The E-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa for a foreign individual Investor who invests an amount of money into a U.S. business. While there is no required minimum, the amount must be “substantial” in nature. The investor must also be a citizen or national of a country which has an existing Treaty of Commerce with the United States.
E-2 Treaty Investors Visa Requirements
- A citizen or national of a country in which partakes in a treaty of commerce with the United States;
- Have invested, or provides sufficient evidence that he or she is actively investing, a significant amount of capital in a bona fide business entity in the United States;
- Must solicit entry to the United States exclusively to develop and directs the U.S. business entity the investment is for. This is established by evidencing a minimum of 50% ownership of the business entity; however, the “acceptable” percentage of ownership and amount of investment are viewed on a sliding scale by the U.S. Consulate, and must be carefully evaluated early on in the E-2 Visa process.
Pros of E-2 Visa
- Amount of Investment can be as little as $50,000, depending on the type of business;
- Allows for regular Visa renewals (no maximum time cap) approximately every two years, for the Investor, Spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21, so long as the Investor continues to “develop and direct” the intended E-2 business in the USA;
- E-2 Visa can be processed rather quickly: approximately 4-6 months;
- Investor invests in his or her own business;
- Investor must continually “develop and direct” the business he/she is investing in, while the spouse may pursue any other work activity;
- Investor, Spouse, and children are entitled to a U.S. Social Security Numbers, and can work, study, and enjoy the benefits from living in the United States
Cons of E-2 Visa
- Does not by itself result in a Green Card, but is a long-term, renewable Visa and can be renewed every 2-years so long as Investor continues to meet visa qualifications;
- If Single Entry is granted (Not Multiple Visa), the investor and dependents must obtain a new stamp each time they re-enter the United States;
- Not recommended for individuals who travel often; this is meant for an Investor who wants to spend majority of his / her time in the United States to oversee the E-2 business venture;
Steps to take to prepare for E-2 Visa
- Begin by consulting an experienced Immigration Attorney to map out the entire process;
- Decide which U.S. State the investor would like to begin his or her business and reside in;
- Decide whether the investor would like to purchase an existing business or start-up a new business;
- Structure a Company in the U.S. State where the business will conduct its activity;
- Obtain a professional 5-year Business Plan which meets U.S. Immigration requirements;
- Complete an analysis of the Source of Funds, demonstrating legality of funds being invested in the U.S. venture (this is a critical task);
- Obtain all required documents and draft the required documents/forms to be submitted to the investor’s respective U.S. Embassy or Consulate;
Once the petition has been received and reviewed by the U.S. Consulate (or USCIS if you are already in the USA on another valid U.S. Visa) the investor will be assigned an interview (if abroad) or a decision on their E-2 Visa application (if filing within United States).
One advantage of filing inside United States is that USCIS allows for an Expedite Processing where, after a complete package is received, they will issue a decision within 15-days.
It is critical to consult with an experienced Immigration as many factors must be carefully analyzed at each step of the way, in order to maximize E-2 applicant’s chances of success.
While an Immigration Attorney may handle your Immigration matter from any U.S. State (because U.S. Immigration falls under U.S. Federal Laws), in most cases you will have to consult a local Transactional Attorney in the State where you are purchasing your business, as each U.S. State / U.S. Territory is subject to its own local laws and regulations.