The E-2 visa is increasingly becoming the visa of choice for foreigners seeking to legally reside and work in the United States, especially for real estate investors. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of the E-2 visa and explore which business categories are eligible for this sought-after immigration option.
What Is an E-2 Visa? – Understanding the Basics
The E-2 visa is a favored avenue for immigration, enabling foreign nationals to invest a substantial amount of capital in the US by either purchasing an existing business or establishing a new one. This visa category is exclusively available to citizens of countries that have established commerce and navigation treaties with the United States.
This visa not only allows foreign real estate investors to legally enter the United States but also extend the privilege to their spouse and children. Additionally, the spouse in E-2 status may apply for work authorization once the family is settled in the US. Typically, E-2 visas are initially issued for a five-year period, with the possibility of indefinite renewals, provided the E-2 company remains operational, hires US employees, and the applicant continues to work for the company.
Applying for an E-2 Visa as a Real Estate Investor – Valid Business Categories
Before applying for an E-2 visa, foreign real estate investors must carefully consider the type of business they intend to establish in the United States. Immigration law is flexible in this regard, as it does not prescribe specific industries for E-2 visa eligibility. However, there are certain requirements that must be met to qualify for an E-2 visa.
First and foremost, applicants must ensure that their business ventures are genuine and actively engaged in providing a service or commodity. Some real estate-related businesses, such as real estate holding companies, are considered speculative investments and do not qualify for E-2 visas. Additionally, merely purchasing property and registering it under a US limited liability company (LLC) does not automatically grant E-2 visa eligibility as a real estate investor.
E-2 Visa Eligibility for Real Estate Companies
Real Estate Brokerage Firms
A popular choice among foreign entrepreneurs, particularly in states like Florida, is establishing brokerage firms as E-2 enterprises. These firms offer services such as property listing and tenant acquisition, making them eligible for E-2 status as “real and active commercial” enterprises. It is advisable for applicants to hire US employees before applying and prepare a staffing plan demonstrating the intent to employ more US workers over time.
Real Estate Construction/Renovation Companies
Construction and renovation companies are favored categories among E-2 visa applicants. These businesses are contracted by homeowners to improve their properties, either through renovations or upgrades. Such enterprises are considered “real and active commercial/entrepreneurial endeavors providing services” and therefore qualify for E-2 status.
Real Estate Management Companies
Many real estate investors opt to establish management companies as E-2 enterprises. 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. In contrast, applicants with multiple properties or large-scale holdings have a better chance of approval, as larger enterprises naturally require more US employees.
House Flipping Businesses
House flipping, a popular investment strategy among real estate investors, involves purchasing properties with the intent to sell them for profit, rather than personal use. While this category is sought after by E-2 visa applicants, foreign investors aiming to establish a house flipping business in the United States must own several properties to demonstrate sufficient business activity to justify hiring US employees. This type of business is often viewed as passive investment, but with a significant number of properties that necessitate full-time personnel, E-2 visa eligibility may be attainable.
Assisting Foreign Real Estate Investors in Qualifying for E-2 Visas in Florida
At Jurado & Associates, P.A., our expert immigration lawyers are dedicated to not only securing your E-2 visa but also providing comprehensive guidance throughout the application process. Say goodbye to uncertainty and take the first step toward your E-2 visa today. Contact us at (305) 921-0976 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.