The lawyers at Colombo & Hurd are proud to meet the immigration needs of our clients. One of the immigration goals we can assist with is obtained an E-2 visa to live and work in the United States on a temporary basis. The E-2 visa, also known as a Substantial Investment visa, is available for a certain foreign individual who wishes to invest into a U.S. based business or commercial enterprise. Individuals who successfully apply for and obtain an E-2 visa are generally authorized to live and work in the United States for two years. However, the visa can be renewed indefinitely provided that the individual maintains his or her eligibility.
What Requirements Must I Meet to Obtain an E-2 Visa?
There are a significant number of requirements that must be satisfied by the applicant before an E-2 visa can be granted. To start, the individual must be a national of a country with which the United States holds a treaty of trade and navigation. Countries with such treaties include:
A full list of qualifying treaty nations is maintained by the U.S. Department of State.
If the individual is a national of a qualifying nation, he or she must be sure to make an investment that is substantial and “at risk.” While the term “substantial” is not defined by a specific dollar amount, the amount invested must be sufficient for the successful operation of the business. A substantial investment is not marginal. Furthermore, the “at risk” requirement means that the substantial investment must be subject to gain or loss. Loans secured by the assets of the investment enterprise are not permitted for the E-2 visa.
The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
What Really Makes an Investment “Substantial?”
One of the most important requirements to obtain an E-2 visa is establishing that the foreign national has made a “substantial investment.” As stated above, there is no bright-line rule setting forth a certain dollar amount or percentage of investment as “substantial.” Thus, the guidance of an attorney familiar with the legal analysis of EB-2 visas is often essential.
In general, the substantial investment requirement is satisfied when one of the following are true:
- The investment is proportional to the total value of the particular enterprise in question. This test is usually applied to investment in existing businesses); or
- The invested amount is normally considered necessary or sufficient to establish a viable enterprise of the type contemplated. This test is more likely to be applied to new businesses.
For more guidance on what constitutes substantial investment into a United States business to satisfy the E-2 capital requirement please schedule a confidential consultation at our Miami law office.
What Types of Investments Can Qualify For EB-2?
As set forth above, EB-2 criteria require that any invested funds be “at risk” to count towards an EB-2 visa. As such, mortgage or other secured debts, loans with recourse, and cash held in a personal bank account are not considered “at risk.” However, investments that may give rise to a qualifying E-2 investment can include:
- cash reserves placed in business account (with evidence of the source of income)
- unsecured loans granted on the basis of the investor’s signature
- the value of purchased equipment and property
- loans secured by the investor’s own assets, such as a mortgage on her real property
What Steps Must I take to Get an E-2 Visa?
Since the law requires the funds be at risk, the treaty investor must, generally, have already committed the funds to payment or placed the funds in trust. Although a reasonable amount of funds may be considered when placed in an operating account, the rest of the investment should be made by the time the E-2 visa application is filed. The funds may be invested into either a new or existing commercial venture in the United States provided that the intended EB-2 beneficiary maintains control of the company. The business must be active, have physical premises, and actively engaged in commercial activities. Certain workers including executive, managers, or individuals with highly specialized skills may be able to also qualify for a visa.
Why Choose the Miami E-2 Visa Attorneys At Colombo & Hurd?
At Colombo & Hurd, our immigration lawyers are proud to provide business focused immigration solutions for companies in Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States. Our lawyers approach immigration law strategically and understand how important the bottom line is to our business clients. Therefore, we always work diligently to anticipate potential obstacles and hurdles and work to address them before they result in a delay or denial.
To schedule a confidential initial consultation at our Miami law offices, call the lawyers of Colombo & Hurd at 305-692-0232 or online.