Attorney Rusten Hurd and the Florida investor visa attorney of Colombo & Hurd are proud to represent entrepreneurs and investors who are considering immigrating to the United States to pursue their American Dream. Recently, Mr. Hurd sat down with Neil Howe of Business Innovators Radio to discuss some of the options intending immigrants have in coming to the United States and some of the challenges they may face during the immigration process.  In this post we will analyze some of the discussion regarding the E-2 visa, how foreign investors can make the E-2 visa work for them, challenges in the E-2 process, and how the attorneys of Colombo & Hurd can help.

What Visas Are Available to Foreign Entrepreneurs and Investors?

There are a number of visa options available to foreign investors and entrepreneurs who wish to live and work in the United States. One of the most commonly used options is the E-2 visa. Among other scenarios, the E-2 visa can be used when an investor wishes to make a substantial investment into a U.S. commercial enterprise. Unfortunately, the E-2 visa is not available to all foreign individuals. This is because the E-2 visa is only available to foreign investors from counties with whom the U.S. maintains a trade treaty. Thus, individuals who make use of the E-2 visa are sometimes referred to as treaty investors. Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have a relevant treaty with the BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – and therefore the E-2 visa is not typically available to these investors.

However, in some cases, our attorneys may be able to formulate creative solutions to this E-2 visa problem. For instance, in some cases the intending investor may have dual citizenship. This is particularly common in the case of investors from Brazil who may have and maintain dual citizenship in Italy or Spain. Since Italy and Spain have an E-2 treaty agreement with the United States these investors can qualify on the basis of their dual citizenship.

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Should the individual not have dual citizenship in a treaty nation, one other solution we may attempt is the use on an L visa. If the individual is a manager or executive of a foreign company or corporation they may be able to come to the U.S. on an L-1 visa. While on the L-1 visa they can work to expand the company to engage in U.S. operations.

What Are Common Misconceptions About the E-2 Visa?

One common misconception regarding the E-2 visa is that there is a hard and fast number that sets forth what constitutes a substantial investment. In reality, there is no number that defines a substantial investment and the number can even vary from project to project. The number is generally determined by the nature of the project or commercial venture. However we can say that in most cases, assuming a 100% ownership stake by the investor, that an investment of $100,000 or more is typically sufficient.

Another common misconception is held regarding how long you can stay in the United States on an E-2 visa and whether the visa provides a pathway to citizenship. Typically, the E-2 visa authorizes a stay of up to five years provided that the business remains viable and is not marginal. You can theoretically remain in the U.S. indefinitely however since the E-2 can be renewed indefinitely. However, the E-2 does not offer a direct pathway to citizenship and thus it does not offer a direct path to a Green Card. Furthermore, should the individual wish to change the focus or nature of the business or sell the company, complications can arise regarding his or her immigration status. In any case, USCIS or the consulate will need to be notified about the changes and review the business to ensure that immigration requirements are still satisfied.

Considering Bringing Your Foreign Business to the United States?

If you are a foreign investor or a foreign executive or manager, the Miami immigration lawyers of Colombo & Hurd may be able to help you with your immigration concerns. To schedule a confidential consultation with strategic Orlando immigration lawyers call 800-659-7142 today to schedule a consultation at their Miami or Orlando law offices. You can also arrange for a consultation online or by phone.