E2 Visa Requirements

 

GENERAL ELEGIBILITY VISA REQUIREMENTS:

 

  • Must be a national of treaty country (notably Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Pakistan, and many others like Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, but not Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, or China).

  • Must have invested or be actively involved in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a US enterprise

  • No set investment amount in the law, but must make sense for type of business (generally $150,000 or more is accepted as minimum investment)

  • Validity varies by nationality, most commonly 5 years. Duration of stay increases 2 years upon each new entry to the U.S.

  • Must be seeking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise established by proving at least 50% ownership of enterprise or possession of “operational control” through a managerial position or other corporate device.

 

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY VISA REQUIREMENTS – EMPLOYEE OF TREATY INVESTOR:

 

  • Must be the same nationality of the principal alien employer from treaty country

  • Must meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law

  • Be engaged in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or have special qualifications

 

SUBSTANTIAL CAPITAL:

 

A substantial amount of capital is

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one

  • Sufficient to guarantee the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of said enterprise

  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. (Lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher the investment must be to be considered substantial”).

 

E-2 AND FRANCHISE INVESTMENTS

 

Per a study produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 90% of franchise businesses were still open after 10 years compared to only 18% of independent business.

 

With franchise investments, the immigration attorney can describe in a clear way how the money will be spent and make it very easy for the consular officer to understand the requirements to start and operate the business. This is different than certain new start-up business that may not be able to entirely predict their initial investment needs.

 

As with any E-2 investment, the investor must demonstrate that it is an active investment and that he/she is qualified to develop and direct the new U.S. business. The investors may hire subordinate professionals, they must show that they will have hands-on participation in the day-to-day operations. As benefit of investing in a U.S. franchise is that the franchise brand is very engaged in the business and offers guidance and assistance with the business to help with its success.

 

If a franchise has a strong track record of success, consular officers may be more likely to recognize them and look favorably on the application.

 

We find that officers prefer more “traditional” businesses that have a storefront, inventory, and equipment instead of “speculative” ones such as consulting firms.

 

Most franchises are more traditional brick and mortar operations. Franchising business often provide business plans that you can use in an E-2 visa application

 

When starting a franchise business, it often makes sense to create a holding company to operate the franchise through a wholly owned subsidiary. The investor applies for the E-2 visa through the holding company.

 

This way after the E-2 approval if the investor wants to open additional business, he/she can do so without having to amend the E-2 visa application.

 

PERIOD OF STAY:

 

  • Visas are issued for up to 5 years at a time depending on nationality of the applicant

  • No limit to number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted

  • An E-2 nonimmigrant returning from the US with a valid E-2 visa may generally be granted automatic two year period of readmission

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