E2 Investor Visa

The E2 Investor Visa is for investors & businessmen who are looking for a speedier entry into the US. With the E2 visa processing times being between 1 – 4 months, this visa has emerged as a viable alternative to the EB-5 visa program for many investors. It is ideal for people who wish to relocate to the US in a short period of time, want to do business in the US and do not want to be taxed on their worldwide income by the US government.

The E-2 “Treaty Investor” Visa is a non-immigrant temporary visa. The visa is for investors who:

  • are nationals of a “Treaty Country”
  • wish to start a new business or acquire an existing business, and continue to maintain that business on an ongoing basis.
  • can invest a “substantial amount” (refer below for what constitutes “substantial amount”) of capital in their U.S. business, which they must directly control and operate in the U.S.
  • will live in the U.S. for the sole purpose of managing the business successfully
  • have a realistic expectation of earning a profit within 5 years

Some key factors relating to the E-2 Investor Visa are :

  • An E-2 investor, whether an individual or business, must possess the nationality of an E-2 treaty country. The nationality of an individual is determined by the authorities of the country of which the investor claims nationality. The nationality of a business is determined by the nationality of the individual owners of the business. Applicants for an E-2 visa, who are not nationals of any E-2 visa country, can explore acquiring citizenship of Grenada or Turkey as a viable & effective route to an E-2 visa.
  • If the E-2 investor is in an organization, he/she must own at least 50% of the business in question. If the investor is an individual, whose sole purpose of applying for an E-2 visa is to develop and direct the business, then (s)he must show that they have operational control of the business. Normally, such control can be shown by at least a 50% ownership of the business. However, it can also be shown by having operational control (through a managerial position or some other means). NOTE : Merely occupying a managerial position is not sufficient to meet this requirement if the investor does not have operational control of the enterprise.
  • An E-2 investor must have invested or be in the process of investing, at the time of application.
  • An E-2 investor has to demonstrate that the funds invested have been acquired by legitimate means and that he/she has possession and control over such funds. Funds acquired legitimately within the U.S. also satisfy the requirement.
  • The business in which an investor invests must be real and active, producing some service or commodity, and must be a for-profit organization.
  • The E2 visa investment amount must be “Substantial”: This requirement is met by satisfying the “Proportionality Test” which is a comparison between the funds invested and cost of the business. The proportionality test is best understood when applied in the fashion of an inverted sliding scale, starting with a high percentage of investment for a low cost business. The percentage of investment decreases as the cost of the business increases.
  • The business in which an E-2 investor invests must not be “Marginal”. A marginal business is one which does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and his/her family. Such future capacity must be achieved by the business within 5 years from the date of commencement of business activity.
  • An E-2 investor has to prove that they are in a position to develop and direct the business.
  • A business may qualify to bring an employee into the U.S., subject to several criteria being met.
  • An E-2 investor can bring spouse and children under 21 with him/her to the U.S. The spouse and children need not to be of the same nationality as the E-2 investor. They will receive the same visa validity and number of entries as that of the E-2 investor.
  • For an employee of an E-2 investor to qualify for an E-2 visa, the employee must.
    • Be of the same nationality of the E-2 investor.
    • Meet the definition of “employee” under law.
    • Either be engaged in executive or supervisory duties in the business, or if employed in a lesser capacity have special qualifications.

The E-2 investor visa application process requires complex calculations, market research & advance planning. To get a successful outcome for an E-2 visa application, one needs to have an absolute understanding of not only the law, but also of some practical issues such as “substantial funds” & “control of business”, which could be specific to each case. Our globally recognized E-2 visa immigration lawyer will guide you through the process, ensure that you are successful in your application and also in the process of settling down in your business & personal life in the U.S.

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