As Lawyers specializing in Investment visas we often get questions from clients about the amount of investment needed for an E2 visa and what money can be used to invest. The source of the funds is a key determination for any successful E2 case.
The E2 visa is a special non-immigrant visa available to nationals of treaty countries entering the US to do the following:
a.) Develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital; b.) Invest substantially in an already-established US enterprise; c.) Develop and direct investments from the treaty country.
The USCIS requires that investors prove (1) that the source of the invested capital is “lawful," and (2) that the investor has a “level of income" or has accumulated sufficient wealth that would enable the investor to invest.
An investor’s “self-serving" declarations are not enough to satisfy USCIS requirements for proof of either lawful source of funds or sufficient funds to invest. All claims to the source of funds must be properly and thoroughly supported with documentary of evidence of how the money was earned.
An investor should submit all of the following types of documentary evidence (copies are sufficient) for both the investor and the investor’s spouse, unless a particular category of documents is not relevant to the investor:
• Complete tax returns (both individual and, if applicable, corporate or partnership tax returns) filed in any jurisdiction for each of the last five years. If earlier years tax returns show higher income, also submit tax returns reflecting the three years of highest income levels;
• Financial Statements – submit any financial statements that have been prepared for the investor personally or for the investor’s business. If available, audited financial statements are preferred.
• Copies of all investment or securities accounts for the last three years (if significant gains on investments or securities transactions occurred before the last three years, include documentation of such transactions);
• Stock certificates; • Bank Statements – Include one bank statement for each of the last three years for any bank accounts in which you maintained a substantial balance. Business Documents
• Business registration records for all businesses in the U.S. or outside the U.S.; • Business promotional materials, including website addresses; • Documentation proving your ownership, directorship or officership in each company, including stock records, corporate minutes or other official documents; • Documentation relating to sale of any business (documents should indicate the amount of proceeds you received from the sale); • Accountant’s evaluation or appraisal of business for all businesses in which you own a controlling or substantial interest.
• Deeds and mortgage documents for all properties in which you own an interest; • Documentation of all real estate purchases and sales; • Appraisals for all real estate that you own; • Lease documents for all real estate from which you earn lease income;
Other Sources of Income
• Inheritance – all documents relating to inheritances you have received, including estate settlement of deceased; • Divorce – all documents relating to income received from divorce, including alimony, property settlements, etc.; • Lawsuits – all documents relating to dollars recovered in a civil lawsuit, including official judgment or decree of the court; • Gifts – all documents relating to gifts, including registration of gift with tax authorities or other documents;
At first glance, the law relating to treaty investors appears to be well settled. In reality, numerous legal questions remain unanswered, like the source of funds issue. The uncertainty results from the discretionary nature of such adjudications. The best practice is to be prepared and work with an experienced Immigration Lawyer on your case.