The E-2 visa, known as the nonimmigrant treaty investor visa, affords individuals and organizational employees the ability to live and work within the United States by actively investing in the American economy. There are five major requirements to help interested individuals determine if the E-2 is the right visa to pursue.
1. Established Entity
The type of business one can invest in needs to a) prove the business is established or b) show that major steps are in progress for the business to become operational. In some cases, a business plan showing detailed steps for significant success is required for nonoperational businesses.
2. Active Investment
The established entity must already be in possession of the investment; however, allowances are made for the investment to be in the process toward use by the entity.
3. Substantial Investment
Depending upon the nature of the business, the investment amount should be defined as “substantial.” Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis to determine the definition of the investment.
Some immigration experts advise amounts as low as $25,000 for some business ventures, like the service industry, while others recommend as much as $200,000 to guarantee approval. Investors should be aware that higher investments are more likely to lead to approval.
Investments amounts are deemed significant by evaluating the total business value. Successful E-2 investments are generally labeled as such when the total value contrasts the investment percentage amount. Here’s a general rule of thumb:
- 75% for total business value below $500,000
- 50% for total business value between $500,000 and $3,000,000
- 25% for total business value above $3,000,000
4. Approved Investment Sources
Multiple sources are allowed to make up the investment sum. Any loans necessary to secure the investment sum must be from personal assets. Corporate assets are not allowable because stipulations outline that the investor must be at risk personally to gain visa entry.
5. Earnings Qualifications
Operating revenues must be shown to create positive cash flow from the investment. The definition here outlines economic values that are “more than marginal” to earn a living. While the stipulations do not necessarily require job stimulation or significant economic impact from the investment, there exists some expectation for investing revenue back into the company. Proof of job creation can only further boost the chances for E-2 visa approval.
Individuals interested in the E-2 visa should know that immigrant status does not typically follow this type of visa. Stay is granted for a two –year period of time; however, at the end of each term of stay, applicants can apply for renewal for an additional two years. This process can potentially continue indefinitely, as long as the investor remains employed within the business entity in a managerial role, officer role or as a highly skilled employee.
Finally, the investor must originally reside in a foreign country that maintains established treaties with the USA. While this treaty allows for spouses and children (under the age of 21) inclusion within the visa’s rights, family members do not need to originate from a treaty country in relationship with the US.
Consider the five major investment requirements to determine if qualification for the E-2 treaty investor visa is possible.