By Tishita Agarwal
If you are looking for a visa that will allow not only you, as an investor in an US business, but also your family and employees to enter the US, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa might be the right fit for you. The E-2 visa is a long term non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals investing in an US business to direct and develop the business while living and working in the US.
One of the main advantages of the E-2 programme is that there is no minimum threshold for the amount of money that must be invested – it should just be substantial. This means that it should be enough to ensure the investors’ continuing interest in developing and running the business. It is a requirement, however, that the business should be fairly profitable in the duration of your stay, should employ people and create income. Thus, passive investments in stocks or property will not qualify for this programme. The business also must be registered as an E-2 Treaty Investor business before you apply for an E-2 visa.
Since this is a treaty investor business, only citizens of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation can qualify for this programme. If the business is owned and managed by individuals of two different E-2 eligible countries then both may be able to enter the US under this programme. The list of countries that are eligible for the E-2 programme can be found here.
Employees and Dependents
While there is no minimum amount set for investment, it is a requirement that the applicant should own at least 50% of the business. However, another advantage if this programme is that in larger businesses, it is possible for employees with managerial, executive, or essential skills to be allowed entry. While some employees may prefer to travel on the L-1 visa as there are higher chances of acquiring a green card in the future, it can also be beneficial to travel through the E-2 programme as you do not have to show employment of one year prior to the application. Along the same lines, spouses and children under the age of 21 can also accompany you to the US via the E-2 dependent visa route. While your spouse can also be allowed work authorization dependent on their visa, children will not be qualified to obtain a work visa. However, they can attend the school of their choice, and in some states, also qualify for in-state tuition.
Duration of stay
When you first apply for the E-2 visa, if it gets approved, it directly gets approved for two years, but the visa can be extended indefinitely as long as the business continues to operate as relatively profitable. Furthermore, during your stay, you can live outside of the US for an indefinite amount of time if you may choose, and can re-enter the country at any time while your visa is still active. This is an advantage that most visa programmes do not have – you would otherwise be required to live in the US for at least a certain period of time, and would not have as much freedom to travel as the E-2 visa programme offers.
An often overlooked advantage of applying for the E-2 visa is that you get to work for and develop a business that you have invested your money in. Since the E-2 visa needs for you to own at least 50% of the business, you get to make your own decisions regarding how to run the business, which is not a luxury a lot of investors applying for an EB-5 visa through a regional centre get.
What if I am not from an E-2 country?
Only people from E-2 Visa Countries are eligible for an E-2 Visa. But if you would like to apply for E-2 and you are not from an E-2 Treaty, you can do so by first becoming a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country. Click here to learn whether your country has an E-2 Treaty with the US. Davies & Associates is experienced at offering this two-stage process to the E-2 Visa. The fastest and most cost-effective way to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country is via the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme or Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Program. Both countries offer citizenship within a matter of months starting from $150,000 for a donation and $220,000 for an investment in Grenada (Turkey’s program is slightly more expensive – click the links for full details). Another alternative could be the L-1 Visa. Please contact us for a consultation to explore all your immigration options.
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