The E2 Visa: A Route to Wealth But Citizenship Comes Up Short
The U.S. government has set up a few programs that welcomes foreign investors who set up businesses, enterprises and other investments that benefit American citizens.
What Is the E2 Visa Program?
The E2 visa program is one of many different types of programs that gives foreigners the ability to legally work and live in the United States. Also referred to as a Treaty Investor visa, the idea behind the E-2 revolves around bringing investment into the United States from friendly countries. More than 70 nations from across the world have negotiated a treaty with the United States to allow this type of cross border business activity.
The treaty investor visa program outlines the type of business person who is allowed to enter the United States for the express purpose of establishing a business within U.S. borders. In order to obtain an E-2 visa, applicants have to meet minimum requirements and follow the procedures according to U.S. immigration and business law.
E2 Visa Requirements
According to the U.S. Department of State, in order to qualify for an E-2 visa, “the investor, either a person, partnership or corporate entity, must have the citizenship of a treaty country.” In other words, regardless of where you reside when you launch your E-2 request, you have to be a citizen of a country that’s negotiated a Treaty Investor visa agreement with the United States to qualify.
If the investment in question is a business, 50 percent or more must be owned by citizens from one of the Treat Investor visa countries. When you apply, you have to prove that you’re the person who is in direct control of the money that fuels your enterprise. Investment funds derived from loans with the business’ assets used as collateral don’t qualify for the E-2 program because the investment has to be considered a commercial risk.
Paper enterprises, inactive investments and speculative organizations aren’t covered by this type of visa. In order to apply, the investment that you make has to be in an active business undertaking that’s currently in operation. If the business is completely set up and planned but has its funds lingering uncommitted in a bank account, your enterprise won’t be considered an active business. Funds need to be completely committed as assets of the organization.
Although the United States doesn’t list a specific amount of money to qualify for an E-2 visa, you’ll probably need to show that you’ve invested liquid assets in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to be considered an investment that qualifies as substantial enough to be considered for the program.
Another requirement that doesn’t have a hard number attached is the need for your business to create enough income to account for more than just yourself and your family. The U.S. government doesn’t list a specific income level, but the more money that your business makes and the more people that you promise to employ, the more likely you are to be granted a Treaty Investor visa.
If you are attempting to work in the United States through an E-2 visa, you cannot serve as a member of the company who is an unskilled worker or a common skilled labourer. At the very least, you have to be considered an employee who is indispensable to the investment. Those who aren’t the main investor in the business have to serve as executives, managers, supervisors or highly skilled, specialized workers.
Opportunity For Wealth, Not Citizenship
The sole purpose of the E-2 visa is to create mutual benefit by allowing foreign business to thrive within the borders of the United States. Gaining citizenship involves a completely different process. In fact, if you mention that you’re looking forward to citizenship after creating a successful business under the Treat Investor visa, you may end up giving U.S. officials an excuse to deny your application.
If you wish to gain citizenship into the United States, it’s best to focus first on developing your business investment while granted entry under an E-2 visa. The opportunity to profit in one of the largest and richest consumer societies in the world is too valuable to throw away by making immigration agents nervous about the true intentions of your E-2 application.
Even if you and your business match all the requirements to apply successfully for an E-2 visa under the Treaty Investor visa program, the sheer amount of details that need to be taken care of can result in problems due to small oversights or misunderstandings with American border agents and other immigration personnel. VisaPlace specializes in supporting businesses applying for E-2 visas, lending experience and expertise that ensures the entire application proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Are You Interested in Applying for an E2 Visa?
Without any legal help, navigating through the complicated application process is frustrating and potentially fruitless. That’s where we at Visaplace come in handy.
With over 15 years of experience of working with investors and traders, we know what the U.S. immigration department requires. We have helped thousands and thousands of foreign nationals successfully enter the U.S. with E visas and we can help you too!
The first step towards a successful E-2 visa application is getting an assessment of your case. Fill out our free immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and options.
About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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