We practice exclusively immigration and naturalization law, and the E-2 Visa is our favorite Visa. An E-2 is a type of Visa which will allow you to come to the U.S. to run your own business, or work in a business owned at least 50% by your fellow countrymen. It is perhaps the easiest way to live in work in the U.S. While the E-2 is a nonimmigrant Visa, which means it does not lead to permanent residency, there are no limits on how many times it can be renewed. There is no minimum dollar amount required to obtain an E-2 Visa, although the investment must be “substantial.” What amount is substantial is decided on a case by case basis. We have a good idea what it takes for any particular business to qualify for an E-2 Visa. Compare that to the EB-5 Visa, which requires a minimum investment of half a million dollars.
You can start a new business or buy an existing business. But in most cases it is far easier to buy an existing business. A business that is up and running has a track record that can be used to obtain a Visa. You can hire your own accountant to check the books, examine past tax returns, and talk to current and former customers for feedback. You can personally visit the premises and get a feel for the location, the comings and goings, and guage whether the business is making a profit.
How can you find a business in the U.S. to purchase? We have a relationship with one of the largest business brokers in the U.S., and they have thousands of business listings all over the U.S. There is a business for sale out there that will suit your individual needs, and at the same time qualify you for an E-2 Visa. And since immigration law is federal law, we can represent you in all 50 states of the U.S., as well as all her territories.
You can apply for your E-2 Visa at home or here in the U.S. The U.S. consulate in your home country is normally the place where you apply for an E-2 Visa. But what if you live in one country but have citizenship in another? No problem, you can apply for the E-2 in the U.S consulate in the country you are living in, with the exception of British citizens. They must apply in the U.K. However, there is an exception to this, which is becoming increasingly popular. You can come to the U.S. on a business visa (B-1), and once you’ve found a business to purchase or start, you can apply for a change of status. If granted, your status will be changed to E-2. Additionally, you can request premium processing for an extra fee, and the USCIS guarantees a decision within 15 days. You can apply for E-2 status while in the U.S. on the following conditions:
- you entered the U.S. legally
- you didn’t enter on the visa waiver program for certain countries
- you have never worked illegally
- the date on your I-94 card has not passed
- you are admissible and none of the bars to admission apply to you
Premium processing currently costs $1,225 U.S., and we believe it is worth every penny of it. USCIS guarantees a 15 calendar day processing to those petitioners or applicants who choose to use this service or USCIS will refund the Premium Processing Service fee. If the fee is refunded, the relating case will continue to receive expedited processing. Also, USCIS has also established a special phone number and e-mail address for each of the Service Centers. These special communication channels will be available only to Premium Processing Service customers and their attorneys.
Many types of businesses qualifly for an E-2 Visa. A scuba dive shop, an ice cream eatery, a day care center, a restaurant, an auto repair place, all are examples of qualifying E-2 businesses. But are there businesses that we know won’t qualify? Yes, and these are businesses to avoid. Your investment must be in a bona-fide, active business. This means that buying passive businesses for investments purposes simply won’t qualify for an E-2 Visa. Therefore, businesses such as holding companies for real property or stocks and bonds won’t get you qualified. The business must be one which requires almost day to day supervision and management. And the business must provide more than a marginal income for you, and your family if they are also under your Visa. We know what businesses will qualify for an E-2 Visa, which ones are marginal, and which ones to avoid.
You can bring your spouse. And you can bring your children under the age of 21 as well. Your spouse can work at any job in the U.S. with a work permit, which are customarily given. Your children cannot work, but they can attend school in the U.S.
Call us or email us. We will get you on the fast track to live and work in the U.S. with the E-2 Investor Visa.