Special Considerations for E2 Treaty Investor Visa Applicants from the United Kingdom

Did you know the United Kingdom holds the oldest E-2 Treaty with the United States of any country in the world. It dates back more than 200 years and highlights how the E-2 Visa transcends the ever-changing political winds in Washington.

Yet, unlike other countries, Britain’s E-2 Treaty contains a quirk – applicants must be an “inhabitant” of the British Isles. This is taken to mean that you should be permanent residents of the UK and domicile there in order to obtain E-2 Treaty Investor Visa status. The same is also true for its sister visa, the E-1 Treaty Trader.

What this means is that a UK E-2 applicant who currently resides outside the United Kingdom, no longer retains a residence there, or spends long portions outside the country may find that their applications are rejected.

That contrasts with other E-2 countries. Take, for example, Grenada, an island nation in the Caribbean with an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Our firm has helped clients obtain citizenship by investment of Grenada and then proceed to obtain a US E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This route is mostly popular with people who do not come from countries with an E-2 Treaty with the US – India, Russia, China and Vietnam are examples of this.

To obtain and maintain Grenadian citizenship you never need to visit or be physically present in the country. We do recommend that anyone seeking an E-2 Visa from Grenada visit the island and establish a connection to the island, but you do not need to offer proof of residency in the same way as the UK.

That said, the E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and you must prove an intention to depart the US eventually – regardless of where you apply from. Of course, the E-2 visa can be renewed forever provided the underlying business continues to operate successfully. You can also transition to a Green Card under the Direct EB-5 visa route or the EB-1c Visa route. But the intention to depart must be clear when you are applying for a visa.

In this regard, the E-2 Visa contrasts with the L-1 Visa, which has so-called “Dual Intent”. For, while the L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, you do not need to prove that you intend to depart and can actively seek a Green Card (the EB-1c is the usual route for most L-1a Visa holders).

Acceptable Evidence of UK Residency

  • If the applicant is employed in the UK, photocopy of the most recent payslip to show that Tax and Natonal Insurance is being paid in the UK
  • At least 3 months of statement/record of payment of local utilities such as gas, water, electric, local council taxes
  • At least 3 months of lease or mortgage payment
  • Bank statements for a current account reflecting local direct debit charges or transactions in the last three months
  • Signing onto the Electoral Register – not essential but we recommend this.

Non acceptable proof of UK residency:

  • A copy of a U.K. Driver’s license or any information regarding the ownership of a car
  • TV license
  • Cell phone bill
  • Rewards/sports club cards for supermarkets/departments, etc
  • NHS, Doctor or Dentist information
  • Letters from friends or relatives

As ever, the best course of action is just to speak with our team. Our network of talented immigration lawyers across the United States, supported by our team in London, can offer guidance on the credibility of your UK E-2 application and discuss alternative solutions if needed.


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.


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.


Business Immigration from the UK to the USA

Political headwinds have left entrepreneurs and business owners looking for more effective ways to trade. Namely, moving to the source and setting up a business in America.

The United Kingdom is America’s seventh largest trading partner with imports from the UK totalling $125 billion and exports to the UK exceeding $147 billion in 2019.

While bilateral trade grew to an all time high before the pandemic, Trump administration policies have been making things harder for certain sectors. A trade dispute with the European Union over subsidies to Airbus resulted in tariffs being imposed on a number of British products. The Scotch whisky industry, for example, was hit by a 25% tariff on its exports to the US market.

Things should start changing as a result of Brexit and the inauguration of President Biden, but there has not yet been any hurry to remove these tariffs on the US side. Moreover, continued uncertainty around the future of trade and globalization has left many business leaders asking how they can do things differently to hedge against future instability.

As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to our firm to discuss business immigration options. Not just from Great Britain, but from across the European Union – from Germany, France, the Netherlands and beyond.

There is increased interest in business expansion to the United States, as well as with people wishing to set-up new enterprises. The good news is that, being a land of commerce, the U.S. has multiple options for just such people.

The L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

The L-1A Visa allows a manager or executive level employee to move from the British office to the US office of the same company. More than 10,000 L-1 visas were issued to Brits in 2010. Many of them work at large multinationals and move between established offices.

Yet, the L-1 can also be used to set-up and grow a new office in America. Businesses who do not yet have a presence in America can set one up and then transfer a senior-level employee to manage the business on an L-1 visa. D&A’s L-1 Visa can take care of the company formation as well as the immigration work.

The L-1 is a time limited, non-immigrant visa. British people are granted an initial visa of up to a maximum of 60 months (five years). New office L-1s are granted for a much shorter period so the authorities can monitor the progress for the business. Yet, these visas can be renewed – up to a maximum of seven years for an L-1A visa. There is also an L-1B route for people in the company with “specialized knowledge”. This is limited to a maximum of five years. To remain in the United States for longer, an L-1 visa beneficiary must switch to a different visa. The EB-1C and EB-3 visas offer permanent residency and fit well with the L-1 visa.

Click here to visit our UK L-1 Visa Page

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the United States to operate a business. To qualify for the E-2 visa, a person must be a citizen of a country that holds a relevant treaty with the United States. The United Kingdom holds the oldest such treaty, dating back more than 200 years.

Click here to visit our UK E-2 Visa webpage

Eligibility is determined by citizenship, so if you were born outside the UK and subsequently became a British citizen, you would still eligible. This contrasts favorably with U.S. family-based and employment-based immigrant visa categories, where eligibility is determined by your country of birth.

There is no stipulated investment amount, but it must be credible to support the business plan. Generally speaking, it should be upwards of around $100,000.

Unlike the L-1, the E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely provided the underlying business continues to trade and meets its targets. The maximum length of time an E-2 visa can be issued for is five years, at which point a renewal is required.

Family of both L-1 and E-2 visa holders can move from the UK to the US with the primary applicant. That includes a spouse and any children under the age of 21. Spouses can apply to work in the United States and often clients arrange their E-2 visa around the spouse’s career ambitions.

Visit our UK E2 Visa Center

EB-5 Visa

To have true freedom to work in the United States (and indeed study or retire), permanent residency is the best course of action. One of the fastest routes to a Green Card for UK nationals is the EB-5 Investor Visa. It offers a quick path to a Green Card for a $900,000 investment. This is cheaper than the UK’s own investor visa program, which starts from £2 million and increases in value if you wish to reduce the time period before your wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The number of EB-5 visas available to each country each year is just over 700. The United Kingdom is not close to using up its quota, so there is no oversubscription or waiting list for UK EB-5. However, your EB-5 quota depends upon your country of birth. So, for example, an Indian-born British citizen would count under India’s quota. Given India’s population size and the popularity of the United States as a destination, India is often close to its annual cap.

Davies & Associates is one of the most well established EB-5 law firms in India. We have helped many Indian families successfully apply for their EB-5 visas and have been consistently quoted on the subject in the Indian media. Our Russian speaking lawyers and paralegals are also well placed to help the Russian community in the UK with their US immigration goals.

UK Solutions for Americans

Trade cuts both ways and Americans are inevitably also interested in UK visas. The United Kingdom is still gearing up its post-Brexit immigration system, but there are plenty of opportunities for American business owners and entrepreneurs. There is a UK intracompany transfer visa, which is similar to the L-1 Visa. There is a Sole Representative Visa, which has some similarities to the new office type of L-1 visa. The UK also has a start-up and innovator visas designed to attract innovative, scalable and viable technologies to the United Kingdom.

Davies & Associates is uniquely placed to help Brits looking to move to America and vice versa. Our chairman and founder is a Brit who migrated to America many years ago. Our core teams sit in New York, Chicago and London. Contact us today to discuss your specific circumstances.


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.