Here is a brief summary of the Visa E-2. Please click on the button below to know about our E-2 Service.
USCIS defines an E-2 investment as “the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be to establish a new business venture, or purchase a pre-existing business.”
An E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa reserved for foreign entrepreneurs of countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. E-2 investor visa allows foreign investors to enter and work inside of the United States based on a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise.
On an E-2 visa, you may
Work legally in the company that is the investment vehicle in the U.S.
Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
Stay on a prolonged basis with unlimited two-year extensions as long as you maintain E-2 qualifications
Be accompanied by your dependents under 21, relatives and spouse. Your spouse may also work while in the U.S. while your dependents may attend U.S. schools, colleges, and universities, and do not have to apply for a separate student visa.
The requirements of an E-2 visa are
The Investment Must Be Substantial
It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise. While some investments of less than $100,000 are approved, it’s safe to say that the investment capital and reserves should total no less than $100,000.
Some evidence you can use to prove that the investment is substantial is corresponding personal and/or business bank statements, an itemized list of goods and materials purchased for the start-up, and corresponding financial accounting documentation. It’s also wise to put together a business plan that illustrates your projected success.
The Investor Must Place the Funds at Risk
“At risk” means that the investor is to be irrevocably committed. If you’re able to walk away from the investment without losing anything, you likely do not qualify. The applicant must have already spent the money towards the startup, purchase of a U.S. business, or enterprise. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed. The investment must be at risk of being lost due to the business or enterprise being unsuccessful.
To be safe, you may put the investment amount in an escrow account and have it transferred if your E-2 visa application is granted.
If you are purchasing an existing business, you should know all there is to know about the business and its counterparts. Learn all the components of the business and come to an educated conclusion of how well they are doing presently and how successful the business is projected to be. An escrow account is even more important for those buying an existing business. In this case, you and the seller of the business will agree on the terms and conditions of the business purchase and how to later transfer the money after reaching a conclusion.
The Investment Must Be a Real Operating Enterprise
A real operating enterprise means that the enterprise must be offering a tangible good or service. Examples of these enterprises are restaurants, retail stores, medical offices, etc. Speculative or idle investment such as real estate investments, undeveloped land, or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to direct the enterprise does not qualify. Similarly, uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
The Investment May Not Be Marginal
A marginal enterprise will not project enough return on investment to make a significant economic contribution. The enterprise must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
The Investor Must Be Coming to the U.S. to Develop and Direct the Enterprise.
If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify. The government will not grant you an E-2 visa if they don’t believe you play an important role in the enterprise.
You must show that you will develop and direct the investment enterprise by demonstrating ownership of at least 50 percent of the enterprise, or by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.
E-2 Visa Processing Time
The processing time for an E-2 visa varies widely depending on the embassy from which you are applying. In some embassies, the process may take just a few weeks, while in others you may have to wait a number of months. If you are applying from within the United States, you may use the premium processing service to have your visa application processed within 15 calendar days. Another factor that could help expedite the process is if you are buying an existing business that is already registered as an E-2 treaty enterprise.