The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, more commonly called the E-2 visa, is the visa category most relied upon by individuals that purchase or create a business in the United States. If you’re planning to relocate to the US to work hands-on in this business, it’s likely you have either received or are seeking E-2 visa approval for you and your family.
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant, temporary visa for nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation who desire to go to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
The fact that you are investing in a start-up business or purchasing an existing business or franchise is not on its own enough evidence to demonstrate that you may qualify for an E-2 Visa. A crucial part of any application is a comprehensive business plan that clearly provides USCIS all of the information that they need in order to ascertain that your petition meets the criteria for approval for an E-2 visa.
There are several important criteria by which an E-2 visa application will be assessed. The most important of these as they relate to your business plan include:
Invest in a Bona Fide Enterprise - The E2 visa requirement is that you invest in a bona fide enterprise. A bona fide enterprise is defined by the immigration authorities as “a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit”.
National of a Treaty Country - The investor must be a national of a treaty country. Treaty countries currently include:
Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Congo, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
Investment is "Substantial" - A substantial investment is determined by the proportion of funds being invested compared to the total cost to develop the business to the point of being operational. Therefore, no minimum investment amount is specified in the regulations but the investment must be “at risk” and dedicated to the development and growth of the U.S. enterprise. More often than not, the majority of the required investment funds have already been invested or otherwise "irrevocably committed" at the time of application. The percentage of investment that is irrevocably committed to a comparatively low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
In terms of establishing some kind of minimum investment amount so those considering an E-2 visa can budget accordingly, we have worked with several clients that have invested between $50,000 and $90,000 and been successful in obtaining their E-2 visa. With that said, the larger the investment, the greater the chance of the application being successful. An investment of $100,000+ will stand a much better chance of being approved for E-2 purposes, all other things being equal, than an investment that is less than $100,000.
Satisfy the Marginality Requirement - The investment enterprise cannot be marginal. A marginal 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 his or her family. 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.
The legal Statute does not mention employees but does explicitly state that the E-2 business cannot be set up just to support the investor and family, which in essence means that the E-2 entity must hire U.S. workers. Showing in the visa application that you will hire or have hired full-time employees (W-2 employees) greatly increases the probability of success of an application, especially since President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American executive order in April 2017.
A well-written business plan is the best way to provide USCIS with all of the information that they need in order to ascertain that your E-2 Visa petition meets the criteria for approval. At Continuous Business Planning, we understand the USCIS’ E2 visa requirements intimately. Not only have we created dozens of E-2 Visa compliant business plans for clients but we have also completed the process ourselves since key members of our team are E-2 visa holders themselves.
Trust Continuous Business Planning to provide you with a comprehensive, professionally written E2 Visa Business Plan that helps you to achieve your goal of living and working in the United States. The business plan we create with you will exceed the USCIS requirements for supporting evidence and will provide you with the insight you need to hit the ground running in your business as you start to live your American dream.
Don't entrust something so important to a "here today, gone tomorrow" business consultant that you find on Fiverr, Upwork or some other freelancer platform, who most likely disappear as soon as their payment is released from escrow. The application process can last several months and ultimately the business plan needs to stack up with the visa application. We will work with you and your lawyers for as long as it proves necessary, continuously updating your business plan as required by you and your immigration attorney right up to the day you receive E-2 visa approval.
We will even help prepare you for your interview, to which you should expect to be invited 4- 6 weeks after submitting your application and business plan to the US Embassy, if you need it. In this interview, you will be questioned about the information you have provided about yourself and the business in these documents. Your business plan will be scrutinized to ascertain the degree of economic benefit your business would bring to the US market and you will need to be comfortable being challenged on the content of the business plan, and explaining how you will grow the business as you have outlined both before and after you arrive in the US.
Engage the services of Continuous Business Planning and watch us hold your hand from the beginning to the very end of the E-2 visa application process. Nobody works harder for your visa success! For a free, no-obligation initial consultation, contact us today.