E-2 visa to the USA – why is this type of visa most convenient for businessmen?

A developed economy, a favorable business climate, an innovative culture and a large consumer market make the United States one of the most attractive countries for doing business. The United States provides several types of visas that allow foreigners to conduct business in the country. In the article we will give a brief overview of popular visas and pay special attention to the E-2 visa (Treaty Investor Visa), its advantages for an entrepreneur, features and conditions for obtaining.

Short review

Most often, when thinking about starting a business in the United States, entrepreneurs pay attention to three types of visas: E-2, L-1, EB-5.

The E-2 nonimmigrant visa allows an entrepreneur and his family members to live and conduct business in the United States. An investment of $100,000 or more is required to apply for a visa. E-2 is an ideal option if an entrepreneur has not yet decided on the need to obtain a Green Card (permanent residence permit), has thought through a business plan, or is ready to purchase an existing business and wants to “take a closer look” at the country. The application review period is from 4 to 6 months from the date of application; preparing a case for submission takes about 2 months.

Expedited processing of the application within 15 calendar days is possible if a petition for change of status is filed in the United States. A change of status is possible if the applicant has been in the United States in legal status for more than 90 days from the date of entry and entered using the passport with which he intends to change status (passport of a country with which there is an E-2 treaty). The status allows you to live and work in the USA for 2 years, can be extended an unlimited number of times for 2 years each, but if you leave, it is lost and to enter in E-2 status you will need to submit a new case to the embassy.

The L-1 visa is issued to foreign specialists who work for branches of companies located in the United States. In other words, this visa is available to executives, managers, or specialists with specialized skills who are transferred to work in the United States by a parent company doing business outside the United States.

The EB-5 visa is part of US immigration policy. It can be obtained by investors who are willing to invest significant funds in business development in the United States and create new jobs. Issued according to a quota, the period for consideration of the application is from 1 to 4 years.

Benefits of the E-2 visa

Along with the fast processing time and high probability of approval, the E-2 visa has other undeniable advantages for an entrepreneur.

All family members who want to receive a visa must apply for a visa. In this case, the condition for approval of visas/change of status for other family members is the approval of the application of the main applicant. The applicant's spouse can work in the United States for any employer, and children under 21 receive tuition benefits. Once children reach 21 years of age, they can stay in the country on a student visa.

By receiving an E-2 visa, an entrepreneur is free to travel around the world. The visa does not impose any minimum number of days you must spend in the country. The same conditions apply to members of his family. Note that if an E-2 visa holder stays in the United States for less than 120 days a year, then no tax is declared on worldwide income.

Depending on the citizenship of the applicant, the visa is issued for a period from 3 months to 5 years, it can be extended an unlimited number of times as long as the business shows good results, that is, generates income exceeding the amount of funds necessary to support the family’s life. If an entrepreneur decides to settle in the United States, he can change the visa type to EB-5 and subsequently receive a Green Card.

Conditions of receipt

To apply for a visa, the applicant must be a citizen of a country with which the United States has signed a trade treaty. Family members are not required to have special citizenship. There is no such agreement concluded between Russia and the United States, so Russians will first have to obtain citizenship of a country included in the agreement, and only after that apply for an E-2 visa.

The second condition is sufficient investment. The law does not stipulate a minimum investment threshold, but states that the volume must be sufficient for the successful operation of the enterprise. In practice, the investment amount starts from $100,000. It is important that the source of the invested money and the route it takes until it is credited to the corporate account of an American company are transparent, and the origin of the investment is documented.

Please note that at the time of applying for a visa, the business must already be running or be 100% ready to open. This means that the necessary licenses and insurance must be obtained, office and/or warehouse space must be rented, employees must be hired, and the necessary equipment, products or goods must be purchased.

The investment can be spent on the costs of starting/running a business, such as renting or renovating an office, office equipment, marketing services, website development and other costs associated with starting/running a business. 

At the time of filing the application, 60-70% of the invested funds must be attracted to the business, that is, spent (debited from the company’s account). The remaining funds may be under contractual obligation.

The third condition is that the applicant must own the business by at least 50%. It is advisable to show the applicant's ownership of the company at 51%. Moreover, if two owners of one company apply for a visa at once, then for each it is enough to indicate an ownership share of 50%.

Please note that to obtain an E-2 visa, it is not necessary to open a business from scratch in the United States. Buying a franchise or a ready-made business is suitable. The main thing is to comply with the condition of owning a share of at least 50% of the company.

The E-2 nonimmigrant visa allows you to open a business in the United States relatively quickly. The low investment threshold compared to other visas and significant advantages make this type of visa especially beneficial for an entrepreneur. To make the process of collecting and submitting documents for a visa simple and convenient, we recommend finding a reliable assistant.

The Antwort Law team knows how to help in this matter. Feel free to contact us!

Vladyslav Makarenko

Managing Partner
Antwort Law

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