Why an E-2 Investment Visa Might Be a Good Fit for Your Business
If your company is located in a country that has a mutual commerce treaty with the United States, you might just be considering making an investment in buying an existing American company or starting your own. There are a number of reasons why you might want to make such an investment, but how will your company invest these funds?
This brings us to the topic of today’s article, E-2 investment visas. E-2 investment visas enable foreign companies or foreign individuals to invest in American companies with ease, without the burden of the travel restrictions and other limitations placed upon private citizens. This E-2 visa allows foreign companies’ owners/managers/executives and certain essential employees to come to work and live the U.S, while removing many of the restrictions that other travelers face.
So what is an E-2 visa, more exactly, and how can you obtain one for your company? What will your E-2 visa do for you, and what won’t it do? Most importantly, is an E-2 visa the right choice for your company or for you? In this article, we’ll be taking a look at each of these questions and giving you all the information you might need when seeking such a visa. Let’s begin!
What is an E-2 investment visa?
An E-2 visa is a United States nonimmigrant visa that can be obtained by foreign companies and foreign high net worth persons investing substantial amounts of capital, $100,000 or more in at-risk funds in setting up a new business, or by buying an existing American company. industry and commerce. These visas are offered to citizens of countries which have active free trade agreements with the United States. Go to https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html to see if your country is on the list.
The purpose and function of E-2 visas are simple: helping to streamline bringing successful and talented business people and high net worth individuals to invest in the American economy and to create jobs.
What are the requirements for an E-2 investment visa?
Given the broad expanse of privileges afforded to E-2 investment visa recipients, there are several notable requirements that must be met before such a visa can be obtained. In the following section, we will list some of these requirements and briefly explain what they may mean for your company and the individuals who will be traveling under their protection.
Recipients of E-2 visas planning to invest in U.S. businesses are required to be a citizen of a country included in U.S. free-trade treaties. In the case of companies applying for an E-2 visa, at least 50% of the company must be owned by a citizen of the treaty country.
Additional conditions for obtaining an E-2 visa are the size and decisiveness of the investment put forth by the applicant investor or company. This means that the sum committed must be enough to ensure the success of the enterprise in which it is to be invested.
Another requirement included under the conditions of E-2 visas is that the investment must not be marginal, and must be great enough to provide the investor with a rate of return that far exceeds the amount required to cover living expenses and other expenditures.
Real operating enterprise
In order for the visa request to be met, the investment must be made in support of a “real” business enterprise which must hire employees and have the potential to produce revenue and secure profit. Speculative investments, ownership of undeveloped properties, or ownership of real estate not requiring three or more full-time employees, do not qualify for E-2 visas.
Risk and discretionary control
Pertinent to this requirement, investors or their delegates must have discretionary control over the committed funds and operation of the enterprise in which the investment is involved. The funds must also be at normal commercial risk.
The E-2 visa requires that the principal investor or general manager to be present and working in the business in the United States, directing business affairs for the company.
Departure after visa expires
Finally, another important condition of an E-2 investment visa is a written commitment to have no intention to live in the U.S. permanently, even though the E-2 visa can be extended indefinitely, as long as the business continues to operate with three or more W-2 employees and operates in a profitable fashion.
Frequently asked questions
With these requirements met, you may still have some questions about E-2 investment visas. That’s ok! In this section, we’ll be reviewing and addressing some of the most commonly asked questions about this type of visa. Whatever questions you may have about this type of visa, we hope this section will answer them. Let’s begin!
How long can an E-2 visa recipient remain in the country?
The initial length for this type of visa is a maximum of two years if filing with the USCIS. If filing directly with the U.S. Embassy in the investor’s home country, the E-2 visa can be issued up to five years, depending on your country’s agreement with the U.S.
Each time an approved E-2 visa holder of a five year visa obtained from a U.S. Embassy enters the U.S., he/she receives a maximum of two years, but if he/she has a five year visa, all he/she has to do is to take a short trip outside the U.S. and upon a return, will receive another two years, up to the full period of the said five year visa.
At the end of the two year period of entry to the U.S. on an E-2, one can also apply for an extension while remaining in the U.S., by applying for the extension to the USCIS. Unlike all other visas, there is no limit on the number of extensions, as long as the business continues to operate with three or more W-2 employees and operates in a profitable fashion.
Who can benefit from an E-2 visa?
Another thing you may be wondering about is who can benefit from your visa, and who is eligible to travel under its protections. For business owners and professionals with families, it is perfectly understandable that you may want to bring them with you when you relocate to the United States. Spouses and children up to 21 are also entitled to the E-2 visa and may attend schools and universities without the need for a student visa. The spouse may also apply and obtain a work permit after being approved in the U.S. for the visa or after entering the U.S. with the E-2 visa issued at a U.S. Embassy abroad.
CAN I USE INHERITED MONEY OR GIFTED MONEY TO ESTABLISH MY FINANCIAL CAPABILITY?
Absolutely yes and you can also use money borrowed from a financial institution if the collateral includes assets of yours, or in other words, the bank places a lien against an asset you own. The business you may buy also cannot be placed as collateral for any loan.
Is an E-2 visa the right fit for your company?
The answer to this question is somewhat subjective. Whether or not an E-2 visa is the right choice for your company, or whether other visas L-1 or an E-1 are a better fit, it depends primarily on your business background and company structure, corporate goals, your budget, your target demographic and many other factors. When determining whether or not to pursue an E-2 investment visa, it is of the utmost importance that you consider all these factors and consult with an experienced Immigration lawyer.
Generally speaking, E-2 visas are best utilized by companies and high net worth individuals with a goal to start a new business or buy an existing business. As a foreign investor, you will be required to invest substantial sums of money in the U.S. market, making it a foolish pursue if you are not committed to this goal, or you cannot prove the legal source of your funds. If an E-2 visa is not quite what you or your company needs, you may want to consider other
available investment-based visa options.
With this article, it is our hope that we have given you a better understanding of how E-2 investment visas work, what the requirements are to obtain one, how to best utilize one and whether or not it is a good fit for your company. With an experienced Immigration lawyer and patience, luck, you can soon be the newest foreign investor in the U.S. market!
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