When considering the option of an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, there are several key components:
- Nationality and Ownership: To begin with, the principal E-2 investor must be citizen of a country in which the United States holds an E-2 treaty as well as maintain 50% or more ownership of the business. U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Country List: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/ en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html
- Business Formation: Investors have three possibilities to consider when establishing a business for the purpose of obtaining an E-2 visa. The options are (1) creating a brand-new company, (2) purchasing a franchise, or (3) purchasing and acquiring an existing company and its assets. As part of the E-2 process, forming a U.S. entity to operate the chosen business model is pivotal to obtaining an E-2 visa, and Burgos Law can provide the necessary legal assistance to legally form your business in the United States.
- Substantial investment: At the center of the E-2 process is the concept of making a substantial investment in the business. An investment amount that is substantial in nature is an investment that is proportional to the total overall cost of establishing the business. This proportional approach ensures the investor’s financial commitment and dedication to directing and developing the business endeavor. While there is no fixed minimum investment amount, the amount of investment should align with the specific type of E-2 company being established by the E-2 investor.
- Source of Investment Funds: an E-2 investor must have control over the investment funds prior to the funds being invested into the business. The source of the funds must be legitimate and proving the source of the funds and the manner the funds were invested into the business must be thoroughly documented as part of preparing the E-2 application. The investment funds can be originated from capital assets, savings, gifts, inheritance, contest winnings, loans collateralized by the principal investors own personal assets, or any other legitimate sources
- Investment at Risk: Before your E-2 attorney can submit an E-2 application, the investments into the business must be already invested or in the process of being invested resulting in the
investment being put at risk. This includes investment funds spent on business formation, professional services, software, business licenses, contracts, five-year business plan, equipment, business location, marketing services and materials, website, and any other investments required to establish that the business is real and operational.
• Marginality: The business that you plan to direct and operate cannot be considered marginal. Your business is considered marginal if it merely operates for the benefit of the investor and the investor’s immediate family. The E-2 investor must present a five-year business plan showing how the business will operate, hire, and engage employees, earn a profit, grow, and contribute to the economy.
Applying for E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The benefits and renewability of an E-2 Visa further enhance its appeal for E-2 treaty investors and their families. The process to apply for an E-2 visa depends on whether you apply at the consulate or apply while you’re in the United States.
If you’re already in the United States, you and your family can apply for a change of status and receive E-2 status for up to two years at a time but obtaining a change of status from your current status in the United States to E-2 comes with international travel limitations. Thus, most E-2 visas are processed at the consulate to obtain a multiple entry E-2 visa which provides the benefit of traveling freely. How long an E-2 visa is issued for at the consulate depends on the E-2 treaty between the United States and your country of nationality. While most countries allow E-2 visas to be issued for five years at a time, some countries issue E-2 visas for only three months at a time. Renewal opportunities are limitless, allowing investors and their families to continue their entrepreneurial journey.
E-2 Dependents and Advantages for Your Family
The E-2 Visa extends its advantages to the immediate family of the principal E-2 treaty investor. The spouse of an E-2 treaty investor is eligible to work for any employer or obtain an education which provides a broad scope of professional possibilities. Of course, a spouse can always play an integral part in directing and developing the E-2 business as a partial owner and/or team member, even if the spouse is not the principal E-2 Investor.
Additionally, unmarried children up to 21 years of age are eligible for E-2 dependent classification which fosters a sense of stability and unity for families while pursuing their U.S. business endeavors. E-2 dependent children are eligible to obtain an education but are not eligible to work while in E-2 status.
Schedule a Strategy Session Today
Whether establishing a new venture, investing in a franchise, or acquiring an existing company, the E-2 visa path presents an opportunity for immigrants and their families to create their American dreams. Although it is not possible to obtain legal permanent residence directly through an E-2 visa, an E-2 Treaty Visa can be a steppingstone and a vehicle to maintain lawful status during the process of obtaining Legal Permanent Residence in the United States.
It is important to discuss your best options and strategize with an experienced E-2 Visa attorney on the E-2 visa process and lawful permanent resident options for the future. If you’re ready to embark on your business journey, our firm is here to guide you every step of the way to avoid pitfalls which save you time and money. Schedule a strategy session today.
Alternative Option: How Do I Become an E-2 Employee of an E-2 Investor?
You do not have to be an E-2 Investor to obtain the benefits of an E-2 Visa. The E-2 employee visa category benefits skilled individuals who can contribute their expertise to the success of an E-2 company. E-2 Employees play a vital role in the operations and growth of the U.S.-based E-2 businesses. E-2 Employee’s specialized skills and knowledge not only enhance the company’s productivity but also add a layer of diversity and innovation to the U.S. market.
The requirements to obtain E-2 visa status as an employee differ from the requirements of an E-2 Investor.
- You must have the same nationality of the E-2 treaty company and the company must be 50% owned by a foreign national that shares the same nationality as the E-2 treaty company.
- You must prove that there is an employer/employee relationship by establishing that the E-2 Employee meets the legal definition of employee.
- The E-2 employee position can be supervisor, manager, or executive level; or you can demonstrate that, as an E-2 employee, you are an “essential employee” of the business.
Attorney Alice Burgos is ready to guide you through the complexities of your case and provide you with the expert counsel you need. Take the first step by contacting us today to schedule your strategy session. With Attorney Burgos by your side, you can trust that your legal journey will be in the hands of a dedicated and experienced professional who is committed to securing the best possible outcome for you. Schedule your strategy session now!