The current United States temporary immigration ban introduced by President Trump has limited entry for most foreign nationals who depend on visas such as the L1 and H1B for work permits. While the ban did not affect programs such as the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, the E-2 was also one of the visas excluded from the ban. Under the E-2 visa, nationals from countries which maintain a treaty with the U.S. can apply to obtain a visa with which they can live and work in the U.S. Therefore, the E-2 visa provides an alternative immigration option for foreign nationals to enter the U.S.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) defines the E-2 investment as the “investor’s placing of capital to establish a new business venture, or purchase a pre-existing business.” The overall key requirements state that prospective investors must be entering the U.S. for the following reasons:
to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the U.S. and the treaty country; or
to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.
When prospective investors are deciding whether to file a petition they must ensure that they qualify for the E-2 treaty investor visa and further understand that this visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign entrepreneurs. Through understanding the key requirements of the visa the prospective investor will be able to make an educated decision. To qualify to file a petition the investor must have the following:
The investor, whether individual or corporate entity must ensure that they hold citizenship of a treaty country.
The investment must be substantial to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. This means that the percentage of the investment must be, at a minimum, that of a low-cost business enterprise.
The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. This means that the enterprise must be offering a tangible good or service.
The investment must generate significantly more income than needed to provide the prospective investor with a minimum living expenditure, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
The prospective investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. This means that the prospective investor must be irrevocably committed to the investment.
The current immigration ban has undoubtedly forced employees to obtain alternative options for their employees to enter into the U.S. and the E-2 visa has proven to be a viable option. The flexibility of the E-2 treaty investor visa allows for employees of an investor scope to apply for a visa. However, they must meet these requirements:
The employee must be a citizen of the same treaty country as that of the principal E-2 investor.
The employee must qualify as stated in the definition of “employee” in the U.S. legal code.
The principle E-2 investor must be able to prove that the employee is necessary for success of the business.
It must be noted that the E-2 treaty visa is a renewable visa and is not a route to a U.S. green card, residency or passport. The visa is a work permit that allows both the principal investor and employees to be accompanied by their spouses and children who are under 21 years of age.
Our team of U.S. licensed lawyers now offer E-2 treaty investor visa services. We are leading specialists in the U.S. immigration industry in Dubai with over 10 years of experience. Contact us for your free consultation.