E-2 Visa Application Information for Foreign Investors
Engaging in foreign investment can be a tough choice, and making sure you do so by-the-book is even more complicated. If you want to begin a profit-generating business venture such as a restaurant, office, or retail store in the United States, you should consider applying for the E-2 investor visa. The sections below describe what an E-2 work visa is, how you can qualify for this type of visa, and what you need to consider before you begin the visa process until after you’ve acquired the visa.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Information
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants E-2 visas to treaty investors who place their funds or assets for the establishment of a commercial business, or the acquisition of existing companies whose profits benefit the U.S. economy.
E-2 treaty visas allow reentry of a foreign trader in the U.S. and even grants these visa holders the capacity to have their children travel to the U.S. without the need to apply for student visas.
Guidelines for E-2 Visa Applicants
Before going through the list below, bear in mind that there are numerous types of visas you may consider, such as an EB-5 (employment-based) should you feel that you are ineligible for an E2 business visa. However, the E-2 is just a temporary visa issued by US immigration and is not intended for those seeking to gain permanent residency or getting a green card. Consult with an immigration attorney for more information on work visas and immigration laws.
- Check E-2 treaty trader qualifications. If you are a first-time visa applicant, qualifying for this involves showing evidence that you are investing in a bona fide enterprise, and proving you are a citizen with a valid passport issued by a country that has a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the U.S. These can be done by supplementing your USCIS forms with financial documents such as the Notice that the Internal Revenue Service has assigned an employer identification number, your business license or tax return. As the list of supporting documents can get long, it is best to hire a visa attorney if you want to maximize your chances of getting your petition approved.
- Meet E-2 investment requirements. There is no fixed amount that will guarantee your way into an approved visa. This is because visa applicants are required to show proof of a “substantial investment” which is gauged by one’s financial capability to sustain business operations and continually offer tangible services or goods. This can be proven with an accounting of the materials you have bought for your company. As an investor, you must wilfully place your investment “at-risk”, which means that the business has already been purchased with funds instead of secured loans and that there is a possibility for your capital to be lost if the enterprise fails to succeed.
- Choose your investment wisely. Traders must know the business components, operations, and projected return on investment. Investors should check that the venture they are starting is lawful and of national interest. When acquiring an existing business property, you may opt for an escrow account and have the money transferred only after a mutual agreement has been reached between you and the previous owner.
- Prove your ability to lead the enterprise. In most cases, visa applicants are the principal investors for the business. However, if you do not have major ownership of the enterprise, you may still be granted an E-2 visa if you hold an executive or managerial function that gives you control of corporate operations. If a foreign national has a job offer from your company, they may also go through the nonimmigrant visa application process, provided that their nationality falls under a country with a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. and their role is a necessary part of the business operation.
- Avoid jeopardizing the validity of your visa. If you are already an E-2 visa worker, make sure to submit an application for an adjustment of status or extended stay before visa expiration. E-2 investment visas are initially valid for only two years but can be granted with unlimited extensions. To avoid getting a denied extension, carefully abide by the restrictions on work visas set by the USCIS office between you and your visa sponsor.
Choosing the Right Visa Type
Choosing which type of visa is right for you, starting the visa filing process, or preparing the paperwork can be complicated. This is why other foreign investors have chosen to partner with an E-2 visa attorney. Visa attorneys from AmLaw Group have dedicated their careers in handling complicated immigration and visa issues for applicants like you. Our visa experts may help you find ways to expedite your nonimmigrant visa application to begin your business venture in line with your personal vision.
For trusted legal advice, talk to one of our E-2 visa lawyers today by calling our law office at (305) 509-6400.