E2 Treaty Investor Visa
E2 investor visa in usa is a non-immigrant visa for investors, entrepreneurs, and those who want to run a business in the United States. With an E2 visa, you can start a US business or invest in a US business and work for that business. The E2 Treaty Investor Visa is for aliens who wish to invest in a business in the United States (US). An example of such an investment is purchasing or opening a business in the US.
E2 investor visa validity
E2 Visas are valid for 2 to 5 years and you have the option to extend it. If the company is still in business and fulfills all the above requirements. Aliens may pursue a Green Card application in any other category. Alien spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old can grant Derivative status and a work authorization Card issued by the spouse (who can work for any employer)
Requirements & Benefits of E2 INVESTOR VISA:
Invest in Business and get an opportunity to
“Live & Work in USA”
There are seven main criteria’s for obtaining an E2 Investor visa (status):
The applicant must be a citizen of a country that has a relevant treaty with the United States
The applicant must own at least 50% of the US business.
The applicant must develop and direct the business (at least during its initial stage, until managers/supervisors have been hired).
The applicant must have made a substantial investment in the US business (and show evidence of that investment before applying for the visa). There’s no legal minimum, but the applicant must be putting his capital or assets at risk, and the amount must be substantial relative to the type of business. Usually for small businesses and start-ups the amount invested by the principal investor should be around $100,000. You will need to provide:
- Business Plan: A detailed breakdown, or spreadsheet, of all funds invested into the U.S. venture;
- Proof of Investment. For example: Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments; Evidence of equipment and/or inventory purchases; Evidence of intellectual property or other intangibles invested; and Evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business;
- If you are buying an existing business, please provide a signed, dated, valid purchase agreement; and, if applicable, a binding escrow agreement that explicitly confirms how the funds will be distributed if the visa is issued, what happens when it not issued, and is signed and dated by all parties;
- If you are purchasing a franchise, please provide a signed and dated franchise agreement, a copy of your franchise disclosure document and evidence of payment of the franchise fee.
- Evidence of how the funds invested into the U.S. venture were acquired in the form of documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, gift, earnings, sale of business, etc.) and evidence that he funds have been moved to the United States.
The US company must be actively engaged in commercial, for profit activities and meet the applicable legal requirements for doing business in its state or region.
- The US business must be more than just a marginal enterprise. The new business cannot be merely a means to support the investor. The underlying goal of the treaty investor visa is to create jobs for US workers.
- The applicant must intend to leave the US when his or her business in the US is completed, although the person is not required to maintain a foreign residence abroad. A statement of intent to depart will suffice.
Family of E-2 Treaty Investors and Employees
Treaty investors and employees may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Their nationalities don’t need to be the same as the treaty investor or employee. These family members may seek E-2 non-immigrant classification as dependents. If approved, will generally be granted the same period of stay as the employee.
E-2 dependent classification
If the family members are already in the United States and want to change their status to or extend their stay in an E-2 dependent classification, they may apply by filing a single Form I-539 with a fee. The E-2 worker’s spouse may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with a fee. If approved, there are no specific restrictions as to where the E-2 spouse may work.
There are 3 different ways where you can own a business in USA and qualify for an E2 investor visa.
1. Buying an Existing Business
You can buy an existing and established independent business. Further, you can also, go for a franchise business and inherit a customer base and the current financial situation of the business. In this case, you have to do appropriate due diligence. Additionally, make sure that the business information provided by the seller is actual. OR the business size satisfies the requirements of the E2 Visa.
2. Open a New Stand-alone Business
If you have a business idea, skills, and expertise and want to execute the idea. Then you must establish your own business in the USA. Furthermore, establishing your own business is more entrepreneurial and has the potential for higher returns in the future.
Certainly, For entrepreneurs who have a limited small budget to establish a business in the USA. Then starting your own business is the best idea. Generally, all initial investments in the business can be controlled and regulated as per the business plan, hence can be justified as substantial to run the business.
3. Open A New Franchise Business
If you are afraid of the uncertainties and risks associated with starting a new business in the United States. Obviously, opt for a more reliable route to minimize the risk of losing investment. Franchises are recognized as “already established business models” which most of the time have been “successfully tested” by the franchisor or other franchisees in the U.S.
Low-cost Investment Franchise
There are hundreds of low or medium-cost franchises available in the US market. Usually ranging between $80K to $120K tried and tested the business models and perfectly matched with all E2 business investor visa requirements as well.
However, for all the business options, it must be kept in mind that a significant portion of the investment amount has to be invested in the business and is at risk. Likewise, this is one of the prerequisites for the E2 visa program. In case of visa refusal, the investor must be prepared to bear the loss. The amount invested towards establishing the business is up to the qualification criteria and may not be recovered.
Investors who have lived in the U.S. for at least 50% of the time in the past five years. Receives their Green Card after maintaining a clean criminal record and acquiring knowledge of their rights. A citizen who fulfills the responsibilities of citizenship and understands US history, values, institutions, and symbols is eligible to apply for Citizenship.
Express Interest in a Business Project
Immigrant investors have to express interest in investing in an EB-5 business project in the United States. Significantly, this can be done through an approved regional center or by starting a new business as an individual.
(Will be completed 2-4 weeks after the start of the Program)
Prove Financial Capability
The investor has to show they have ample capital (investment) to invest in the project. But this investment should be from verifiable and legal sources.
(Moreover, it will be completed within 3-6 weeks of the start of the Program)
Transfer Money into an Escrow Account
Once the investor decides on the project they want to invest in, they have to send $500,000 or $1 million to an escrow account, where it will be allocated to the project. Obviously, when the investor goes through a regional center, the funding contribution is $500,000, whereas as an individual, it is $1 million. (But, Will be completed within 5-10 weeks of the start of the Program)
Filing Form I-526
The investor has to file an I-526 form with USCIS. This form is a petition requesting that USCIS approve the applicant’s application. Still, the applicant's immediate family can apply for conditional permanent residency. (So, Will be completed within 9-14 weeks of the start of the Program)
If the petition is denied, the escrow agent returns the money to the immigrant investor.
(Therefore, will be refunded within 12 - 24 weeks from the date of Decision)
Release of Fund
Once the Form I-526 is approved, the escrow agent releases the amount in the escrow account to the business or project
(Therefore, it will be completed after 62- 92 weeks of the start of the program)
2-year Conditional Permanent Residency
Upon the approval of the I-526 form, they must prepare documents for the EB-5 Visa. They would need to submit for a DS-230 at the National Visa Center and proceed with the formalities at the U.S. Embassy or consulate to physically relocate to the United States.
(It will be completed after 74-108 weeks of the start of the Program)
Filing I-829 petition for permanent residency
After two years, the investor can use the I-829 form to have the conditional status removed from their visa. For this purpose, the investor should show that the investment has created 10 direct full-time jobs for U.S. citizens. If the investor invests through a regional center, the 10 full-time jobs can be direct, indirect, or induced. The investor attains permanent residency in the United States by filing the I-829 petition. after the conditional status of the EB-5 visa is removed. (It needs be completed before completing 92 weeks since acquiring the conditional residency)
After five years, the investor can file an application for acquiring U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
Benefits of US Citizenship through EB-5 Investor Visa Program
Unarguably, this is the prime goal of the majority of foreign investors who apply for an EB-5 visa. The visa permits the investor, their spouse and all unmarried children under the age of 21, a legitimate path to live, work, and study in the U.S.
In many cases, the EB-5 visa can facilitate the path to permanent residence faster than other types of visas and green cards. Additionally, immigrants with an EB-5 visa may be eligible for citizenship in as little as 5 years after achieving permanent resident status.
An EB-5 visa investor essentially acts as his own sponsor. There are no requirements outside the investment in an American business. Neither do they need to be sponsored by any American and group nor do they need to qualify for any level of language proficiency
Though the investment’s chief purpose is providing the investor with an entry and residency to the U.S., the right investment can also lead to profits and further income for the applicant.
Investors have the option to live and work in any place of their choice. Other types of visas, on the other hand, have much more stern requirements, which visa holders must abide by or lose status.
The EB-5 investment visa allows the children of the foreign investors to enroll in school, with access to the same education and higher education as much as a normal U.S. citizen enjoys. This includes access to public and private high schools, college, and graduate schools (including medical school or law school). After their education is completed, children have access to the same professional opportunities as any other child in the U.S.
There are many delays and backlogs for employment and family based green card categories. Contrary to this, there is no backlog for the EB5 Visa Investor category while as many as 10,000 of such visas being issued annual to investors around the world.
After the I-829 ‘removal of conditions’ approval, the EB5 investor and qualifying family members then receive permanent US residency without the need to continuously meet a qualification criteria Like other category visas.
Most regional centers are limited partnerships, if the petitioner is a limited partner under the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, the investor will be considered sufficiently engaged in the management of the enterprise to satisfy USCIS requirement which states that investors should be engaged in the management of the enterprise as opposed to maintaining a purely passive role.