If you are considering investing a substantial amount of capital in a business or organization in the U.S., you may qualify for E-2 non-immigrant status. Those with an E-2 visa are permitted to leave the U.S. whenever they want. Additionally, you can renew your investor visa every couple years and there is no limit to renewals. Also, with an investor visa, your family may be eligible to come to the U.S. as well as your employees. With all these benefits, you must be wondering if you are eligible for an investor visa.
There are a few things to keep in mind when applying for an E-2 visa. First off you must be from a country that the U.S. Department of State calls a “treaty country”. These are countries that have signed a treaty of commerce with the U.S. For a list of these countries, you can visit the U.S. Department website here.
Secondly, you must keep in mind that the definition of an investment is the placement of funds or capital in a commercial business with the goal of gaining a profit from the funds. In other words, your contribution of capital is at risk of being lost if the company or business fails.
It is not enough that you invest in an American business, but your investment must be viewed as a substantial amount of capital. A substantial investment can be defined as:
An investment that is more than the cost of buying a company or creating a new business. It must be a high enough amount that it shows that you are financially committed to the organization or enterprise.
Finally, the amount must be enough to demonstrate that you are committed to developing or leading the business. Generally speaking, the lower the cost of the business, the higher your contribution must be in order to be viewed as a substantial investment in the company.
The company or business must meet some criteria as well. An enterprise is an actual, active, profit-making company that makes goods or services. In addition, if there are legal requirements for the business, those must be met as well.
It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an immigration lawyer before making the investment. Other criteria may apply and you do not want to make the unfortunate mistake of investing too little, in which case you will not receive the investor visa. Additionally, you do not want to mistakenly invest in too small of a business. The enterprise you invest in must make a contribution to the U.S. economy. In some cases, setting up a small shop is not enough to be deemed a proper contribution to the economy.
If you would like to learn more about the E-2 visa and whether or not you are eligible to apply for one, contact Immigration Attorney Phillip Kim.