E-2 Treaty Investors
Do you want to make an investment in the U.S.?
Does your company want you to travel to the U.S. to make (or supervise the making of) an investment?
If you answered “Yes” to either question above, there is a visa just for you! Foreign investors looking to make a substantial investment in the United States, look no further. If you’re from a Treaty country, you may be able to apply for an E-2 visa to enter the U.S. It would be a good idea for the reader to ensure that you are a national of a country who qualifies for an E-2 visa.
For those readers seeking an E-2 visa, the good news is that foreign investment in the U.S. has been generally rising for the past five years. In 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $160 billion. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many state and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. The content below outlines the steps necessary to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor visa.
What does a Treaty Investor visa applicant need to show?
That he or she does not intend to permanently live in the United States. In other words, the applicant has to show that he or she has non-immigrant intent (for example, offer proof of a foreign residence that the applicant has no interest in abandoning).
Proof that the investor, whether a real person or corporation, is a national of or a corporation in a Treaty country. For example:
- Lists of investors with current status and nationality;
- Company stock certificates;
- Certificate of ownership issued by the commercial section of a foreign embassy;
- Reports from a certified public accountant (CPA).
Proof that the investor invested in or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in the enterprise. For example, you are intending to purchase a gas station in the United States. You have entered into a contract with the purchaser and have made a deposit, which is being held in escrow until you get the visa approved. This proves that you are in the process of purchasing the business and you may qualify for the E-2 visa, because you are investing in the United States.
Since it’s required that the applicant’s investment (or the applicant’s company’s investment) be ”substantial,” the question arises as to what constitutes a ”substantial investment.” Based upon the author’s analysis, most applicants (i.e., individuals or companies) considering this visa should be prepared to invest at least $150,000.00 to $200,000.00 (USD) in order to qualify for the E-2 visa.
Some of the common documents reviewed by the United States Immigration are:
- Copies of partnership agreements;
- Articles of incorporation;
- Payments for the rental of business premises or office equipment;
- Business licenses;
- Company stock certificates;
- Office inventories (goods and equipment purchased for the business);
- Insurance appraisals;
- Annual reports;
- Net worth statements from a certified public accountant (CPA);
- Advertising invoices;
- Business bank account statements containing funds for routine operations;
- Funds held in escrow.
If the applicant is not the investor, but a supervisor or executive of the firm, he/she must have highly specialized skills that are vital to running the firm. Proof must be provided, such as:
- Certificates, diplomas or transcripts;
- Letter from employers describing job titles, duties, operators’ manuals, and the required level of education and knowledge.
Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify under this category.
Can my spouse and children accompany me to the U.S. on an E-1 visa (treaty traders)?
Yes, your spouse and children under the age of twenty-one can accompany you to the United States as dependents. Your children can go to school in the U.S. once their dependent visa is approved by U.S. Immigration.
Can my spouse and/or children legally work/study in the United States while staying with me in the U.S. on an E-1 visa?
Yes, your spouse and children can work in the United States upon receipt of employment authorization from U.S. Immigration.
How long can I stay in the U.S. with an E-2 visa?
The initial period is for two (2) years. If an extension is filed and granted, it is usually in 2-year increments. There are no limits to the extensions for an E-2 visa.
If your goal is to make a direct investment in the United States (either for you or your company), and if you belong to an E visa Treaty country, then application for this visa is strongly recommended. You do not need a sponsor and you can invest money and settle in the United States until the validity of the E-2 visa expires. As mentioned in the last chapter, the E-2 visa can (like the E-1 visa) be extended indefinitely, provided you demonstrate your non-immigrant intent and ability to continue to invest and do business in the United States.