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 U.S., 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. The list of countries, which qualify, is listed in Appendix 4 for your review.
For those readers seeking an E-2 visa, the “good news” is that recent foreign investment in the U.S. has generally been strong. In 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data, foreigners invested over $144 billion. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many state and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. This chapter will outline the steps necessary to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor visa.
WHAT DOES A TREATY INVESTOR VISA APPLICANT NEED TO SHOW?
- Most importantly, that he or she does not intend to permanently live in the United States. In other words, he or she has to demonstrate a non-immigrant intent (for example, offer proof of a foreign residence that the applicant has no interest in abandoning).
- Proof that the investor, whether an individual or a corporation, is a national of or a company in a Treaty country. For example:
- o Lists of investors with current status and nationality;
- o Company stock certificates;
- o Certificate of ownership issued by the commercial section of a foreign embassy;
- o 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 intend to purchase a gas station in the U.S.. 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 U.S..
- 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 “significant investment”. Based on 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) to qualify for the E-2 visa.
- Some of the current documents reviewed by the U.S. 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 firm);
- 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, which are vital to running the business. 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.
For a list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, please see below:
E-1 TREATY TRADER VISA:
Ethiopia, Liberia, Togo
Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, South Korea , the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand
Costa Rica, and Honduras
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
The Middle East:
Brunei Darussalam; Iran, and Israel, and Jordan, and Oman, and Pakistan, Turkey
Canada, and Mexico
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Suriname
E-2 TREATY INVESTOR VISA:
Cameroon, Congo ( Brazzaville/cloth )and the Congo (Kinshasa/Jin), Liberia, Morocco and the Egypt, and Ethiopia, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia
Bangladesh, Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand
Honduras, and Costa Rica, and Panama
Albania Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Estonia, Finland,
CAN MY SPOUSE AND CHILDREN ACCOMPANY ME TO THE U.S. ON AN E-1 VISA?
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 U.S. Immigration approves their dependent visa.
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 U.S. 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 an 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