The E-2 Investment Visa or Investor Visa
The E-2 e-2 Investment Visa , or investor visa, is ideal for a family, because it benefits both spouses, even if it is requested by only one of them. How is this? Well, if one of the spouses invests in a business (which may be their own or a franchise) applies for and is approved for the E-2 Investment Visa, the other spouse (who is not the investor) can obtain authorization to work and seek employment anywhere and for any company in the U.S. Another advantage is that the time it takes to process and obtain it in many U.S. consulates and embassies is very fast: sometimes, the process only takes a couple of weeks to be approved.
To be eligible for the E-2 investment visa, investors must demonstrate the following:
- Legal Framework. The first thing that the investor must demonstrate is the pre-existence of a Treaty that binds, in this matter, the United States with its country of citizenship, either this unique and original or either its second nationality (see the list of countries here).
- The applicant has already invested or is in the process of investing, by the time of application. The investor applicant must show that he has already invested money in the business or is very close to doing so. This means that you have already created a company in accordance with U.S. laws, have entered into a lease for the premises, purchased equipment, and so on. It is important to note that the U.S. Government requires the investment to occur BEFORE the visa is applied for, so simple plans to set up a business are not enough.
- The business should be a real, operational business enterprise, not a fringe business. They are known as marginal companies or businesses, those that only generate enough money to support the investor and his family. The U.S. government wants to make sure that businesses intend to grow much more than that. In this sense, the applicant must submit his 5-year Business Plan, which demonstrates in detail the planning of the operation of the company, how it will produce money and how it will grow to contribute to the Us economy.
- The applicant’s investment must be substantial. While there is no minimum investment amount required to obtain the E-2 Visa, regulations require that the investment be substantial in proportion to the total cost of the business. To illustrate this point, consider a new franchise business that has a total launch cost of $300,000: in this case, the person would have to invest between $200,000 and $225,000, approximately, for the investment to be considered substantial. On the other hand, the regulations also suggest that if the total cost for starting up the business is less than $100,000, then the individual must invest 100% of that amount or a sum very close to it. In any case, the amount of the investment may depend on the type of business, its location and its requirements.
- The applicant must be in a position to develop and run the company. The person making the investment must demonstrate that they are an active investor and that they are qualified to develop and direct the new company in the United States. While it is true that the investor can hire junior professionals to assist with these responsibilities, and is encouraged to do so, he must demonstrate that he will have direct involvement on his own in day-to-day operations.
As you can see, the E-2 Visa turns out to be a great option for investors who come from signatory countries of the Treaty, who are considering investing in a business in the U.S. The variety of businesses to be established is quite wide, according to what we have seen in the aforementioned requirements. If you intend to apply for this type of visa, it is strongly recommended that you always use the legal advice of a qualified immigration attorney, so that your process is successful.