E-2 Treaty Investor
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The E-2 nonimmigrant visa authorizes a citizen of a treaty country to oversee their investment in the U.S. or work with a U.S. business which is at least 50% owned by citizens of the treaty country. The initial E visa may be granted for up to 5 years, depending on the country. The visa can be extended every two (2) years without limitation on the total period of stay. The spouse and minor children may accompany or follow to join the E-2 principal. Employees from the treaty country, including executives, managers and essential employees are eligible for the E-2 visa.
The E-2 may be applied for in the United States with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the individual is in legal status and the law permits a change in status. However, once the individual leaves the United States, the individual must apply for an E-2 visa at an American Embassy or consulate abroad. In addition, the E visa is one of the few visas that may be applied for directly at an American Embassy or consulate without prior approval from USCIS.
General Qualifications of a Treaty Investor
To qualify for E-2 VISA classification, the treaty investor must:
Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device
An investment is the treaty investor's placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.
U.S. immigration regulations do not establish a minimum dollar amount for E-2 purposes that directs the dollar amount necessary in order for the investment to be considered substantial. For E-2 purposes, however, a substantial amount of capital is:
Substantial in relation to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one.
Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor's financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise.
Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
In addition, the investment must not be marginal, that is, the business must have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. An applicant is not entitled to E-2 classification if the investment, even if substantial, will return only enough income to provide a living for the applicant and family.
* Past performance is no guarantee of future results
Nationality and Ownership
A treaty investor, whether an individual or business, must possess the nationality of the treaty country. Determining the nationality of an E-2 company is determined by the nationality of the individual owners comprising that business. At least 50 percent of the business in question must be owned by nationals of the treaty country.
Essential Role in the U.S.: Investor & Employees
A principal investor or certain employees can obtain treaty-investor status. In order to enter the U.S. in this status, the principal investor must be responsible for the development and direction of the investment.
If a foreign national employee has the same citizenship as the owner(s) of the E-2 enterprise, that applicant may also qualify for an E-visa. The job the employee will perform must be executive or supervisory in nature, or the employee must possess special qualifications that are essential to the operation of the U.S. enterprise.
Executive or supervisory job duties are those which primarily provide the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s overall operation, or a major component of it.
Special qualifications are skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business. These include, but are not limited to:
The degree of proven expertise in the employee’s area of operations;
Whether others possess the employee’s specific skills;
The salary that the special qualifications can command;
Whether the skills and qualifications are readily available in the United States.
Period of Stay
The visa validity length for the E-2 category varies by country based on reciprocity agreements. For Canadians and most European countries, the E visa is typically issued for a five-year period and upon entering the U.S., E visa applicants are admitted for up to a two-year period of stay. Following that initial two-period, E-2 nonimmigrants generally must travel abroad and reenter the U.S., at which time they will be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission. In addition, requests for an extension of status may be granted in increments of up to five years at an embassy or two years if filing with USCIS via mail, and there is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. Keep in mind, however, that the visa can only be renewed or extended if the investment continues to meet all applicable requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations.
The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of the primary E-2 applicant may also accompany or follow the primary holder in that same status. They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant. Spouses and children may attend school, and spouses are eligible to apply for work authorization in the U.S.
How Can We Make a Difference?
Strong E-2 cases tell a compelling story. It is as much a sales pitch as it is a legal application. The government wants to see the entrepreneurial spirit of the investor along with the positive local, regional, and/or national economic impact of the investment conveyed through a business plan and represented on your visa application. Presentation is key. This mindset is how our attorneys’ approach each and every case. At SG Legal Group, our skilled attorneys have access to a network of resources that allow us to handle every aspect of your E-2 visa application. From analyzing corporate documents to coordinating with professional business plan writers, our team will guide you through the entire process and bring your entrepreneurial vision to life. If you have an idea, the entrepreneurial drive to execute, and access to a modest amount of capital to invest in the U.S., you may qualify for an E-2 visa. Schedule a consultation with our office to review your eligibility and ensure compliance under U.S. immigration law.
Thank you for your help with E-2 treaty investor visa
I hired Mr. Gherasimov to advise me what is the best option for me to invest in the United States. I was interested to also come to US, along with my family, so I can direct and develop the business. That is when he recommended the E-2 visa. Once we started working together he pushed me hard to get all necessary documents and after he filed the application I was called for an interview within several weeks. I believe that because the application was well prepared and also because I was well prepared for the interview, my interview lasted less than 10 minutes, with very few questions asked. Once Mr. Gherasimov started working on my case, several of my friends also hired him and the E-2 treaty investor visa was approved for all of us, including dependent visas for our families. I will certainly continue to recommend Gherasimov Law Firm's services, and in particular, Mr. Gherasimov!