E2 Business Investor Visa Solutions
Many times foreign entrepreneurs hesitate to launch operations in the U.S. because they do not want to leave their labor team behind. Now, foreign investors have the option to use the E2 visa strategy to transfer their top business executives, supervisors and essential employees.
See U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation; and which are eligible for an E2 visa.
E2 Visas – Executives and Managers
U.S. law allows multiple layers of key individuals to enter and live in the United States under one business enterprise. For example, an investor who funds the business enterprise can seek an E2 visa.
The investor must primarily come to the U.S. to develop and direct the business enterprise.
In addition, executives and managers can obtain the E2 visa. For these individuals, the US government will require that they enter the U.S. to primarily work in an executive or supervisory function.
Lastly, if the enterprise needs essential or special function employees, then they can also apply for an E2 visa.
In all E2 cases, spouses and children who are under 21 years of age may also obtain the E2 visa. As for spouses, they can also apply for a work authorization document.
E-2 Treaty Investors
The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
See our article Potential Small-Scale Business Models for E-2 Investors.
An investment is the treaty investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(12) for more information.
A substantial amount of capital is:
- Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
- Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
- Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.
Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
General Qualifications for Employees of a Treaty Investor
To qualify for E-2 classification, the employee of a treaty investor must:
- Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
- Meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law
- Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty investor status. If the owners are not in the United States, they must be, if they were to seek admission to this country, classifiable as nonimmigrant treaty investors. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(3)(ii).
Duties which are of an executive or supervisory character are those which primarily provide the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s overall operation, or a major component of it. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(17) for a more complete definition.
Special qualifications are skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business. There are several qualities or circumstances which could, depending on the facts, meet this requirement. These include, but are not limited to:
- The degree of proven expertise in the employee’s area of operations
- Whether others possess the employee’s specific skills
- The salary that the special qualifications can command
- Whether the skills and qualifications are readily available in the United States.
Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees
Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty investor or employee. These family members may seek E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. If the family members are already in the United States and are seeking change of status to or extension of stay in an E-2 dependent classification, they may apply by filing a single Form I-539 with fee. Spouses of E-2 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work.
E2 Visa or Immigration Questions? Please Contact VERDIN Law
Isaul Verdin has extensive experience advising multinational companies and entrepreneurs on complex US immigration matters involving investments.
Mr. Verdin focuses on advising companies on structuring entities, acquisitions, and strategic expansion to satisfy US immigration E-1, E2, L1A, L1B, or EB-1 objectives in a variety of fields. These business opportunities include real estate, aviation, technology, manufacturing, retail, luxury goods, and professional services. Additionally, he litigates deportation defense matters throughout the US.
VERDIN boasts a combined 70 years of experience in immigration law. Since its inception, VERDIN has gained a reputation for prevailing in even the most complicated immigration matters.
“As a Board Certified, Immigration Lawyer (Texas Board of Legal Specialization) with over 17 years of experience, my passion is immigration law. We will listen to your concerns, answer all your questions, and expertly guide you through your immigration process.” ~ Isaul Verdin, Founder and Managing Attorney
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