Although the economy in the United States is not what it has been in the past, it is still very vibrant and full of investment opportunities and economic growth. We represent those seeking to make investments or manage their investments in the United States. We have represented small retail store owners, investment property mangers, those with very limited capital and those with millions of dollars to invest. As we have work with E2 Investors, several common questions arise while determining the viability of a potential investor’s business and the likelihood of qualifying for the E2 Investor Visa. This note attempts to address some of the most common questions that arise during this process.
- Who is the E-2 Investor Visa for? The E2 investor visa was created especially for business owners, managers, and employees who need to remain in the U.S. for extended periods of time in order to fill a key role with the company, either as an investor who will develop and direct the investment, or as a qualified employee necessary for the development of the investment.
- How Long is the E-2 Investor Visa good for? The initial stay for E2 investors is usually granted for two years, but this time period can be extended almost indefinitely as long as the investment continues and the foreign national affirms that they will leave the United States when their period of authorized stay comes to an end.
- What about my family? The family of an E visa holder can enter the United States with the visa holder. This includes the spouse and all minor unmarried children under the age of 21.
- Can my Spouse work? The spouse of an E visa holder can work after they obtain work authorization. The children of an E-2 visa holder cannot obtain work authorization.
- Who is qualified for the E-2 Investor Visa? E-2 Investor status depends first on three things: (1) There must be a treaty between the United States and the country of which the treaty enterprise is a “national”; (2) Nationals of the treaty country must have at least 50% ownership of the enterprise; (3) The principal investors seeking admission must have citizenship in the treaty country.
- Are there any other requirements for the E-2 Investor Visa? Once it has been determined that the investor meets the first three requirements there is a second level of analysis to consider: (1) The investment must be actual and active, or, the investor must make an irrevocable commitment of funds; (2) The investment must be “substantial.” The government has not given a test to determine what is “substantial”. However, the government has approved investments under $50,000 USD. The general amount should be what is considered enough to establish a viable business of the type sought; (3) The investment cannot provide solely for the investor, it should create or be able to create jobs for U.S. workers. (4) The person seeking E-2 status must play an essential role with the company, either as an investor who will develop and direct the investment, or as a highly qualified employee necessary for the development of the investment.
- How much money do I need to invest? This probably the most common question that we receive. Unfortunately, there is no set minimum amount of investment to qualify for an E2 visa. Government agencies have improved investments under $50,000 USD for a service/consulting business. The general amount should be what is considered enough to establish a viable business of the type sought.
- What type of business qualifies? The Government has approved E2 visas for all types of businesses and investments. The type of business isn’t as important as the ability of the investor to create a viable long term enterprise. As long as the investor has a well prepared business plan that shows the likely of the business to succeed and create U.S. jobs and the investor meets all other requirements, the investor has a good chance of approval.
- Are there any special considerations that I need to be aware of? Each consulate handles E2 investor visa processing their own way. Before you submit your application for an E2 investor visa you should contact your consulate so that you are aware of their exact requirements, processing times and any special items they may require. For example, we deal most often with the consulate in Toronto Canada. As part of the supporting evidence for the E2 investor visa, they prefer that the application have a professionally prepared business plan.
- How long does it take? Processing times vary throughout the year and from consulate to consulate. The general processing time is around 6 weeks. In addition to consular processing times you also need to account for the preparation and assembly of the evidence. This can be done in as quickly as a few days or as long as several weeks, depending on what evidence has already been collected. We process cases as quickly as we receive the supporting documents.
- Can you guarantee success in my case? Like all areas of the law, there is no guarantee of success. However, there are several factors that we look at to determine the likelihood of success for investors that approach us. During a professional consultation we are able to determine the merits of a case and advise accordingly. We limit our representation to cases where we feel there is a great chance of success and we will be candid in evaluating your case.
We hope that the answers to these questions are helpful to those seeking to invest in the U.S. economy as E-2 Investors. If you have questions about your ability to obtain an E2 Investor Visa contact us today.