuming I re-qualify?
Is a business plan a very key element of a successful application?
Minimum investment RequiredSufficient to operate valid foreign business and US office or business entityNo theoretical minimum, but enough investment to create a real, viable, businessSufficient to fund business enterprise, generally > $100,000 although less is possibleEither USD 900,000
or USD 1,800,000

Visa Duration

One of the key differences is the length of time you can remain in the United States on each visa. The EB-5 visa leads directly to a Green Card (permanent residency). This means you can stay in the United States permanently until such a time as you opt to surrender your Green Card or apply to naturalize as a US citizen.

The L-1 visa and the E-2 visa are both non-immigrant visas. These do not offer permanent residency, but the E-2 visa is perhaps the next best thing because you can renew it indefinitely. Unlimited renewals means that you could technically live in the United States forever, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

The L-1 Visa is renewable up to a maximum of seven years for the L-1A visa and five years for the L-1B visa. After this time you would need to leave the US or transition to another visa or apply for a Green Card. It is best to discuss your options with an L-1 Visa attorney. Good fits for the L-1 visa are the EB-1(c) visa or the EB-3 visa. You can of course, also explore options for transitioning to a Green Card from an E-2 visa if you wish to make your presence in the US more permanent and not tied to the E-2 business.

The amount of time granted on your initial L-1 and E-2 visa will vary depending upon where you are from. Each country has a so-called reciprocity schedule which dictates the maximum visa validity period. Note that your visa might not be granted for the full period listed under your particular country. The authorities may wish you to return sooner to check on the status of your business. For example, “New Office L-1 visas” are granted for just a year initially, so checks on your progress can be made.

Investment Requirements

Each visa comes with a different associated investment requirement. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa – as the name suggests – offers a Green Card by investment. The investment requirements are $900,000 for investments in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and $1.8 million outside these areas. In practice, the Regional Centers who manage the vast majority of EB-5 investments all work in TEAs and so only the $900,000 applies. If you wish to do Direct EB-5, we would need to make sure the investment is placed in a TEA to qualify for the lower amount.

By conducting due diligence on the Regional Center and its project, an EB-5 investor can mitigate risks not only to the Green Card but also to the return of your capital. Most Regional Centers offer very low rates of interest (in many ways the Green Card itself is the return on the investment). By investing with a reputable Regional Center in a reliable project there is no reason why the investor should not see the return of their capital after several years.

There is no fixed investment requirement for the E-2 Visa. A good rule of thumb is that it should be in excess of $100,000 and must be appropriate for the business you are proposing to start or acquire. We have seen some successful E-2 applicants for less than $100,000, so we encourage you to contact us regardless. The investment does not only need to be cash – it can also be in stocks of inventory, patents, equipment etc.

The L-1 visa does not require investment if you are simply transferring from the overseas branch to the existing branch of a multinational company. New Office L-1 visas inevitably require investment to set up and grow the new US office. This needs to be suitable to the needs of the business.

Work Authorization

The EB-5 visa offers complete freedom to work (or not work) in the United States. A single application/investment can include not just the applicant but any spouse and children under the age of 21. Each family member receives their own Green Card meaning they are free to work in the United States. We find many of our EB-5 clients are motivated by their children university education and work prospects after graduation.

The primary applicant for the E-2 and L-1 visas are obviously required to work in the role they moved to the US to fulfil. Spouses of these visa holders, however, can apply for work authorization in the United States. This offers a lot more employment flexibility than the popular H-1B visa for example, since you are not tied to a particular employer. As non permanent residents, you are only taxed on your US earnings.

There are many different pros and cons to each of these visa categories. It is vital to discuss your personal circumstances with our team so we can take you through every eventuality and thereby determine the best visa for you and your family.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Obtaining an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Despite Travel Complexities of Covid-19: Case Study

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Approved for a Canadian National who applied at the US Consulate General in Sydney during the pandemic

By Verdie Atienza, Head of L-1 & E-2 Visa Practice

Prior to the lockdown, D&A started to work on an E-2 visa application for a Canadian national who was temporarily in Australia for a vacation. The original plan was to apply at the US Embassy in Toronto where new E-2 applications for Canadians are filed and processed. It is worth noting that the Department of State encourages nonimmigrant visa applicants to apply at the US Embassy or Consulate in their home country as they are in a better position to determine the ties to the home country.

Due to safety concerns, travel restrictions and lockdowns, our client decided that she wants to apply for the E-2 visa in Australia instead of traveling back to Canada. For this to be possible, we had to advise the client to apply for extension of temporary stay in Australia. The request was granted and so we prepared, finalized and submitted the application at the US Consulate in Sydney. While the applicant had to wait a little longer, she was scheduled to appear for interview and her application was approved at the end of the interview.

While the Department of State cautions applicants of higher chance of getting a denial by applying at the Embassy or Consulate other than the one in the home country, D&A successfully demonstrated the applicant’s ties to the home country. D&A prepared a strong E-2 application which meant that the client had a smooth interview experience.

What was the E-2 Business?

Our client is a Chief Executive Officer of a cosmetics company based in Hawaii. The company specializes in developing and selling sun care products to be used before, during, and after sun exposure. The E-2 Company is dedicated to developing innovative sunscreen formulas that meet the ever changing and evolving skin and sun care needs. The Company’s formulas combine effective cosmetic active and beneficial natural ingredients to create products that achieve the sustainable beauty, health, and wellness goals of modern women.

The E-2 Company’s products are developed in collaboration with a third-party contract manufacturer. The Company carefully selects high-quality ingredients to be used in the manufacturing process in order to develop high-quality, effective sun care products that will simultaneously help users achieve their tanning goals in a sustainable and healthy way.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a person to move to the US to set up or acquire a business. Applicants must come from a country that holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Both Canada and Australia hold E-2 Treaties with America.

People from countries that do not have an E-2 Treaty with the US have to first become citizens of E-2 Treaty countries, like Grenada or Turkey. Citizens of India, China and Vietnam are not directly eligible for an E-2 Visa.

There is no fixed investment requirement for an E-2 visa, but it is usually expected to be in excess of $100,000. Ultimately, however, the investment amount needs to be appropriate for the business being proposed. A business plan is required as part of the application and the consular officer will assess the E-2 application on the basis of this plan.

E-2 is a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not offer permanent residency. It can, however, be renewed permanently provided the underlying business continues to operate successfully.

National Interest Exception

This case study raises the issue of travel difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic. The United States border has been closed to people who have been in countries with especially bad outbreaks of the virus. This includes Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Davies & Associates has been able to obtain travel waivers for L-1 and E-2 visa clients from these countries. By building the case that it is in the economic interest of America to admit these people, the US authorities have granted special permission to travel.

Read more about National Interest Exceptions.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


End of US Travel Ban Releases Pent-Up Demand from Nigeria

President Biden’s decision to reverse President Trump’s travel ban has released pent up demand for US immigration services from Nigeria.

Nigeria was hit with a US travel ban in February 2020 after President Trump introduced new restrictions as part of his ongoing immigration reforms. The move added Nigeria and five other countries to what was widely referred to as a “Muslim Ban” that dated back to the start of his administration.

In Nigeria, where around half the population are Muslim, the ban specifically targeted those seeking permanent residency in the United States. This hit particularly hard in the family-based immigrant (Green Card) categories, but also effectively put a halt to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program in the country.

EB-5 Visa Nigeria

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program had been growing rapidly in popularity in Nigeria over the past few years, albeit from a low base. In 2016, 38 EB-5 visa were issued to Nigerians, and by 2018 that number had jumped to almost 100.

The travel ban coincided with an increase in the minimum investment amount for EB-5 to $900,000 and then the outbreak of Covid-19. So a temporary dampening of demand in 2020 was likely with or without the travel ban.

But now EB-5 reopens and the pent-up demand is able to unleash. There are just over 700 EB-5 visas available to each country each year. This means Nigeria has a way to go before it hits its annual cap. But if its EB-5 growth trajectory resembles other countries like India, things could move fast.

The EB-5 program provides a fast route to a Green Card for a minimum $900,000 investment that creates ten jobs. Most people invest with an EB-5 Regional Center to help ensure compliance, but it is also possible to make the investment yourself through Direct EB5. A single investment can cover the primary applicant, a spouse, and any children under 21.

L-1 Visa Nigeria

Where we are seeing the most interest right now from Nigeria is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. Technically Nigerians were not prevented from applying for this visa as part of the travel ban, but it made the whole process much harder.

Then in June 2020, President Trump announced a worldwide ban on the L-1 visa among many other visas as part of his plans to contain the economic impact of Covid-19. The L-1 visa is only just reopening as Trump’s ban expires. The pent up demand has built up quite a queue worldwide, so it is a good idea to get started on an application.

The L-1A visa allows an international manager or executive to move from the Nigerian office to the US office of the same company. If you are looking to expand your business to the US, you can use the L-1 visa to move to the US to oversee the set-up and growth of the new office. The L-1B visa permits you to transfer an employee with “Specialized knowledge” to the US.

The L-1A visa is limited to a maximum of seven years and the L-1B for a maximum of 5 years. But you would not get the full amount in one go. Nigerian L-1 visas are issued up to a maximum of 2 years, at which time you would need to apply for a renewal. After the maximum period, you must switch to a different visa or return to Nigeria.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Plus CBI

The other visa a lot of potential Nigerian clients ask us about is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. The E-2 visa allows a person to move to the US for the purposes of owning and operating a business. People use it to buy restaurant franchises or gas stations, but the business opportunities are much broader than this. You no longer even need physical premises.

The visa is hugely popular, but there is one catch for Nigerians. Nigeria does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the USA. This means that Nigerians seeking an E-2 visa need to first become citizens of a country that does have a treaty. The process is known as E-2 + CBI.

The two E-2 countries with the cheapest and fastest routes to citizenship are Turkey and Grenada. Turkish citizenship can be obtained with an investment in real estate from $250,000 or bank deposits worth more than $500,000. Grenadian citizenship can be obtained with a donation from $150,000 or a real estate investment from $220,000. Citizenship of both countries can be obtained in a matter of months.

The extra step can seem like a hassle, but we have helped clients through this prcoess and it is simpler than it sounds. Plus, for many, the E-2 visa is worth the effort. Spouses of the primary applicant can apply for a separate US work permit, investment requirements are relatively low, and the visa can be renewed forever – provided the business is still in good operation.


The combination of Covid-19 and a travel ban has hit Nigerian immigration to the United States hard. But the travel ban is lifting and the vaccination program is underway. The 2020s look set to be brighter for Nigerians hoping to move to the United States.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Switching from an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to an O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa: Client Case Study

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Immigration Attorney, Head of L-1 & E-2 Visa Practice

In 2015, D&A assisted a Romanian national to apply for E-2 Treaty Investor visa by investing $100,000 in a start-up company. The company specializes in intellectual property assets technical and financial consulting with a focus in global brokerage and facilitation of Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) addresses and AS Numbers.

Despite having grown into a multi-million-dollar private company, the company has not been able to meet its employment targets within 5 years because it made better business sense to employ independent contractors. The E-2 Visa requires a business plan as part of the application, which helps the authorities with the subsequent evaluation at the time of renewal.

As the E-2 visa was about to expire, we advised the client that renewing the visa prove to be very challenging due to the employment situation. D&A discussed all other options for the client and it was determined that the client may have a good chance of qualifying for the O-1A category based on his credentials and qualifications.

O-1A is for people with extraordinary ability in education, business, science or the arts.

Since the client has established networks in the US through his E-2 company, it was easy for him to find a petitioning US employer. Since the US employer has been a client of the E-2 company and since they saw how valuable the client us based on his expertise and experience, they did not hesitate in filing a petition for our client.

D&A filed the petition for our client as a person of extraordinary ability to occupy the position of  Global Internet Resources Manager and Facilitator.  In the petition, we carefully outlined as to how the client meets the requirements for an individual to be classified as someone with extraordinary ability in his field.

With a tailor-fit solution, the client no longer has to leave the US despite the inability to renew the E-2 visa. With a change of status application approved, he and his family maintain their lawful nonimmigrant status for an additional period of three years on O-1A status. Should they need to depart the US prior to the expiration of the three-year period, they can apply for the O-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate by submitting an application and presenting the O-1A approval notice.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a beneficiary to move to the United States to run a business. It is a non-immigrant visa in that it does not offer a Green Card, but our attorneys are able to advise on options for transitioning to a Green Card at a later stage. The visa is also renewable indefinitely provided the underlying business is still operating and meeting its targets.

There are not annual quotas or caps for the E-2 visa based upon country of origin. However, eligibility is determined by the applicant’s country of citizenship. You must hold citizenship of a country with an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If you do not, please contact our attorneys. We have helped people from non-E2-treaty countries like India and Vietnam become citizens of E-2 Treaty countries like Turkey and Grenada.

The O-1 Visa is available to people with extraordinary ability. It is also a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not offer a Green Card. However, it is possible to subsequently switch to a Green Card through the EB-1A Visa. Applicants for EB-1A visa from India and China are subject to a short wait because the category is capped annually by country and both countries are slightly oversubscribed. Please see our most recent blog post on the Visa Bulletin to understand this in greater detail.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Keeping a Family together through the E-2 Visa: Client Case Study

Our client wanted to be temporarily reunited with his wife who was living in the United States, but time limitations to his visitor visa meant he had to seek a longer- term alternative. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa proved the optimal solution.

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Attorney, Head of E-2 and L-1 Visa Practice

Our firm assisted a Jordanian national to with obtaining an E-2 visa and subsequently a green card. While he is married to a US permanent resident, he did not initially wish to reside in America permanently.

Since he did not want to be apart from his wife for too long, he entered the US on his visitor’s visa and was given a period of 6 months of authorized stay.

Prior to the expiration of his period of authorized stay, he has decided that he wants to stay for a longer period of time to determine whether he wants to permanently decide to live in the US or convince his wife go back with him to Jordan. We recommended the change of status to E-2 option for him.

Our firm assisted him in setting up his E-2 company and guided him on making the investments. He opened a bakery restaurant which offers a variety of Lebanese-style flatbreads with a variety of toppings, with options for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans.  

Having a permanent resident wife posed a hurdle in terms of proving his non-immigrant intent. We worked with the client in documenting ties to Jordan and we successfully obtained an approval which granted a period of authorized stay of two years on E-2 status.

The success of his business changed his mind about his future in America. He decided to apply for permanent residency by virtue of his marriage to a Green Card holder.

The priority date for spouses of permanent residents had recently become current and so we advised him to immediately file an adjustment of status application.

The application has been approved and he is now waiting for his Green Card. With careful planning, our firm managed to lessen the client’s physical separation from his wife.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the United States for the purposes of investing in and running a business. The visa is renewable indefinitely, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

Spouses can move to America along with the primary applicant and can apply to work outside the business. Dependant children can also move to the United States with their parents.

Investors can choose to purchase a ready-made franchise business provided it complies with the E-2 visa regulations. Davies & Associates has a team of corporate lawyers to make sure the franchise or start-up is structured in a way that complies with all the immigration regulations.

While many E-2 clients opt to invest in restaurants or retail, some choose to have businesses that do not necessarily require a bricks-and-mortar presence. These people benefit from a recent innovation to the E-2 visa program that no longer requires the business to have a physical premises.

Who is eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Eligibility for the E-2 Visa is determined by country of citizenship. An applicant must hold citizenship of a country that holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States.

The full list of countries with E-2 Treaties can be found here. Jordan holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States, so this client was directly eligible for the program. Since there are no quotas for this program, the client was not subject to any waiting lists and his application could progress quickly.

Furthermore, since the E-2 Treaty is governed by treaties, it is less exposed to political machinations than most other visa categories. These treaties tend to outlast short-term political changes in Washington.

If the client had not been from an E-2 Treaty Country, the client would need to have first obtained citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country. The two E-2 treaty countries offering the quickest and most cost-effective pathways to citizenship are Grenada and Turkey.

Grenada offers dual citizenship within just a few months in exchange for an investment in real estate starting from $220,000 or a donation to a government fund starting from $150,000. Turkey requires a $250,000 investment in real estate or $500,000 deposits placed with Turkish banks.

Please contact us for more information: vatienza@usimmigrationadvisor.com

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.