The United States offers boundless opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors of all backgrounds. While there are a wide away of visas to choose from, one of the most versatile options is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, made available only to citizens of select countries. If you meet the criteria, will enjoy privileged access to the world’s largest and most dynamic economy—especially if you enlist the help of an expert Immigration Lawyer from Jurado & Associates, P.A.
A Brief Overview of the E-2 Visa
The E2 Visa is aimed specifically at commercial investors who wish to live in the U.S. for the purpose of directing or managing their business investment. The business can be new or existing, and there is no restriction on the type of commercial activity nor required dollar amount. This is in sharp contrast to the EB5 Visa, which has specific requirements for both the size of the investment and where it is going.
Nevertheless, like any U.S. visa, the E2 Visa requires strict compliance with certain regulations in order to be approved. That is why it is critical to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in this specific category.
Unpacking the E-2 Visa Requirements
Known formally as the E2 Treaty Investor Visa, this classification is available to citizens of countries with an existing treaty of commerce or navigation with the United States. Fewer than half the world’s countries have the requisite treaty, ranging from major economic partners like Canada and Mexico, to smaller countries such as Albania and Togo. A list of the qualifying “Treaty Countries” can be found here:
Thus, first and foremost you must provide proof of citizenship, which is easily accomplished by providing your passport or national identification documents. As an E2 Treaty Investor, you will enjoy a significant edge over most of the world’s commercial investors—provided your commercial enterprise and activities meet the following requirements.
- Majority ownership by the Treaty Investor. The E2 Visa’s nationality requirements also apply to the Treaty Investor’s business, meaning you must have at 51 percent ownership of the enterprise you seek to invest in or control. You may co-own the enterprise with citizens of your Treaty Country so long as your collective shares constitute the majority. Bear in mind that this requirement is not met even if the business is majority-owned with another E2 treaty country.
- The enterprise is “bona fide.” This means the investment must go to an actual, operating enterprise engaged in commercial activities—e.g., selling or providing a good or service. The key factor to bear in mind that the business must generate revenue currently or in the future. This rules out nonprofit entities or sources of passive income such as rental property. Jurado & Associates has a team of business attorneys with knowledge and experience in helping client choose the right business structure for their interests.
- The enterprise is not “marginal.” The E2 Visa is designed to encourage job creation and economic growth in the U.S. Therefore, the business must achieve enough growth to support yourself, accompanying family members, and ultimately U.S. workers. Whether the enterprise is currently operational or yet to be established, you must present evidence that job growth will be achieved within five years of obtaining E2 status. This requirement is best met through a detailed and carefully drafted business plan, which are firm can help you develop.
- You are investing a “substantial” amount of capital. Among the key attractions of the E2 Visa is its lack of a strict dollar amount for the investment. Instead, the Treaty Investor must only show that the investment capital is sufficient to establish, operate, and/or expand the enterprise. A good rule of thumb is to invest between $100,000 and $150,000, since this is generally considered enough for most type of business. However, even an amount as little $50,000 can meet this requirement if you can provide evidence that it meets the needs and goals of the business. Regardless of how much you plan to invest, we can advise you on the best way forward and how to prove this standard.
- The investment funds must be your own. You must show that all investment capital—which can range from cash to assets—is under your “control.” For example, if the investment funds are from a bank account, you must provide documentation that the account is in your name or in the name of an entity you own and control. This includes proving the funds were not obtained directly or indirectly from illegal activity.
- You must bear the risk of your investment. In other words, while you do not have to prove that the E2 enterprise will be a definitive success, you must demonstrate that there is a risk of total or partial loss of your funds. This means you cannot rely on loans, gifts, or other third-party sources of capital. Note that loans and gifts are allowed if they are first placed in your account.
- You must show “nonimmigrant” intent. The E2 Visa is meant to be used temporarily—namely for as long as needed to manage or direct your enterprise. While the duration of stay can be extended every two years indefinitely, you must always maintain that it is for the purpose of managing your enterprise and that you will ultimately leave the U.S.
Bringing Family Members
The E2 Visa permits the Treaty Investor to bring their spouse or unmarried children 21 years or younger, though they must each apply separately as E2 derivatives. Note that your spouse can only work if authorized by a separate application, while your children can only attend school.
Putting You on the Path to Citizenship
Despite being a nonimmigrant visa, the E-2 Visa provides a foothold through which you can apply for legal permanent residence (also known as a Green Card). While you are in E2 status, you may file an application for yourself and your spouse and children to “adjust status” to an “immigrant” visa.
However, this is an entirely different and more complex process, requiring its own set of forms, paperwork, and process. Your E2 Visa team can also assist you in determining your eligibility for a Green Card and helping you through the next steps.
How a Jurado & Associates Immigration Lawyer Can Help
Qualifying for an E-2 Visa is often arduous process with its own exacting requirements. Rather than risk delaying or jeopardizing your investment, improve your chances by hiring an Immigration Lawyer from Jurado & Associates. Our team has a proven track record in helping hundreds of clients from around across the world fulfill their investment goals with the E2 Visa. We will work closely with you to understand your needs and circumstances and develop an individualized strategy that is likelier to succeed. To learn more or schedule a consultation, call (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected].