Can E2 Visa Holder Work for Another Company? The Answer May Surprise You

If you hold an E2 visa, you might be curious about your ability to work for a company aside from the one that sponsored your visa.

The E2 visa, a nonimmigrant classification, permits foreign nationals to invest in and manage a business within the United States.

This visa is established on a treaty of amicable relations, trade, and navigation between the United States and the investor’s home country.

The E2 visa has benefits like unlimited renewals and bringing family, but you can’t work for other companies.

The E2 visa has benefits like unlimited renewals and bringing family, but you can’t work for other companies.

E2 Visa Holder Work for Another Company
Can E2 Visa Holder Work for Another Company?


This article will address the question: Can E2 visa holders work for other companies? Additionally, we will delve into the following interconnected subjects:

To qualify for an E2 visa, you must satisfy these criteria

  1. Prerequisites for securing an E2 visa.
  2. Limitations on E2 visa holders.
  3. How E2 visa holders can transition between employers or initiate new business ventures.
  4. Substitutes to the E2 visa.

Prerequisites for Securing an E2 Visa

  1. You need to be a national of a country that shares a friendship, commerce, and navigation treaty with the U.S. A list of treaty nations is available for reference.
  2. You must have already invested or be in the process of investing a substantial sum of capital in a legitimate enterprise in the U.S. The exact minimum investment amount isn’t specified, but it should be adequate to ensure the prosperous functioning of the business and commensurate with the business’s value or the expenses involved in creating a new one.
  3. You should possess at least a 50% ownership stake in the business or have managerial control over it via a supervisory position or other corporate mechanism.
  4. Your intention should be to depart from the U.S. upon the expiration or termination of your E2 status. It’s unnecessary to retain a foreign residence, but you must demonstrate that permanent residency in the U.S. isn’t your intent.

Limitations on E2 Visa Holders

Principal among the restrictions confronting E2 visa holders is the prohibition against working for any entity apart from the sponsor company or their self-owned enterprise.

This means you’re disallowed from accepting employment with another employer, launching a side business, or working as an independent contractor or consultant for different clients.

Such actions may infringe upon your E2 status, potentially leading to deportation or the denial of future visa applications.

Another constraint entails not altering the nature or scope of your business without notifying and obtaining sanction from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

You must retain the same nature and scale of the business for which your visa was initially granted. For expansion, diversification, or modification, you’re required to submit a new Form I-129, known as a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to the USCIS, along with the requisite fees.

Substantiating evidence of your new business’s alignment with E2 visa requisites, including substantial investment, ownership, and intent to depart, must also be provided.

Transitioning Between Employers or Launching a New Business for E2 Visa Holders

E2 visa holders seeking to change employers or commence a fresh business endeavor possess two alternatives: applying for a new E2 visa or transitioning into a different visa category.

When applying for a new E2 visa, the procedure mirrors the initial application process.

Finding a new employer willing to sponsor your visa or investing in a new business that satisfies E2 visa criteria is mandatory.

Submission of a new Form I-129 to the USCIS along with applicable fees is required.

Additionally, evidence demonstrating the termination of your prior employer relationship or business and reaffirmation of your intention to depart the U.S. upon the expiration or termination of your new E2 status must be supplied.

Shifting to a different visa category necessitates identification of an eligible employer ready to sponsor your new visa or qualification for an alternative nonimmigrant or immigrant visa independently.

For instance,

eligibility for an H-1B visa rests on having a bachelor’s degree or higher, along with a job offer in a specialized occupation from a U.S. employer;

an L-1 visa can be pursued if you’ve held a managerial or executive position with a foreign company having a U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliate for at least one year;

an EB-5 visa can be secured if you invest a minimum of $1.8 million in a novel commercial venture generating at least ten full-time positions for U.S. employees.

Corresponding forms and documentation must be submitted to the USCIS, coupled with applicable fees. Satisfying all requirements and criteria for the chosen visa classification is also obligatory.

Alternatives to the E2 Visa

For those ineligible for an E2 visa or seeking more latitude to work for alternate employers or launch new businesses, exploring substitute options may be wise.

Several possible alternatives include:

  1. O-1 visa: Intended for individuals possessing exceptional talents or accomplishments in fields like science, education, business, sports, arts, or entertainment. A U.S. employer or agent must offer sponsorship, accompanied by evidence of national or international recognition for your achievements.
  2. E-1 visa: Meant for individuals actively involved in significant trade between their treaty nation and the U.S. Eligibility hinges on nationality and employment with a company conducting at least half of its total trade volume with the U.S.
  3. E-3 visa: Tailored for Australian nationals holding a job offer from a U.S. employer involving a specialized occupation requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher. Meeting job prerequisites and confirming non-permanent intent in the U.S. are requisites.
  4. TN visa: Designed for Canadian or Mexican nationals with a job offer in a profession outlined in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Meeting the profession’s qualifications and demonstrating non-permanent intent in the U.S. are prerequisites.


So, can E2 visa holders work for other companies?

The answer is no, unless a new E2_V is sought or a shift to an alternate visa category is pursued.

The E2_v targets foreign investors aspiring to establish their businesses in the U.S., not employees seeking positions with different employers.

For greater flexibility in employment or business endeavors, ponder the potential alternatives to the E2V, such as O-1, E-1, E-3, or TN visas.

Each visa classification, however, is subject to its specific requirements and limitations, necessitating consultation with an immigration attorney prior to reaching any decisions.


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