E-2 Investor Visa

E-2 Investor Visa Attorneys in Cincinnati

Helping Investors in the Greater Cincinnati Region

With a personal investment of as little as $50,000 USD into your own business, you and your family may be able to live and work in the United States with a work visa.

Here is how it works:

  • Create a new business or invest in an existing business using your personal funds of at least $80,000 USD.
  • Personal funds can come from any legal source, such as savings, gifts or loans from friends and family, or any other legal source that is not secured against the business.
  • Apply for Change of Status to E-2 or apply for an E-2 visa in your home country. Processing times are about eight (8) to ten (10) weeks. Premium Processing is available from USCIS for Change of Status at an additional cost, which will lead to an approval in as little as two (2) weeks.
  • E-2 status will last for up to two (2) years and may be renewed as long as you continue to develop and control your business.

Understanding the E-2 Investment Requirements

Investing in a New or Existing U.S. Business

As a treaty investor, you must be coming to the United States to invest in a new or existing enterprise.
USCIS defines an E-2 investment as the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of establishing a new business venture or purchasing a pre-existing business. In either scenario, you must demonstrate that the capital you are investing is substantial.

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.

Criteria for a Substantial Capital Investment

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 the investment must be.

You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

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Requirement 2 – Investment must be in a bona fide enterprise and may not be marginal

The requirements for a bona fide enterprise are as follows:

  • It is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.
  • It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.
  • It is NOT an idle investment held for potential appreciation in value, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to direct the enterprise.
  • The investor (either a person, partnership, or corporate entity) must have the citizenship of a treaty country.
  • If it is a business, at least 50% must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.
  • The investment must be substantial (enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise), with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. It cannot be a paper organization or speculative/idle investment.
  • It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  • You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.

A marginal (rather than substantial) enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and their family. Depending on the facts, a new enterprise might not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate such income. In such cases, however, the enterprise should have the capacity to generate such income within five years from the date that the treaty investor’s E-2 classification begins. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(15).

Requirement 3 – Period of Stay

Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted.

All E-2 nonimmigrants must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated. Unlike with tourist visas, which require the applicant to demonstrate significant social, economic, and familial ties outside of the U.S., E-2 visa holders simply must provide a statement of intent to return to their home country when their visa expires.

An E-2 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.

Would you like to learn more about your visa options as an investor? Call our E-2 visa lawyers in Cincinnati at (513) 880-9969 today. We can get started with a complimentary case evaluation.

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