The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for investors, entrepreneurs, and people looking to run a business in the United States. With an E2 visa, you can start a US business or invest in a US business and work for that business.
Investor Visa is designed for alien who wish to make a business investment in the United States (US). An Example of such investment can be purchasing or opening a business in the US. Visas are normally issued for 2 to 5 years with an option to extend it indefinitely, as long as the company is still in business and all the above requirements are met. Alien may pursue a Green Card application in any other category. Alien’s spouse and unmarried children less than 21 years will be entitled to a Derivative status and Alien’s spouse issued work authorization Card (can work for any employer).
Requirements & Benefits of E2:
- Alien must citizen of a Treaty Investment Country.
- He/she can buy a running business or start new enterprise or in case of partnership at least own 51% shares of any business.
- No Point grid means no minimum education requirement, no age limit, no business experience required, and no English proficiency test required.
- His/her position in the company will be as an Executive, Supervisor OR Essential Employee.
- The Investment of the company should be substantial.
- Investment should be from a clear source, own, by selling property or business, inherited money.
- Applicant can choose any state or territory to live in the US.
- Can change or expand business.
- No restriction on business type and no condition on numbers of employees.
- You can travel freely in and out of the US while on a valid E2 visa.
Invest in Business and get an opportunity to
“Live & Work in USA”
There are seven main criteria’s for obtaining an E-2 Principal Investor visa (status):
The applicant must be a citizen of a country that has a relevant treaty with the United States
The applicant must own at least 50% of the US business
The applicant must develop and direct the business (at least during its initial stage, until managers/supervisors have been hired).
The applicant must have made a substantial investment in the US business (and show evidence of that investment before applying for the visa). There’s no legal minimum, but the applicant must be putting his capital or assets at risk, and the amount must be substantial relative to the type of business. Usually for small businesses and start-ups the amount invested by the principal investor should be around $100,000. You will need to provide:
- Business Plan: A detailed breakdown, or spreadsheet, of all funds invested into the U.S. venture;
- Proof of Investment. For example: Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments; Evidence of equipment and/or inventory purchases; Evidence of intellectual property or other intangibles invested; and Evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business;
- If you are buying an existing business, please provide a signed, dated, valid purchase agreement; and, if applicable, a binding escrow agreement that explicitly confirms how the funds will be distributed if the visa is issued, what happens when it not issued, and is signed and dated by all parties;
- If you are purchasing a franchise, please provide a signed and dated franchise agreement, a copy of your franchise disclosure document and evidence of payment of the franchise fee.
- Evidence of how the funds invested into the U.S. venture were acquired in the form of documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, gift, earnings, sale of business, etc.) and evidence that he funds have been moved to the United States.
The US company must be actively engaged in commercial, for profit activities and meet the applicable legal requirements for doing business in its state or region.
The US business must be more than just a marginal enterprise. The new business cannot be merely a means to support the investor. The underlying goal of the treaty investor visa is to create jobs for US workers.
- The applicant must intend to leave the US when his or her business in the US is completed, although the person is not required to maintain a foreign residence abroad. A statement of intent to depart will suffice.
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.
Business CategoriesThere are 3 different ways where you can own a business in USA and qualify for an E2 visa.
You can buy and existing and established independent business or a franchise business and inherit a customer base and current financial situation of the business. In this case, you need to do appropriate due diligence to make sure that the business information provided by seller is actual and the business size satisfies requirements of E2 Visa.
If you have a business idea and carry the skills and expertise to execute the idea, then you may establish your own business in USA. Establishing your own business is more entrepreneurial and have potential for higher returns in future.
For the entrepreneurs who have a limited small budget to establish a business in USA then in my opinion starting your own new business is the best idea. All the initial investment of the business can be controlled and regulated as per the business plan and hence can be justified as substantial to run the business.
If you are afraid from the uncertainties and risks associated with opening a new business in a new country and specifically United States and prefer to minimize the risk of losing the investment by taking a more reliable route. Franchises are recognized as “already established business models” which most of the time has been “successfully tested” by the franchisor or through other franchisees in the U.S.
There are hundreds of low or medium cost franchises available in US market which ranging between $80K to $120K which has tried and tested business model and perfectly matched with all E2 business investor visa requirements as well.
However, in all the business options, it must be kept in mind that as one of the prerequisites of E2 program, major portion of the investment amount has to be invested or in the process of investing into the business and must be on RISK. Which means in case of visa refusal, if any, the investor has to be ready to bear the losses as the amount invested towards establishing the business up to the qualification criteria may not be recovered.
Nature of Business
Selecting the nature of business is a decision which the investor has to take very carefully. There can be various factors which can help to decide which business is most suitable for an investor to start;
- What is your education and qualification?
- What is your current experience?
- What expertise do you have?
- What business you can manage well?
- How much is the investment you want to make?
Investment amount is absolutely depending on the nature of business. Officially there is no minimum amount required by govt. In general, if you choose to start any services business it can be around $50,000.00 and for any Retails or Consumer Businesses it must be around $100,000.00 or more.
- IT Consulting & Web Development
- Marketing Agency
- Maid Services Company
- Car Wash & Detailing Services
- Courier & Delivery Services
- HR Recruiting & Consulting Firm
- Event Management
- Senior Care Business
- Gas Station
- Convenience Store or Grocery Store
- Restaurant or Café
- Laundry Shop
- Gift Shop
- Mobile Shop
- Trading Business
E2 Visa Preparation & Process
After all the initial consultation and understanding of E2 visa program you need to hire a business consultant first to fulfil all the requirement of business acquisition and who may coordinate with registered attorney at law for petition filing.
Choose the business model which you want to execute, and have it discussed with the consultant.
Connect with the seller or franchisor to start the business bargain in case of the existing business or franchise or start the registration process of the business with the help of the consultant.
Do a thorough market research and prepare a detailed and extensive business plan.
Register the Company and Obtain Tax Identification Number (EIN)
Open a Business Bank Account and Transfer the funds to USA and finalize the business deal.
Connect with attorney for application preparation.
Submit the petition.
Be ready for the RFE (request for evidences) form USCIS and an interview in case of consular processing.
Visa approved – enjoy your American Dream
If Visa Rejected – Explore the appeal options or take decision on the business to run or wind up.
Visa Application Processing Time
Depending on the scope of your business, average duration for documents preparation is up to 6 weeks.
US consulate processing time is average around 3 months to review the petition. After approval it takes almost 1 week to get the visa stamp on the passport.
USCIS offers Premium Processing with an extra fee which reduces the processing time to 15 days.
Initial Documents Requirements
- Completed application form
- A color photocopy the passport
- Latest updated resume
- Attested copy of Birth Certificate and Marriage certificate
- Attested copy of educational certificates
- Business registration documents
- Articles of organization
- Share certificates
- Operating agreement
- Bank Statement
- Income Proof
- Tax Returns
- Audit Reports (if applicable)
How Can We Help?
Idea Validation, Market Research, Competitor Analysis, strategic planning and business launching are some of the services which we render to international investors planning to start their entrepreneurial journey in USA
We don’t leave our Investors alone on their life changing journey but guide and train them on optimum resource utilization and implementation to ensure the business success and longevity
Growth Analysis, Quality and Standardization Audits, Business Advisory & Brand Consulting services help the businesses and new entrepreneurs to successfully launch the business in a dynamic market like USA.
In order to reach the business maturity, we run and manage the whole business, ensure Revenue & Performance maximization and bring the business on top of its niche market.
Our time tested & strategic process of Research, Analysis, Advisory & Management brings the life to the businesses and convert the business ideas into action plan for Investors.
Investment Migration Services
Our determination is to have a result driven outfit that can conveniently address the operational challenges of modern migration. Working in an environment where the procedures and liabilities of investment migration consultants are vague and unreliable, we are working towards giving the different immigration services a new sense of direction that can make it relevant, secure and with a sense order by putting our reputation on the line and being part of your and your family’s future Investment Migration plan.
“Complexity made Simplified”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Should I buy an existing business or start a new?
Existing business for sale must be profitable and have clean tax records to qualify for Investor visa and satisfy all requirements and as a standard market practice such businesses would be valued higher which means the Investment amount must be $100,000 and above to find that business.
While in comparison, starting a new business will not have any goodwill attached to it so it would be much less expensive as compared to existing business.
Which business should I invest?
You can choose and pick any business (literally any) as per your background, experience or expertise. Please be reminded that the business category should be the one which you must comfortable with, as you must run and manage it for future.
Do I have to invest the money or just put it in the bank?
As a mandatory requirement of E2 visa application, funds must be from the legal source and committed towards the E2 business. Which means you must spend and invest the major portion of the funds before the application.
What will happen to my investment amount if the visa gets rejected?
If by anyways your E2 petition is rejected or refused, you still own the business which you have created or bought. You can hire employees to manage the business or sale it and recover your investment amount.
However, in some of cases of buying a business, depending on the seller arrangements with seller, you can put the funds in escrow account for a limited time period with a condition of E2 approval. This might be beneficial for you to minimize the risk of losing a major investment in case of denial.
How would I have to transfer the funds and where?
as a mandatory requirements of E2 funds should have a clear proof of funds (which can be your income, saving, sale of asset or property, inheritance, personal loan or gift) and it must be transferred to USA via official banking channels to match the money trails.
So, once you start the process, you open a corporate bank account in USA and transfer the funds to that account for future expenses. The account operations will be in your control so will be fully secured.
What are the conditions of E2 visa renewal/extension?
You must be able to show that you have maintained the terms and conditions of your E-2 status and the business is meeting its objectives.
Where would I apply for the E2 visa application?
You can apply for E2 visa at a US Consulate at the country of your lawful residence (Consular Processing) or do the Change status to E2 visa status while lawfully present in the United States (Change of Status).
How to find / create business if I am not in USA?
We as business consultant and your representatives can do all the work to find the business, negotiate with the Seller or Create a new business from the scratch on your behalf by having a Power of Attorney. (PoA).
Can I sponsor my family on E2?
You can sponsor your wife and kids under age 21 years as E2 dependent visa and your spouse may obtain a work authorization too. So, she can work anywhere if she wants.
How to Go from an E2 Visa to Green Card?
The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa category. This means that the E2 visa is temporary and does not directly lead to a green card so in order to qualify for a green card you might need to qualify for a separate immigration procedure.
Following are some of the options to qualify for a green card program;
- EB-5 Green Card – one of the best routes towards the green card is to qualify for EB5 as most of the E2 requirements including the investment amount and job creation can be counted towards the EB5 contribution.
- Family Based – your US citizen close family members can sponsor your green card petition.
- Spousal – You may qualify for a green card if you enter into a legitimate marriage with a US citizen.
- Employment Based – You may qualify for a green card if a US company offers you a job and sponsors your green card. Or even if your spouse is a working and that company is ready to sponsor your spouse Green Card.
- EB-1A – The EB-1A visa is for people with “extraordinary ability.”
- EB-1C – The EB-1C visa is for people considered as “multinational managers and executives.”
- EB-2 – NIW – With a National Interest Waiver, you can apply for an EB-2 visa without a US company sponsor.
What can be considered as Source of Funds?
- Personal income with income proof
- Business loan secured by applicant’s assets
- Unsecured business loan with investor’s signature
- Amount received from the sale of property or assets with sales proof
- Inherited money
- Gift money
Can I work in my own business as a visitor?
The straight answer is No. Unfortunately, if you are visiting USA on B1, B2, ESTA visa waiver or Canadian visitor, you are not allowed to work for your own business. Only things which you are allowed to do is to make investment related and/or business setup activities.
Difference between working or doing business setup activities?
Work related activities in general are day-to-day business operations activities that are required to keep a business running such as selling or customer service.
While the business setup activities are more of business regulatory work, infrastructural planning and design and preparing the strategies and documentations.
As an example; if your business is a coffee shop, you may establish and construct the café but cannot serve the clients or work as cashier.
What are the business activities allowed on Visit Visa or from Overseas?
- Finding a business opportunity
- Business set up and registration
- Opening a business bank account
- Hiring an attorney
- Attend meeting and seminars
- Consult with business associates
- Negotiate a contract
- Lease an office or workplace
- Hire US employees
Do I need to have business experience to qualify for E-2 visa?
In order to secure your E-2 visa it is always helpful to have relevant business experience. However, if you have a good business plan clearly outlining your ideas from all business perspectives like operations, marketing, and finances showing your precise planning and preparation, you can overcome the deficit of lack of experience.
Do I have to hire U.S. employees in Order to Get an E-2 Visa?
There is no required number of U.S. workers that have to be hired to work in the business but usually the business should employ at least some employees in the U.S. as reasonably necessary for the business to operate.
Does an Investment in Real Estate Qualify for an E-2 Visa? Can I buy a Home and get an E-2 Visa?
No. The E-2 Visa can be obtained by either purchasing an existing business or creating a new business in the United States and the business must be an “active” business. This excludes passive investments like real estate or owning stock.
How many partners can join in the business?
there can be maximum of 2 partners with 50% shares each can join the business and sponsor their families for E2 Visa.
I don’t have any knowledge of US market, so will it be difficult for me to run a business?
We don’t leave our clients alone on their life changing journey. We offer business accelerator program we assist and guide in training, advising and even managing your business until you become confident enough to manage it yourself.
What all services do we offer?
We as business consultants offer a complete range of services from scratch till end including but not limited to;
- Business Planning
- Finding a suitable business as per your requirements
- Establish a new company and set up the whole business
- Application preparation
- Appointing an attorney
- Business Advisory
Is there any guarantee for E2 visa approval?
E2 visa approval is on the sole discretion of the adjudicator reviewing your petition and nobody can ever give any guarantee of approval. However, hiring a qualified business consultant and competent immigration attorney at law can minimize the risk of denial because of experience and expertise.
What is our Service Fee and when is it paid?
Our service fee for Business Consulting is depends on the scope of services. However, 50% of any fee to be paid at the time of signing the contract and balance 50% at the time of application submission.
For a complete business accelerator program package, pls contact us.
What is the next step?
Sign the service agreement, pay the initial fee and we start preparing the business visa application.