For individuals and businesses, an E-2 investor visa can be an excellent opportunity to invest in a new or existing company in the United States. An E-2 investor visa allows foreign nationals to enter the country to direct and develop a commercial enterprise in which they have invested a substantial amount of capital. These types of investor visas have specific requirements, including that the investor (an individual or a corporation) be a national of a country that has a treaty of commerce with the United States. Unlike other types of investor visas, such as the EB-5, there is no specific dollar amount that must be invested in order to qualify for an E-2 visa. However, the investment must be “substantial” in relation to the total value of the enterprise. At Colombo & Hurd, our Tampa E-2 visa lawyers are experienced in assisting individuals and businesses obtain this type of investor visa.
Advantages of an E-2 Visa
Compared to other types of visas, there are many advantages to pursuing an E-2 visa. The processing time for E-2 visas tends to be shorter than other types of visas, so that you can typically enter the United States more quickly than with other types of visas once you are approved. This type of visa is also not subject to annual limits. In addition, you may bring your dependents with you on an E-2 visa; this includes your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Once you are in the U.S., you will be able to remain in the country for an indefinite period of time, provided that you maintain valid E-2 status. In other words, as long as the business remains in operation and you comply with the visa requirements, you will be able to renew your visa and stay in the U.S. You will be able to work legally in the U.S., and your spouse may seek employment though an employment authorization card. If you have children under the age of 21, they can study in the United States. You will also be able to purchase real estate in the United States. Each of these factors makes an E-2 visa attractive to many individual investors.
Requirements for an E-2 Visa
To be approved for an E-2 visa, an investor must meet specific criteria. As an initial matter, the investor must be a national of a country that has a treaty commerce with the United States. Your Tampa E-2 visa lawyer can advise you if your home country has a qualifying treaty. Next, the investment in a commercial enterprise must be substantial. While there is no specific dollar amount that must be invested in order to meet this standard, the government will look to a number of factors to determine if an investment is substantial. This includes the amount of the investment in proportion to the total business, and whether the amount of the investment is typical of the amount normally considered necessary to start a viable business of this type. At Colombo & Hurd, our attorneys have assisted many investors in obtaining E-2 visas, and can advise you on whether a proposed investment is likely to meet this standard.
An investment must also be in a genuine operating enterprise, not in a speculative or idle investment. The money to be used in an investment must be personally at risk in order to qualify for an E-2 visa. Examples may include loans secured by an investor’s own assets, or cash reserves placed in a business accounts. It is acceptable to have partners in the investment, but the applicant for an E-2 visa must control the investment, which typically means having ownership of more than 50% of the business. The investment funds must be committed at the time that the application for an E-2 visa is filed. This can generate substantial anxiety for investors, as there is a possibility that a visa will not be approved. That is why it is so important to have a seasoned Tampa E-2 visa lawyer, such as the attorneys of Colombo & Hurd, to guide you through the process and help to protect your investment.
When it comes to the enterprise itself, the government requires that it not be marginal. This means that it must generate significantly more income than just enough to provide a living for you or your family, or that it must have a significant economic impact in the United States. The investment can either be in a new business, or in an existing business, such as a franchise. Finally, to qualify for an E-2 visa, the investor must be coming to the U.S. in order to develop and direct the enterprise. If the investor is not the principal investor in the enterprise, then he or she must work in a supervisory, executive or highly skilled capacity.
If approved, an E-2 visa is generally issued for a period of two to five years. It can then be renewed or extended indefinitely. An E-2 visa does not provide a direct path to permanent resident status. However, there may be other ways to obtain a green card or permanent resident status through an E-2 visa. A skilled Tampa E-2 visa lawyer can assist you with obtaining the initial visa, and exploring options for obtaining a green card in the future.
Contact an E-2 Immigration Lawyer Today
At Colombo & Hurd, our immigration attorneys have successfully helped nvestors around the world obtain E-2 visas. We work with clients to not only help them be approved for their initial visas, but to improve their chances of being approved for a renewal. With individualized attention and commitment to personal service, we provide the highest quality legal services to help our clients navigate the complex immigration process. To learn more about E-2 investor visas or to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our Tampa E-2 visa lawyers, contact Colombo & Hurd today.