What is the E-2 Visa?
The E-2 visa allows a foreign national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a ‘substantial’ amount of capital into a U.S. business including franchises. The visa enables foreign investors to enter the United States on a non-immigrant basis to either engage in substantial trade between the United States and a treaty country or to own and direct operations of an existing or new U.S. business that the foreign national has invested a substantial amount of capital in.
Do I qualify for the E-2 Visa?
- Must be a national of a treaty country.
- Must direct, own (50% or more of the business equity) and operate a new or existing limited liability or corporate U.S. business including U.S. franchises.
- The investment must be placed at commercial risk, with a profit objective, and is subject to loss if the business fails.
- ACTIVE INVESTMENT
- The investment must be active, with passive investments not permitted. Not-for-profit organizations do not qualify.
- Substantiality in the relationship to the total cost of either purchasing or establishing a new U.S. business.
- The investment must be enough to ensure the investor’s financial commitment enables the best chance of success.
- Substantial is considered in the context of the industry and is not an absolute dollar amount, although many industry experts suggest an investment of approximately US$100,000 or more is the target. The investment must be proportionate to the value of the business.
- The investment is not limited to cash. Goods, equipment and intellectual property can be invested.
- How long is an E-2 Visa granted for?
It depends of your country of origin and how strong your application is. E-2 visas are typically granted for an initial period of two or five years. There are an unlimited number of extensions allowed for the E-2 visa. Extensions can be granted for two- or five-year periods.
- Can I bring my family?
The investor’s spouse and any children under the age of 21 are eligible for the E-2 visa as dependent family members of the qualifying investor.
- Can my family work and study?
Upon successful employment authorization, spouses may work and/or study, while your unmarried children under 21 may study without an F-1 student visa.
- How long does it take to obtain an E-2 visa?
An E-2 visa typically takes 2 – 4 months to be adjudicated from filing of the petition. Prior to the filing, time is also necessary to prepare an E-2 business plan, select and structure the qualifying business/franchise and entities, and prepare the E-2 petition. This process on average also takes an average of 2 – 4 months. Therefore, the total time frame takes approximately 4 – 8 months from beginning to end.
- Are there travel restrictions while being on the E-2 Visa?
There are no travel restrictions while a foreign national has a valid E-2 visa. You are permitted to travel in and out of the U.S. as often as you like.
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