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The E-2 Investor Visa

August 2015 - ByShahzad Ahmed with NeJame Law

The E-2 visa is an investor visa for nationals of those countries that have a treaty of commerce (a business treaty) with the United States. It is possible to qualify for this visa with an investment as little as $100,000. Here are the requirements and the procedure for this invaluable visa option.

The E-2 Visa Requirements

  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country;
  • The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise;
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment;
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States;
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed; and
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise.

The Procedure

Step 1. Hiring. If you are ready to file for an investor's visa, you should hire our services so that we may provide you consultation about the immigration requirements and also so that we may evaluate your business for the E-2 visa requirements.

Step 2. Due diligence. You will need to identify the business that you are interested in investing in. This may be an existing business or one that you will start up. Our immigration department's job will be to evaluate the business for the E-2 requirements. Your job will be to evaluate the business from the "business sense." You may wish to hire a licensed business broker to assist you in your search. Our law firm is engaged in the business of legal services and is unable to provide you business advice nor can it ensure profitability. At this stage, you should enlist the services of a CPA or a financial advisor to conduct due diligence of the business. Our immigration department can review the proposed contract or letter of intent from the seller from the immigration perspective.

Step 3. Corporate work. Once you are satisfied with your choice of business, and our immigration department has determined its potential eligibility for the E-2, then you should hire a corporate attorney to incorporate your business entity, which is usually an LLC. The corporate attorney will also review your proposed purchase agreement from the seller and you may also attend the closing for you. For purchases in Florida, you may request our department to refer one of our partners at the law firm. *It is recommended for your protection, that you do not close on the purchase, and that you keep your initial deposits to the seller to a minimum, until your visa is issued.

Step 4. Filing your applications. We will finalize the preparation of your applications. This involves gathering the necessary financial and business documentation for your business. It also entails gathering your necessary personal documentation, such as passport. If you are in the United States and wish to change status, then we will file the petition with the USCIS. If you are filing for your visa, then we will file the application for your interview to be held overseas at the U.S. Embassy.

Step 5. Visa Issuance and closing. Upon the issuance of the visa, you may close on your purchase and release the necessary funds for the investment.

*This information is meant for general use only. It is not meant to be legal advice for your particular case. In order to determine the best legal option for you, you must schedule and receive a complete consultation from an attorney.

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