E-2 Treaty Investors
E-2 TREATY INVESTOR VISA
The E-2 (Treaty Investor) visa allows an individual to work and reside temporarily in the United States based on investment in a US business. E-2 visas are typically issued for periods of up to 5 years and are renewable indefinitely, but cannot be converted to a Green Card.
Eligibility is based on the following:
- Treaty of commerce and navigation between the country of the foreign national's citizenship and the United States;
- Citizenship in the treaty country by the investor and any personnel seeking a visa;
- Ownership (50% or more) in a trading company by a national or citizen of the treaty country
- There must be an investment in the U.S. in which the investor has made a commitment of funds that represent an actual, active investment (i.e., an operating enterprise producing some service or commodity).
- The investment must be substantial. This is not defined by a specific dollar amount, but is relative to the nature of the business.
- The investment cannot be marginal in nature (one which will support only the investor and his/her family), but should create job opportunities for U.S. workers. There is no written requirement that an investment create employment for U.S. workers, but the business enterprise should require employees beyond the investor in order to operate and show a need for employment of personnel. Income projections for the business should show that it that will assure a living wage for the investor and pay salaries to U.S. workers.
- The person for whom the treaty investor status is sought must fill a key role within the company (i.e., one of the persons who has developed and directed the investment), and have a controlling interest in the company.
Generally, much of the supporting documentation needed for the E 2 nonimmigrant status is included in a letter signed by the company. This letter is drafted by our office according to the specifics of the individual case, and covers both the E 2 essentials as well as the discretionary information which strengthens the application. Information on the size and amount of the investment, the prospects for the employment of U.S. workers, the duties to be performed by the individual for whom the visa is sought, and the qualifications of that individual to fulfil those duties are usually included in this letter.
Additional documentation needed for the E-2 application usually covers the following points:
- Ownership of the company seeking treaty status. This proof usually would be certification of a corporate resolution submitted to show the identity and percentage of ownership of the corporation by the shareholders. A statement from the company's accounting firm may also be submitted showing ownership.
- The type of business in which the company is engaged. The company's Articles of Incorporation would show this, along with brochures, promotional materials, or copies of any licenses required to conduct the business.
- The amount of the investment, including the source of the money. This can be evidenced by loan agreements or bank statements showing transfers of funds from foreign banks to U.S. banks. Funds must be placed into a corporate account in order to be attributable to the U.S. investment.
- The type of financial transactions that make up the investment. This documentation includes receipts for purchases of equipment, real property, start-up inventory, costs incurred in establishing the business and capital improvements, and statements demonstrating the valuation of goods or equipment transferred to the U.S.
- Prospects for the investment. Copies of sales contracts already signed and/or letters showing on-going negotiations should be submitted. In the absence of this hard evidence, a market research study by a professional consulting firm may be convincing on the issue of the company's viability.
- Duties to be filled by the foreign national. The employer's affirmations in the cover letter are generally sufficient. However, corporate personnel materials such as personnel charts or job descriptions which may be available to substantiate the affirmations may be submitted.
- The foreign national's qualifications to fulfil the duties. Should the employer's affirmations in the cover letter cite specific experience or educational background, reference letters (usually from prior employment) should be made available for submission.
- A legal brief tying the documents to the requirements set by statute and State
- Department regulations.
While the general outline for an E-2 application remains constant, there are always variations in the specifics. We should discuss the E-2 option in more detail if it appears to be a reasonable choice for you. Typically, an E-2 visa will be issued for a period of 5 years. An E-2 visa holder will usually be admitted into the US for 2 years, after which time the visa holder must either depart (and re-enter) the US, or apply for an extension of stay. E-2 visas can be renewed. There is no statutory limit on how long an individual can remain in E-2 status.