If you want to invest in a business in the United States, you will need the investor E-2 visa. Although it is not an immigration visa, it is a very popular visa type due to the privileges it gives to investors from abroad.
- Visa E-2
- What is required to obtain an E-2 visa?
- Documents required to prove your contribution to business development?
E-2 visa can be obtained only by citizens of countries with which the USA has the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. These countries include:
What are the benefits of an E-2 visa?
- Most importantly, the investor visa gives you the right to own a business in the USA. You can either start your own business or become the main partner in the existing one.
- This visa may be extended an unlimited number of times depending on the state of your business in the USA.
- Since it is not an immigration visa, the waiting period won’t be long.
- E-2 visa grants you the ability to work legally in the United States for your own company, receive wages and profits just like American citizens.
- E-2 visa allows you to bring your family members (spouse and children) to the USA with you. However, this visa covers only children under 21.
- If there are a lot of employees at the enterprise you invest in, you can get additional E-2 visas for general managers. They may stay in the USA on E-2 visas while you work for the company.
- Receiving the investor E-2 visa, allows you to buy property in the USA. Even when you lose your visa status, the property will remain yours.
Is it possible for family members to obtain an E-2 visa?
Yes, there is such an opportunity: the investor’s children and spouses can obtain an E-2 visa. On arrival in the US, spouses have the right to apply for work permits and work at any enterprise, including the investor’s company.
The investor’s children under 21 can only receive non-working status, which will allow them to attend American school/college but will not allow them to earn money.
What are the differences between E-2 visa and L-1 visa?
E-2 visa has advantages compared to other non-immigration visas. L-1 and E-2 visas are different in many ways. However, every visa has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The main thing that should be kept in mind: the L-1 visa allows you to work in America for many years without applying for permanent residence, at the same time having immigration intent. The E-2 visa does not allow such a thing.
In order to get approval for an E-2 visa application, you do not need to receive confirmation from USCIS — just wait for the decision of the American Consulate in your country of residence.
E-2 visa may be granted for varying periods of stay – from 3 months to 5 years depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship. After receiving the E-2 visa, it can be constantly extended, even if we are talking about investing in a new company. There is no strict time frame. While you are investing money in a business in the United States, you meet the requirements of this visa so you can put your mind at rest.
It is also important to know that those who want to get an E-2 visa do not need to prove ownership of a business in their country of residence or the existence of ties between American and foreign companies.
Immigration and non-immigration dual intent.
The main characteristic of the Investor E-2 visa which distinguishes it from an L-1 visa is non-immigration intentions. When applying for the E-2 visa, you must confirm that you will depart the United States once the visa expires, that is, you do not plan to remain in the United States.
If you are the owner, executive director or senior manager and you have received an L-1 visa, you are allowed to have dual immigration intentions. This is not possible with an E-2 visa. That is, even if you are planning to immigrate to the United States in the future and you are open about that, or even if you are applied for permanent residence, you will be able to obtain an L-1 visa anyway (but not E-2 visa).
What is required to obtain an E-2 visa?
First of all, you must be a citizen of the country with which investments are allowed on mutually beneficial terms and conditions. Otherwise, an E-2 visa cannot be obtained even if all other requirements are met.
You have to prove that you posses sufficient financial resources. In other words, to obtain an E-2 visa, you must demonstrate that you are a wealthy person, and that when you invest in American business, you will not live yourself and your family without means of support.
The origin of your funds must be proved. This is perhaps the most important and complex requirement for those who wish to receive an E-2 visa. The money you invest in buying or opening a business must be honestly earned. It implies that the money has been credited to your personal bank account and taxes have been paid. You cannot use for these purposes the money you earned through running your own business, in other words, you cannot use the funds in your business bank account. Instead, you have to transfer this money to your personal bank account and pay income taxes. If your savings are related to the sale of real estate, you must prove that the property was yours or, if it wasn’t, then the gift contract must be submitted. You cannot use your offshore accounts to invest in a business in the USA. In case a relative or spouse has allocated funds to you, the legality of his or her funds must also be proved.
The transfer of funds in the United States should also be legal and transparent. The money cannot be brought in a suitcase, or earned in the USA without having a special working status. You need to have specific bank statements showing how the money came from the bank in your country to an American bank.
You will have to pass the Proportionality test to determine whether your investment in a US company is substantial. Thus, for example, you cannot buy a loss-making small inactive business for a million dollars if the value of such a business in the market does not exceed $ 100,000. You cannot exaggerate the purchase price of a business in order to show that your investment is substantial.
When investing money in a business in the USA, you will also need to prove that you have the capacity to develop this business and manage your investments. According to the USA immigration law, at least 50% of the interest in the purchased company must belong to you and it is you who should control the management of the enterprise. In this regard, possessing 51% (or more) of the interest in the acquired company increases your chances of obtaining an E-2 visa since having the majority of shares gives you control over the enterprise. On the other hand, it is not always easy to prove your control over the enterprise with only 50% of the interest.
If you invest in a business, it is crucial to provide workplaces for American citizens as well. Otherwise, your company would be counted as a workplace designed only for citizens of your country which is a direct violation of the investment treaty. Always take into consideration that a certain number of jobs has to be allocated to US citizens. There are no special requirements about their number but it should be correlated with the total number of jobs in the company.
Every investor has to prove that he or she has business acumen, capacity to conduct business and significant work experience. You will also need to demonstrate that you have connections with the homeland and that in your country of residence you are a wealthy businessman who has the financial means and opportunities.
Is money the only possible kind of investment?
No, money is not the only possible kind of investment especially when it comes to a down payment. Real assets also play a large part.
For example, for a newly established company, equipment, various inventory, etc., can be a good investment. This kind of investment is appreciated as equipping your company would mean you are planning to take its development seriously.
Also, investments may include real estate and expenditures associated with the company such as, for example, services of a lawyer.
Documents required to prove your contribution to business development?
When allocating a certain capital for investment, its size needs to be fixed. To do this, you must provide the following documents:
- documents from the bank confirming the transfer of funds for investing in a business in the United States;
- shares transfer documents;
- a bank statement, reflecting the current state of your account balance;
- documents confirming that a part of a third party investment funds is frozen until the E-2 visa applicant receives these funds;
- a contract for the purchase of a business in the USA;
- a lease or a contract for the purchase of a real estate which you, as an investor, will be using for your business in the USA;
- the company’s debt obligations which have been taken over by a new head;
- a document authorizing the transfer of inventory or goods the company produces (in case you have decided to transport them from another country).
It is also necessary to provide documents confirming sources of investment you used to acquire a business in the United States. These can include bank accounts, savings, your country’s corporate income taxes, shares transfer documents, or funds.
Does it matter where to get money for investment?
Of course, it does! It is not a coincidence that documents confirming the legality of your investment source are listed in the last paragraph. Fraud in this area is not uncommon, so all documents are thoroughly scrutinized. To get an E-2 visa without difficulties, make sure your investments come from a lawful source; otherwise, you can forget about entering the territory of America.
Are there any limitations?
There are always limitations, and the investor E-2 visa is no exception.
- Due to the fact that this is not an immigration visa, it has to be extended from time to time. The validity period of the visa may vary from 3 months to 5 years, depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship.
- All requirements that are placed on the investor are maintained throughout the entire period of stay in the USA on the E-2 visa. If you do not cope with this, your visa may be canceled prior to the expiration date.
- This visa is not used to receive in a consequence a Green Card. At the same time, there are no impediments for E-2 visa holders to obtain permanent residence in the USA through other ways; more often it is done through an EB-5 visa.
- E-2 visa can be obtained only by citizens of countries with which the USA has the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. These countries include: Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, and other countries. *** Russia and Belarus are not included in this list.
Is the assistance of a lawyer necessary for obtaining an E-2 visa?
Certainly. Of course, you can submit all documents on your own, but the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer is a guarantee that you will not make mistakes when applying for the visa. Problems may arise at least at the stage of collecting the required documents – if you are not familiar with the visa application procedure, you will most likely either forget about something or fill in some forms incorrectly. An experienced lawyer will control the entire process from collecting documents to obtaining an E-2 visa. If you want to get the E-2 visa, use help of professionals. We will tell you how to become an investor in the USA and avoid all possible difficulties. It is necessary to take into account all the details in order to achieve the best result and with our team, you can do it!