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E2 Investor Visa Processing in Japan
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E-2 Treaty Investor visas are authorized to aliens entitled to enter the United States on the basis of treaties of commerce, navigation or bilateral agreements between the United States and the foreign state of which he/she is a national.

In this article we cover the basic steps involved in applying for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa at the U.S. embassy in Japan, which is a treaty country.

Pre-requisites for E-2

The enterprise must meet the following conditions for E-2 status
  1. The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.

  2. The investment must be a real operating enterprise and it must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family.

  3. All companies seeking E visas for their owners or employees must be registered with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate in Osaka
Applicants who are employees of the enterprise must meet the following conditions:
  1. They must be nationals of the treaty country

  2. The investor must have control of the funds

  3. They must be going to the U.S. to work at an executive/managerial level on temporary basis; or to use their special skills which are (1) essential to the Company's operations in the United States and (2) not readily available on the U.S. labor market.
Application for Registration of the Enterprise

The first step in applying for a Treaty Trader or a Treaty Investor visa is to establish the qualification of the company or operation in the U.S. This process is known as registration. All companies seeking E visas for their owners or employees must be registered with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate in Osaka. The registration is required even if the applicant has received a change of status to E-1 or E-2 from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. If your enterprise is already registered with the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo or with the U.S. Consulate in Osaka, please read the “Personal Interview” section of this article below.

Paying the visa application fee

All non-immigrant visa applicants must pay a nonrefundable $100 visa application fee, payable in Japanese Yen. The yen-dollar exchange rates used to calculate this fee change monthly. You may pay the fee using the online appointment system through the PayEasy internet network or can pay at any ATM displaying the PayEasy logo. The payment of your fee must be made within one week of making your appointment. In case of delay, the appointment will be cancelled. After you have paid the fee, another letter entitled "Visa Appointment Notice" will be sent to your email address. This will serve as your proof of payment. This letter will be required during the visa interview.

Required Format for E-2 Visa Applications

The U.S. Embassy in Japan requires the applications to be submitted in a binder divided into sections clearly separated by lettered or numbered tabs. The applicants must submit the applications in the format below as the Embassy will return all applications not complying with the format below to the applicant.

Tab 1 Form DS-156 nonimmigrant visa application, one 5X5 cm photograph, Form DS-157 and the original receipt for the $100 RV fee. The photo must be glued to the Form DS-156 and the receipt must be attached above the barcode.
Tab 2 Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport. This tab should also include photocopies of the applicant’s prior U.S. visas, as applicable.
Tab 3 Form DS-156E filled out in its entirety. Contact information must include an e-mail address and fax number.
Tab 4 Cover letter describing company in the U.S. and in Japan, the nature of the company's trade or investment, the company's plans for the development of the U.S. business over the next five years, a description of the position, and the background of the beneficiary.
Tab 5

Proof of treaty country ownership and controlling interest in the enterprise. Under this tab corporate documentation, such as, Articles of Incorporation, Secretary of State certificates, Minutes of Board of Directors’ meetings showing who the officers are and the distribution of capital, and other documents of this nature may be included.

Tab 6 Proof that funds have been invested or that the investor is actively in the process of investing and that the enterprise is real time investment. It is important to provide proof of actual purchases and/or signed contracts and leases related to the enterprise & not just wire transfers to a U.S. account. For example, client lists, letters from clients attesting to their involvement with the enterprise, signed contracts with clients, and photographs of the enterprise may be included in the documentation.
Tab 7 Evidence that investment is substantial and is more than marginal. The applicant must prove that the investment will incur more income than just to provide a living for the applicant and his or her family.
Tab 8

Applicant’s resumé and evidence that employee has essential skills that the enterprise urgently needs, as well as the projected duration of this essentiality. For example, include relevant diplomas, job training certificates or letters from previous employers in this section. Also include an organizational chart and an explanation as to why the enterprise was unable to find a qualified U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to fill the position.

Mailing the application to the embassy

Once you have prepared your E-2 visa application in the above format, enclose an A4 size self-addressed and stamped return envelope, and send the application to:
    American Embassy Tokyo, Visa Branch
    1-10-5 , Akasaka, Minato-ku
    Tokyo 107-8420
Processing of the Application

Adjudication of an E visa application is complex and time-consuming and may take six to eight weeks. Adjudication of the case may result in any of the following:
  1. Refusal under INA Section 214(b) for failing to meet requirements for treaty investor status.

  2. Refusal under INA Section 221(g) for providing insufficient information to make a final determination in the case. In this case you may submit additional information to address the insufficiency identified in the refusal.

  3. Successful registration of the enterprise by approval of your E-2 case
After review of the application is complete, you or the representative of your company will be notified in writing of the decision.

Personal Interview

If the company is approved for treaty investor status, the applicant should be present with the following documents at the time of the interview in order to apply for the visa.
  1. Current and previous passports issued in the past ten years

  2. A completed on-line version of Form DS-156. Carry all three pages of the form to your interview and do not staple your forms together. You may download the DS-156 form in English, Japanese, Spanish or Portuguese from the embassy’s website.

  3. A 5cm x 5cm color photo with a white background. You may glue the photo but do not staple it to the DS-156 form.

  4. "Visa Appointment Notice" letter received after the online payment. If you pay by ATM, please carry your ATM receipt.

  5. All male applicants over 16 years of age must also carry a completed Form DS-157

  6. A self-addressed "Expack 500" envelope for the Embassy to mail back your passport and documents to you

  7. English translations of Court and/or Police Records, if any

  8. Form DS-156E: E-visa applicants need to submit an original DS-156E
Please put all of the documents listed above in a clear plastic folder. Children over 13 years are required to accompany their parents to the Embassy for an interview; however those under the age of 13 or those who are 80 years of age or older are exempted of interview and would need to apply for a visa by mail or through a travel agent.
  1. By Travel Agent:
    The agent will deliver your application to the Embassy and pick up the visa when it is ready.

  2. By Mail:
    Applicants who are living in eastern part of Japan and applying at the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, must send their application to American Embassy Tokyo, Visa Branch, 1-10-5, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420

    Applicants who are living in western part of Japan and applying at the U.S. Consulate General in Osaka must send their application to U.S. Consulate General Osaka, Visa Unit, 11-5 Nishitenma 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543

NOTE: If you apply for a visa by mail, be sure to enclose an "ExPack 500" envelope that the embassy can use to send your passport back.

Family Members: Spouse and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 can receive derivative E visas to accompany the employee to the U.S. A separate DS-156 application form must be completed and separate photo provided for each eligible family member. Proof of the family members’ relationship to the principal applicant; such as a copy of your marriage certificate and/or a copy of your children’s birth certificate(s) needs to be included. Spouses may seek employment authorization on derivative E visas in the U.S. after obtaining express authorization from the USCIS. There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an E visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the U.S.; they may study on a derivative E visa.


VisaPro would like to advice prospective investors and E-visa applicants to always review regulatory requirements and seek professional advice from an immigration law attorney before submitting an E-2 visa application. You may also contact us to determine your eligibility for an E-2 visa. Our attorneys will answer your preliminary queries and devise the most suitable strategy for the successful processing of your E-2 visa application.

In order to stay updated with the latest news on E-2 visa or other immigration matters, please click here to subscribe to Immigration Monitor, our monthly newsletter.

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