The E-2 visa is a preferred choice among foreign individuals seeking legal residency and business opportunities in the United States, especially for real estate investors. This article delves into essential information that real estate investors must understand about the E-2 visa, specifically focusing on the types of businesses that qualify within this category.
What Is an E-2 Visa? – Understanding the Basics:
The E-2 visa is a highly regarded immigration option that permits foreign nationals to invest a substantial amount of capital in either starting or acquiring a business within the United States. However, it’s important to note that this visa is exclusively available to citizens of countries designated as “Treaty Countries,” which maintain commerce and navigation treaties with the United States.
An E-2 visa not only allows foreign real estate investors to legally enter the United States but also extends the privilege to their spouses and children. Additionally, spouses in E-2 status may apply for work authorization once their family is established in the U.S.
Typically, an E-2 visa is initially granted for five years, with the possibility of indefinite renewals, provided that the E-2 company remains operational, hires U.S. employees, and the applicant continues to work for the company.
Applying for an E-2 Visa as a Real Estate Investor – Eligible Business Categories:
Before pursuing an E-2 visa, foreign real estate investors must decide the type of business they intend to establish in the United States. While immigration law doesn’t dictate specific industries for E-2 visas, certain prerequisites must be met for any foreign-owned company to qualify:
Real and Active Commercial Ventures: The enterprise must engage in genuine and active commercial or entrepreneurial activities, producing either services or commodities.
Excluded Real Estate Ventures: Some real estate-related businesses, such as real estate holding companies, which are primarily speculative investments, do not qualify for E-2 visas. Additionally, simply purchasing property and titling it under a U.S. limited liability company (LLC) does not automatically qualify someone as an E-2 visa real estate investor.
Eligible Real Estate Business Categories for E-2 Visa:
- Real Estate Brokerage Firms: Establishing brokerage firms, particularly in locations like Florida, is a popular choice for E-2 visa applicants. These firms focus on property listing and tenant acquisition, meeting the criteria as “real and active commercial” endeavors. It is essential to plan to hire U.S. employees and provide a personnel plan demonstrating the intention to employ more U.S. workers over time.
- Real Estate Construction/Renovation Company: Construction and renovation companies are highly favored among E-2 visa applicants. These businesses undertake projects to upgrade or renovate residential properties, aligning with the “real and active commercial/entrepreneurial endeavor providing services” category, thus qualifying for E-2 status.
- Real Estate Management Company: Opening management companies is another choice for real estate investors pursuing E-2 visas. However, it’s essential to note that applying for an E-2 visa with only one’s own property under management, such as a personal condo or house, is unlikely to be approved. For larger enterprises, which manage multiple properties or buildings with substantial units, there’s a higher chance of approval, especially when hiring U.S. workers.
- House Flipping Business: House flipping involves buying properties with the intent to sell them for profit rather than personal use. Although this business category is popular among E-2 visa applicants, foreign investors must own several properties to demonstrate that the business is active enough to employ U.S. workers. Typically viewed as a form of passive investment, it may qualify for an E-2 visa when multiple properties necessitate full-time personnel for operations.
We Facilitate E-2 Visa Qualifications for Foreign Real Estate Investors in Florida:
At Jurado & Associates, P.A., our seasoned immigration lawyers not only assist in securing E-2 visa approvals but also provide comprehensive guidance throughout the application process. Don’t leave your E-2 visa application to chance; contact us today at (305) 921-0976 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.