E-2 Investment Visas

E-2 Investment Visas

A Viable Alternative to Family-Based or Employment-Based Visas

There are two types of investment visas. There is the E-2 visa, which is a non-immigrant or temporary visa. Then there is the EB-5 visa, which leads directly to an immigrant visa or “green card.” This section will focus on the E-2 visa.

In order to qualify for the E-2 visa, one must meet the following requirements:

  • There must be a treaty between the applicant’s home country and the United States;
  • The capital invested in the enterprise must be at risk of loss (it cannot be based on a loan which carries an expectation of repayment).
  • The enterprise must be in the possession and control of the E-2 applicant (who must have a 51% or more ownership interest).
  • The investment must be substantial and the business must be a real enterprise (not a paper company). Unlike the EB-5, which requires an investment of a specific dollar amount, the E-2 visa guidelines simply require that the investment must be “substantial.” This allows flexibility, in that the investment amount will be defined by the nature of the business enterprise.
  • The investment must be “for profit,” meaning it cannot be simply to make enough income to support one’s livelihood or the well-being of one’s family. The focus should be on job creation for American workers.
  • The investment must be made with personal funds or loans based on personal collateral. Every step in the investment chain must be fully documented. A complete money trail will document how the investor originally obtained the capital for the E-2 investment.
  • The investor must have managerial experience and his or her duties in the enterprise must be executive and supervisory.

There are two ways in which one may obtain an E-2 visa:

  • If the applicant is still overseas, he or she may apply directly at the U.S. consulate in one’s home country, OR
  • If the applicant is already in the United States on a B-1 visa as a business visitor, he or she may file a petition requesting a change in status. An applicant is eligible for a change in status only if she or she has continuously maintained one’s previous immigration status without violations.

One is eligible to renew one’s E-2 visa as long as the business enterprise is running. One must simply show an intent to return to one’s home country when the business ends. The E-2 investor can bring one’s family to the United States, and the spouse may go to work upon filing and obtaining approval of work authorization.

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