The E2 Visa
Jacques Bloch - Business Broker Miami
As an introduction, I would like to emphasize that, for all questions related to visas, it is essential to consult with an immigration attorney, who is the only one who can provide precise information and advice on that matter.
Iwould like, however, to provide you here-after with a number of general and factual aspects of the E2 visa that will enable you to understand and see if this instrument can correspond to your project of moving and settling in the United States.
The E2 visa is a visa belonging to the category of “non-immigrant” visas. It allows you to stay and work in the US. It is generally granted for a period of up to 5 years for French and Belgian nationals (4 years for Swiss nationals) and may be renewed indefinitely if the conditions for obtaining it are still fulfilled. The E2 visa does not allow access to the “Green Card” (giving permanent residence status and then, leading to the citizenship).
This « investor’s visa » is linked to a “substantial” investment in an active business. The amount invested must account for at least half of the funds needed to start the business. No minimum amount is mentioned by the administration. Visas have already been granted in the past for amounts under $ 100,000. However, my recommendation is to try to reach and exceed this amount, in order to maximize the chances of obtaining the visa.
The E2 visa is granted to the investor, who decides to move to the US to take up a management or supervisory position within his company. He is only allowed to work in the company directly related to the visa.
The business activity must immediately or quickly generate enough income to sustain the visa holder and his family, if any. It must also create jobs for American citizens. No specific number of jobs is mentioned by the administration, but it is safer to plan at least 3 to 5 jobs created within the five years timeframe. Obviously, the more jobs created by the investment, the easier it will be to obtain a visa.
The whole family may be attached to the E2 visa. The spouse of the E2 visa holder can obtain a work permit and will be able to work and be employed in any company throughout the US territory. Minor children (under the age of 21) can also be attached to the visa and thus be enrolled to any school or university. They do not, however, have the right to work.
Under certain conditions, it is possible to bring in employees coming from the country of origin, under the “umbrella” of the E2 visa (for instance a chef in a restaurant).
The visa application – prepared by an immigration lawyer – is usually sent and processed at the US consular post in the country of origin. An interview with an immigration officer (preferably in English) is part of the procedure. If everything goes well, it takes about 2 months between sending the file and receiving the visa.
For people with significant investment capacity ($ 500,000 and over), another option may be considered with the EB-5 visa. The procedure to obtain this visa is heavier and longer compared to the E2 visa, but it provides access to permanent residency (Green Card).
As noted earlier, only an immigration lawyer can accurately advise you on all these issues.
Many immigration attorney offer their services in Miami and its region. I regularly work with these professionals as part of my relationship with my clients. If you are interested, I can recommend you several of them.