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Unique United States Visa Option for Pakistani Nationals

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There is a United States visa option only available to citizens of Pakistan. This visa is called an ‘E-2 Treaty Investor visa’ and is a result of a bilateral treaty between Pakistan and the United States.

The E-2 is a great option for citizens of Pakistan wishing to work, live or retire in the United States. The visa can be renewed indefinitely so long as the underlying investment continues to exist.

Further, the spouse of the main applicant and their unmarried children under the age of 21 can also obtain visas by virtue of their relationship with the main applicant. New rules allow the spouse of the main applicant to automatically receive employment authorization in the United States.


A crucial aspect of the E-2 is the investment. This usually involves buying or investing in an existing business or starting a new business. The conditions are:

  • The applicant must have or be actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise (it must be substantial in relation to the total cost of purchasing or establishing an enterprise, be sufficient to ensure that the applicant is financially committed to the enterprise’s success and large enough to show that the applicant has a large chance of financial success).
  • The applicant must have at least 50% ownership or control of the enterprise.

How much should I invest?

The regulations give an example of a $100,000 investment. If the main applicants wish to retire – in effect, hiring a US-based staff member to manage their investment, the minimum investment might need to be a bit higher to keep the investment viable.

Once the E-2 investment has been made it is only necessary to ensure that the majority of the investment and ownership remains in Pakistani hands. An E-2 principal applicant can potentially retire or not work at all. They may work for the E-2 but so long as the investment continues to exist, they are not required to work.

Many E-2 holders also use the E-2 to allow their spouse the ability to quickly take up employment in the United States for a company which they otherwise could not get a visa easily or quickly for or to start their own business which may not immediately meet the E-2 requirements.

It is important to note that the investment does not all have to be cash held by the principal applicant. So long as the funds are ‘at risk’ or invested the funds may also be provided via loans to the principal applicant.

Examples of E-2 businesses

  • Restaurant
  • Motel
  • General store
  • Art gallery
  • Farm
  • Kindergarten

Many types of business could qualify for an E-2, if you would like to discuss further, we would be happy to talk through your ideas.

Who else can come to the United States with you?

Once an E-2 entity has been established in the United States it is possible to obtain visas for Pakistani nationals to come to the United States to work for these entities in the position of manager or specialists using their specialized knowledge. These employees may obtain E-2 visas for their spouses and children under the age of 21 as well.

We would be happy to discuss any US immigration-related questions and can assist at every stage of an E-2 journey – from initial planning to compliance.


DV Solicitors

DV Solicitor, a leading law firm in Bedford & London, offers a wide range of legal services including commercial property, corporate, employment, personal injury and human rights/immigration law. Known for their expertise and client-focused approach.
By: DV Solicitors
Date: April 20, 2022

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