Experienced Immigration Attorneys Working Hard To Ensure You Can Obtain Your E-2 Visa
If the word “visa” makes your head spin a little, even before you realize how many options there are for visas, let me help you to make more sense of it. I have worked with people like you for years to obtain their E-series visas, allowing them to enter the US and conduct business while here. With a vast knowledge in this area, I can be an invaluable resource for obtaining your E-2 visa (sometimes referred to as the treaty investor visa) in a timely fashion. Contact my office today to answer your specific questions at 407-499-5680. Read below to learn more about the E-2 visa and how it applies to your particular needs.
What is an E-2 Visa?
Obtaining an E-2 visa classification allows an individual, sometimes referred to as a treaty investor, from a “treaty country” to enter the US to invest substantial money or other capital into a US business or investment enterprise. A treaty country is one in which the US maintains a qualifying agreement or treaty of commerce and navigation. Several countries are currently listed as “treaty countries,” but that list updates continuously.
Capital is not limited to cash and can also be things like assets, inventory, other tangible property, and more than can be used as an investment into a US business as long as the treaty investor can prove they are the legal owner of the capital employed for investment.
Certain necessary employees or even family members of the E-2 applicant may also be eligible to enter the US with the original applicant. The E-2 visa does not replace a green card by providing residency in the US. Still, it allows indefinite extensions, allowing the holder to remain in the US to conduct business as long as the company is viable.
Another appealing factor of the E-2 visa is that there isn’t a restriction on the number of times you can travel back and forth on this visa. There isn’t a restriction on the time or days you must stay abroad before re-entering the US should you leave for another country.
What are Some General Requirements for Obtaining an E-2 Visa?
Several requirements are generally necessary for obtaining an E-2 visa. Your experienced immigration attorney can work with you to determine what specifics will apply to your case and help you to gather the necessary documents. The items discussed below are commonly seen in a business immigration plan, and the more information you can provide, the stronger your plan will appear as part of your application.
One of the main requirements is proof that the treaty investor has already or intends to invest substantial capital in an existing business in the US. A “substantial amount” can vary from situation to situation, but generally speaking, at least $900,000 cash or $1,800.000 in the fair market value of assets is an excellent place to start. Some exceptions can allow investment funds much lower to be considered substantial, but this is less common. The investment can not be regarded as marginal. Instead, the plan can prove that the investment can provide sufficient income in the short term. Investors can provide proof that they have already invested in the businesses by providing bank statements, evidence of property transferred to be used in the business, proof of other assets purchased for use in the US business, and more.
Investors can borrow the money they intend to use for capital, but it cannot be via means of using the business assets; it must be through personal loans or other uses of collateral to secure the loan. The individual must also prove that the available capital was not illegally obtained directly or indirectly. They can provide proof of this through evidence of income, promissory notes accepted, documented monetary gifts to the investor, evidence of property ownership or sale of property, and more.
The investor must also prove that their sole purpose for entering the US is to run or develop an enterprise. An enterprise can consist of things like a joint venture, a holding company, a sole proprietorship, a corporation, a business trust, a partnership, and more. However, the enterprise must be formed to make a profit rather than as a non-profit organization.
The enterprise must also have dedicated premises (rather than the E-2 applicant intending to work from home) and must have other employees. There isn’t a specific number stated for a minimum of employees. Still, generally speaking, the business must have three to five additional employees to provide sufficient evidence that the investor isn’t supplying their capital to employ themselves alone.
A thorough business plan can include a specific description of the business, its products and services (when applicable), and its goals or objectives. Names of competing companies in the industry and the business area can also be provided to establish market analysis. The plan should also provide documentation of any permits or licenses required to run the business effectively.
The marketing strategy of the business in question is also relevant. Estimated costs associated with marketing efforts, advertising cost projections, and more are helpful to establish. On the same note, providing a list of the necessary personnel and their income are also beneficial. A reasonable timetable to onboard essential staff, including training costs and job descriptions for all the required employees, should also be included.
Generally speaking, the more comprehensive your business plan is, the more likely your application will be granted promptly.
One more piece that is required is that the applicant provide proof that they will exit the US upon the termination of their visa. They are not required to provide evidence of a residence owned abroad, but rather that they have eventual plans to leave the US when their visa expires.
How Long is an E-2 Visa Valid?
Five years is the standard length of time that the E-2 visas are valid. There are an unlimited number of extensions (as of now) that you can apply for, each with a two-year extension period. You can apply a couple of ways for an extension. One is by filing for an extension if you don’t plan on traveling outside of the US before the expiration of your original visa or by obtaining a new visa each time you re-enter the US.
What About Family Members or Employees of the E-2 Treaty investor?
Spouses and children of the investor may also apply for a nonimmigrant E-2 classification. Children under the age of 21 that are not married are eligible to apply. If approved, this also means that the family members are legally able to work in the US and are typically granted the same period of stay as the investor. Family members are also allowed to pursue education or specialized training while in the US, as long as it doesn’t involve registering for an entire degree at a university, which would take away from their primary need for the visa and interfere with their eligibility.
Employees of the investor can also apply if they meet eligibility requirements. Some requirements are that they come from the same country as the E-2 investor, hold supervisory or executive positions within the company, and are essential to running the business.
Are E-2 Applicants Often Denied?
Obtaining an E-2 visa isn’t necessarily “hard” to do, but there are some common reasons for the denial of an applicant.
The first is that your investment wasn’t substantial enough, or the evidence proving that your investment was significant wasn’t clear. If it is shown that your investment is marginal rather than substantial to the efforts of the business that you are investing in, this can be grounds for denial. It is essential to provide proof that your investment can provide enough means to sustain the startup phase and the following projected growth.
Another common reason for denial will be if it is found that you aren’t qualified for the position you would take on due to your investment or that the job could be a better fit for a US citizen. There needs to be a specific skill set that you possess, proven through your application process. If it can be shown that by you taking this position, you are eliminating gainful employment of other US citizens, it can be grounds for denial.
Other possible reasons for denial may be that there is criminal activity found in your background check or that it is suspected that you have traveled to and worked in the US previously without obtaining the legal means necessary to do so.
If your application is denied, an explanation will typically be provided as to why. If your denial is based on insufficient investment or lack of proof of your skillset, you may consider reapplying with sufficient evidence of your revised information. You can provide proof of more capital, for example, or specialized training that you have undergone to prove your presence is imperative to the business’s success. If your denial is based on your criminal background, you may have few options in obtaining an E-2 visa.
Why Hire an Immigration Attorney?
No two situations are the same or present the same set of obstacles. Working with an experienced immigration attorney not only means that they have your best interest at heart but are also held to a standard of ethics that can ensure your application is thorough and up to those standards. Making a substantial investment into a business can be nerve-wracking enough, even without the logistics of moving to another country and the challenges that can present.
You can also rely on their experience in sifting through the requirements, helping you to create a comprehensive immigration business plan, gathering the necessary documents, cutting time off the process, and, in some cases, saving money. For example, if you choose to navigate this process alone and your application is denied, and you need to re-apply with more thorough evidence, you are paying more than once for the application fees. Hiring an attorney up front can alleviate that and allow you peace of mind knowing that you have put forward the best application possible and your investment is protected.
Contact my office at 407-499-5680 to discuss how I can best assist you in this journey. It can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be, and I can help you with that.