If you are a foreign investor with plans to invest in a U.S. business, the E-2 visa category may be an ideal nonimmigrant visa option for you. With the E-2 visa, entrepreneurs, investors, business owners and their employees can move to the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of a business. Berardi Immigration Law prepares E-2 visa applications for foreign investors from around the world.
There are several eligibility requirements for the E-2 visa, many of which require significant documentation:
1. The applicant and/or business must possess the nationality of a treaty country
A qualifying treaty of commerce and navigation between the U.S. and another country must exist in order for the E visa classification to be accorded to nationals of that country. Please click here to view the list of treaty countries.
2. The applicant has invested or is in the process of investing
The core factors relevant to the analysis of this requirement include: Whether the alien can demonstrate possession and control of the invested funds, whether the investment is “at-risk” (meaning personal assets are at stake), and whether, if the applicant is “in the process of investing” for E-2 purposes, funds are irrevocably committed to the investment.
3. The enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise
Applicants must submit documentation showing that the business is actually operating (invoices, payroll, bank statements, tax returns, etc.).
4. The applicant’s investment is substantial
An applicant’s investment must be substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise under consideration. The investment must be sufficient in that it ensures the investor’s financial commitment to the enterprise’s successful operation and supports the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. No set dollar figure constitutes a minimum amount of investment to be considered “substantial” for E-2 visa purposes.
5. The investment is more than marginal
The applicant must submit documentation showing that the income derived from the investment exceeds what is necessary to support oneself and one’s family. In the alternative, an applicant can show that the investment has the capacity to make a significant economic contribution to the community.
6. The applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise
This can be fulfilled by showing that the investor has some relevant education or experience in the proposed business activity or a track record of entrepreneurial success. If an employee, the applicant can show he or she is employed in a supervisory, executive or highly specialized skill capacity.
The E-2 visa may be issued for up to five years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the investment continues to meet the requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations. Spouses and unmarried children (who are under the age of 21) of treaty investors or qualifying employees may receive E visas to accompany their spouse/parent. Spouses can also apply for work authorization once they are physically present in the U.S.
The E-2 visa application process can be arduous and extremely time consuming, as each U.S. Embassy or Consulate requires different application methods and evidentiary showings. In addition, the organization and analysis of the source of invested funds requires extreme attention to detail.
Because of these complexities, it is highly recommended to engage the help of legal professionals when applying for this visa. If you believe you may qualify for the E-2 visa, Berardi Immigration Law welcomes you to call us today.