E-2 Business Investor Visa - Silmi Law Firm


May 28, 2021

E-2 Business Investor Visa

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a highly advantageous visa that foreign entrepreneurs can use to live and operate their business in the United States. Like most US visas, the E-2 visa involves a series of processes and requirements an applicant must meet. However, with the right information and guidance, you can acquire the visa on time. Here we look at the requirements and benefits of an E-2 visa.

E-2 Visa Requirements

1.National of a Treaty Country

The first requirement is that you must be a national of a country that maintains treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States. There is a long list of countries having this treaty with the United States. Before proceeding with your E-2 visa process, the first thing is to check here to see if your country is one of the treaty countries.

2. Substantial Investment

After confirming your eligibility based on your nationality, the next E-2 visa requirement is to ensure that your intended investment is a “substantial investment.” This requirement can be somewhat murky for many applicants, as there’s no specific benchmark for it. Unlike the EB-5 visa, with its minimum investment amounts clearly stated as $900,000 or $1.8 million, the E-2 visa has no specific investment amount. The rule only states that the investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. So, this means the capital must be relative to the kind of business enterprise you will undertake.

It is viewed on a case-by-case basis. This means some applicants may qualify with some thousands of dollars. In contrast, others might need hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the scale of enterprise they are venturing into. For instance, an applicant seeking to acquire an E-2 visa based on his or her investment in a restaurant may not need up to $100,000. We have successfully obtained E-2 visas for many clients with as low as 40,000$ investment amounts or even lower within our practice. Meeting the “substantial investment” amount isn’t really about how much you are investing; it’s more about how you can convincingly present your case. This is why the importance of working with an experienced attorney cannot be overemphasized.

3. The Investment Amount Must Be Irrevocably Committed

Another requirement is that the investment must put your capital at risk, and it is irrevocably committed to the enterprise. And this must happen to acquire the visa. If, for instance, you are investing in an existing business, your capital must have been committed to the business before you’d be issued a visa. Simply depositing the fund in a business account will not qualify for this requirement. Though this may somehow appear risky to many applicants, there is a safe way around it. To ensure the safety of the fund in case of any unforeseen event, we advise our clients to put the fund in an escrow account while the investment and visa applications are being processed. An escrow account is a safe account belonging to a third party, such as an attorney. With an escrow account, if you get the visa, the fund would be transferred into the business, and if you don’t, the fund can be safely returned to you.


4. The Business Must Be a Real Operating Enterprise

It is also crucial that the business enterprise is a real operating business. It must be a business establishment that engages with people in the United States. Speculative, idle, fictional, or virtual investment does not qualify.  Also, you must demonstrate that you’re entering the United States to develop and direct the business. In other words, you are going to be active in running the business. This requirement is an integral part of the E-2 visa interview. The consulate officer will ask questions that will help determine whether you have the expertise to run the intended enterprise. This is one of the areas we help our clients by preparing them for the interview so they’d be able to convince the consular officer and acquire the visa without any delay.

Benefits of E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is highly beneficial because it offers many advantages that many other US visas don’t have. Some of the benefits are:

1. Visa and Work Authorization for Spouse

With an E-2 visa, your spouse and children will become eligible to live in the United States with you. Your spouse will also be eligible to apply for work authorization or work permit, which will allow him or her to work anywhere in the United States. This can be an added advantage to the family income. Your children will also be able to school in the US to any level as long as you continue running the business and maintaining your status requirements.

2. Unlimited Number of Renewal

Another beauty of the EB-2 visa is that you can continuously renew it as long as you keep operating the business enterprise. With this, you can continue living in the United States for as long as you want, just as your spouse and children will keep working and schooling.

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