The E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors is a non-immigrant visa intended for investors who wish to enter the United States for managing and developing a substantially invested business which they have made in.
E-2 Visa Criteria
The possibility to apply for an E-2 Visa comes from Treaties of Commerce and Navigation, which are bilateral treaties entered into by the United States and certain foreign countries. To date, more than 80 countries maintain Treaties of Commerce and Navigation with the United States. To elaborate, countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, and Colombia, all operate under the Treaties of Commerce and Navigation with the United States. To qualify for the E-2 Visa, Treaty Investors must possess the nationality of a treaty country. When it comes to the nationality of a business, it is determined by the nationality of the individual owners of that business.
Investors hoping to obtain an E-2 Visa must invest a substantial amount of capital in a new or existing business in the United States. A “substantial” amount is defined as one that covers the start-up costs of the U.S. business.
An E-2 investment can take many forms, including:
- Purchase of products and/or services,
- Purchase/lease of physical premises,
- Payment of legal fees,
- Marketing budget, etc.
Active Commercial Enterprise
E-2 Treaty Investors must establish a real, active business that makes a significant economic contribution to the United States. This means that the operations of an E-2 business must generate an income that exceeds what is necessary to support the main E-2 Investor and his or her family. Additionally, the E-2 business must be able to create jobs for American workers.
When applying for an E-2 Visa, it is crucial to have a detailed business plan with 5-year projections to demonstrate to the U.S. immigration services that the E-2 business has a good chance of succeeding in the economy of the United States.
E-2 Visa Application
The E-2 Visa is available to foreigners from qualifying Treaty Countries who have invested, or are in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in an American business and who will come to the United States to direct and develop that business.
When applying for an E-2 Visa, having a detailed business plan with 5-year projections, is crucial to demonstrate to the U.S. immigration services and that the E-2 business has a good chance of succeeding in the economy of the United States.
Duration of the E-2 Status
The applicable Treaties of Commerce and Navigation determine the duration of the E-2 status. Majority of treaties provide for a maximum visa duration of 5 years, which can be renewed indefinitely – that is the case for the treaty with France, Canada, Belgium, and Spain. The Treaty with Switzerland, for example, provides for a maximum duration of 4 years, which can also be extended indefinitely.
Some unusual E-2 situations may occur. For example, the treaty with Mexico provides for a maximum initial duration of 12 months that can be extended indefinitely, and the treaty with Ukraine provides for an initial duration of 3 months but it can only be renewed twice.
Generally, if the E-2 business remains active, encourages economic growth, and is not marginal, then renewals of the E-2 Visa will be granted to the treaty investor.
Spouses and unmarried children, under the age of 21, of E-2 Visa applicants may be included in the main application as dependents. Also, the spouse of an E-2 Visa holder will be allowed to work in the United States and children will be allowed to go to school until the age of 21. However, the E-2 status does not allow children of the main visa holder to work in the United States. Additionally, after the age of 21, children of E-2 visa holders will have to apply for separate visas.
The Help of an E-2 Visa Attorney
Applying for an E-2 Visa is a complex process; the help of an experienced immigration attorney is crucial to avoid costly delays, or worse, denials.
Additional resources provided by the author
At Jurado & Farshchian, P.L., our immigration lawyers provide business-focused immigration solutions for individuals and businesses all over the world.
To schedule an initial consultation with one of our Florida E-2 Visa Attorneys, call us at (305) 921-0440 or send us an email to [email protected].
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