When you are starting a business, the United States can be an ideal place to foster your startup, thanks to preferential benefits, such as special resources and tax credits. If your business is successful, it benefits not only you personally, but also the United States as a whole. Similarly, foreign investment can help keep the economy healthy. That’s why E2 investor visas, also known simply as E2 visas, exist.
What Is An E2 Visa?
If you are looking to relocate to the U.S. to develop or direct an enterprise that you own at least half of, you can apply for an E2 visa, provided that you qualify under all of the technical requirements for an E2 visa. Because all paperwork including business plans and financial statements must be done perfectly or you may be rejected for an E2 visa, filing for an E2 visa can be a complex process. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney through the Priori network ensures that you will work with a lawyer experienced in helping nationals of your own country apply for E2 investor visas.
How Do Investors Use E2 Visas?
If you are an investor from a qualifying treaty country, an E2 visa allows you to live in the United States after making a significant investment in a U.S. enterprise. An E2 visa enables you to manage and direct the operations of this business to help ensure that your investment is successful.
Qualifications For An E2 Treaty Investor
In order to qualify for an E2 visa as a treaty investor, you must meet certain requirements. The most important of these are the following:
- You must be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. The full list can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
- You are coming to the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of capital in a new or existing business.
- The business is a bona fide enterprise that is not marginal.
- The purpose of your move as an investor is to develop and direct the investment enterprise. You can establish this fact by possessing at least 50% ownership or maintaining operational control through some managerial position.
- The source of the funds for your investment can be proven legitimate.
Substantial Amount of Capital
Because an E2 visa requires an investment of a substantial amount of capital, it’s important to define how much money is “substantial.” Unfortunately, there is no defined measurement for this term. Rather, it is defined by what would be substantial in proportion to the total cost of purchasing or establishing the enterprise in question. Put more generally, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher your investment must be proportional to that amount in order to be considered substantial. In general, you must be able to establish that your investment demonstrates a significant financial commitment that makes it seem likely that you will be able to successfully develop and direct the company.
When you invest in a company, it must not be a marginal enterprise in order for you to qualify for an E2 visa. A business is considered marginal if it does not have the capacity to generate more than enough income to support you and your family. It is important to note that this capacity can be a future capacity, but it must be proven profitable within five years of your investment.
E2 Visas for Employees of Treaty Investors
Investors are also permitted to bring significant employees from their home country on an E2 visa to work for the company. These employees must be of the same nationality as the original E2 visa applicant and they must also be employed in an executive or supervisory position within the company in question. Similarly, employees with special qualifications that make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business may also qualify for this visa. In order to qualify for an E2 visa due to special qualifications, you must have demonstrable expertise in the area of work and there must be a lack of that skill set within the United States. Linguistic and cultural knowledge alone are generally not considered enough for these purposes.
Depending on your situation, the cost of filing an E2 visa application can vary based on the specifics of your status or situation. When you a hire a lawyer through the Priori network, flat rates for E2 investor visas typically range between $3,000-$4,500. In order to get a better sense of cost for your particular situation, put in a request to schedule a complimentary consultation and receive a free price quote from one of our lawyers.
How long does an E2 visa last?
An E2 visa is initially valid for two years. After that time, you are permitted to apply for a two-year extension from within the U.S., granted that you are still employed in investment activities as defined under immigration statutes. You can continue to apply for an indefinite number of two-year extensions of your E2 visa.
Can my family come with me on an E2 visa?
Generally speaking, your spouse and any dependent children under the age of 21 are also permitted to file for E2 visas for the duration of your stay. If granted, these E2 visas will allow your spouse to apply for work authorization within the U.S. without restriction.