HOW TO PLAN AN APPLICATION FOR AN E2 INVESTMENT VISA
E2 investment visas are designed to attract investment into the United States from overseas by approved persons who are nationals of one or another of a number of countries that have a special treaty with the US. As there are a number of special criteria that have to be met before being granted an E2 visa it is advisable for any potential applicant to plan their application well in advance. The advice given below is to help an applicant set out what they have to do before they apply for their visa. Help from a suitably qualified business immigration lawyer is advised throughout the application process.
How much money do you have available?
As an investor you must be able to directly invest a ‘substantial’ amount in a new or an existing business in the US. What ‘substantial’ means is not really specified but it basically means that you shoUd be able to support yourself and your family from the income comfortably and be able to offer a minimum of 2 jobs to American citizens in your business. In practice, you should have at least $75,000 at your disposal and preferably between $100,000 and $200,000. Applying for a loan so that you can use that instead of your own money will not be acceptable.
Decide what sort of business you would be most likely to be successful with
You aren’t expected to have run the same type of business before or even have run any business before but it will help if you have the skills and the expertise to run a business of some type. You must have a business which involves your active involvement. You can’t just invest money and make profit from it without it being an actively run business providing goods or services.
Decide whether you want to start a totally new business or buy a business
It will be best to make this sort of decision after making a personal visit to the US to see what sort of businesses there are and what you think you could do to have an available business yourself. This will influence where you live and if you have any preferences about where you want to live as this will influence what sort of business you choose to invest in
Decide where you want to live in the United States
Visa regulations are the same wherever you decide to live in the US as they are determined federally rather than by each individual state. However, there is considerable difference regionally as to where the best opportunities to set up a business are and the cost of living and any other special features which attract you to that place. It might take one or more trips to the US as a visitor to get an idea of where you think you will want to invest and live while on an E2 visa. You are able to look for suitable businesses, make purchases and sign contracts while still on a visitor visa, but you won’t be able to actually have any part in running a business without the necessary E2 visa.
Get an approved broker to arrange a purchase of an existing business
If you find an existing business which you think first your requirements then it is best to use an approved broker in that state to help with the purchase.
Use a lawyer to help arrange any legal requirements
Once the purchase of a suitable existing business has been decided, it is best to use a lawyer with local exercise of state regulations to draw up any sale contract or lease. Use a certified personal accountant to review the financial records of the business too before any contracts are signed.
Investment has to be finalized before the visa application is submitted
This is the final stage before the application for a visa is submitted and you must be careful to have an escape clause in any contract i.e. allow you to withdraw from the deal if you are unable to get a visa. This is a bit of a delicate balancing act as you won’t be considered for the visa until all financial requirements for the investment have already been committed.
Once you are at this stage, it is time to submit an application for an E2 visa which will involve at some stage an interview with consular or embassy officials in your own home country.