E2 Visa Requirements for UK Citizens

The United Kingdom processes thousands of E2 visas each year, so if you are considering moving to the U.S. with an E2 visa, you are in good company. Although the requirements for an E2 visa are the same in the U.K. as around the world, there are a few differences in the way E2 visas are processed at the U.S. embassy in London.

The Treaty

The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. that allows for the E2 visa was signed back in 1815. Back then, the U.K. was an expansive empire with commonwealths all over the world. In order to establish where the person was actually from (the British Isles or a commonwealth), the treaty dictates that the person must establish residency in the British Isles. The treaty still stands with the original language today.

What does this mean for the average U.K. citizen interested in the E2?

It means that you must show proof of residency in the U.K. at the time of E2 application. In order to show residency, the embassy requires documentation to be submitted with the E2 visa application. Proof of residency may include any of the following:

    • Most recent pay slip showing Tax and National Insurance is being paid in the U.K..
    • Proof of payment of local utilities bills such as gas, water, electric, local council taxes.
    • A current lease or present mortgage payment.
    • U.K. pay slips/stubs.
    • Payment of Inland Revenue taxes; OR bank statements for a current account reflecting local direct debit charges or transactions.

The embassy strictly prohibits the use of the following documents in order to establish residency: UK driver’s license, proof of ownership of a car, TV license, National Insurance Number, cell phone bill, rewards/sports club cards for supermarkets/departments, etc., NHS, doctor or dentist information.

What if I’m already in the U.S. on another visa? How do I establish residency?

This is a question that we have handled successfully for other clients. The residency requirement will date back to the time that you applied for the original visa. In one case, a client applied for an F1 visa. He moved to the U.S. in order to attend school. Several years later, while he was still on the F1, he wanted to get an E2 visa. We provided documentation proving his residency at the time that he applied for the F1 visa in order to show that he was a resident of the U.K. The consulate accepted this documentation, and the E2 visa was granted.


London E2 Visa Unit

Another distinction between the U.K. and some other countries is the E2 visa unit in London. Because of the sheer number of E2 visas reviewed and granted in London, the U.S. Department of State has determined that there should be a specialized group of consular officials and other professionals who have extra training on the E2 visa requirements. The unit’s focus is on supporting U.K. nationals looking to apply for an E2 visa. The group thoroughly understands the requirements needed to obtain an E2 visa, how to apply, and how to review the E2 documentation. The E2 visa unit at the U.S. embassy in London seeks to give UK citizens a smooth yet thorough application process. Applicants can trust the E2 visa unit’s knowledge and professionalism.

Recent U.K. Client Approvals

We have helped many U.K. clients over the years get E2 visas. Below are a few of our recent cases that have been approved for our clients in the U.K.


Contact E2 Visa Lawyer

E2 Visa Requirements

  • You must have a passport from an E2 treaty country. NOTE – None of your family members need to have the same passport. They can come as derivatives even if they have passports from non-treaty countries.
  • You must invest in a new or existing business in the US with the goal of making a profit. Your investment in the new or existing business must be “substantial.” A “substantial” investment is not defined as a number, but is judged under the totality of the circumstances. The location of the business and the type of business will be considered. That said, you should count on investing at least $100,000 in order to show substantiality.
  • The business you invest in should be a “bona fide enterprise” (sometimes called the “Real and Active” requirement). You must show that this business provides a good or services and operates on a day-to-day basis. Passive or speculative investments will not meet this requirement.
  • The business must not be “marginal.” It must have the “present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.” This is not a hobby business or a part-time business. You should be actively working on the business and intending the business to be a full-time venture that will financially support you, your family and employees and their families.
  • You must invest in the business, and the funds must be “irrevocably committed.” This means you must be able to show that the money has already been spent before you apply for the E2 visa.
  • You must be able to trace the money. In other words, you must be able to show that the money is yours – not investors’ or third parties. It goes without saying that you must also show that the money was not received as a result of criminal activities.
  • Your goal in coming to the US is to “direct and develop” this business. In other words, you need to show that you have the ability and capacity to “direct and develop” the business. This is typically demonstrated by showing that you have at least 51% ownership in the business.
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