The U.S. has an agreement with a number of countries called the commerce and navigation treaty. It is business people from these countries who may qualify for the E-2 Investor Visa. Up to date this visa has been particularly successful as an option for U.S. franchises as it has given them the chance to attract investment from overseas.
Requirements for applicants for the E-2 Investor Visa
In the first instance the investor needs to prove that there is a current commerce and navigation treaty in existence between the U.S. and the investor’s country of citizenship.
This information can be found here.
Those who possess dual citizenship with an eligible country may also be able to file an application for an E-2 visa.
Before beginning the E-2 application process, the potential investor must prove that any money that has been set aside for the investment originated from either a citizen or citizens of the eligible treaty country. Defining the nationality of the investment can become quite tricky if it’s not originating from an individual but a company. When it comes to this situation the investment fund’s nationality is determined by what the nationality is of most of the company’s owners.
On making the E-2 visa application there is a risk that the investor needs to take and that is he or she has to provide evidence that the money has already been invested. Before any investment can take place all the necessary arrangements for setting up or controlling the business must have been made as well.
A business with a growth potential is favored for an E-2 investor visa
Not everyone runs a business with the intention of making huge profits beyond what is necessary to support a family. However, applicants for an E-2 visa have to prove that the business they intend to invest in has the clear potential to grow into a far bigger concern. This means a 5 year business plan must be presented which includes:
- The type of business and how it intends to operate
- How the business is going to collect revenue
- How it will add value to the U.S. economy.
Typically, when it comes to making an investment the E-2 visa requirements state that the money set aside for this type of investment must be ‘substantial’ in relation to the overall value of the business. A potential E-2 investor visa applicant should be looking at having funds available to invest that equate to at least two-thirds of the cost of the business. So a business that costs $30,000 should attract an injection of $200,000 approximately before the E-2 visa can be considered.
Active participation in the business is a requirement even though this doesn’t mean other people can’t be hired to run the day by day operations.
The E-2 investor visa attracts a high approval rating
One of the main benefits of the E-2 investor visa is that it has a 93% approval rating. This is significantly higher than other visa categories like the L-1 or H-1B. The statistics indicate that over the 5 years up to 2015 there has been a 61% increase in the issuance of this visa type which attracted 41,162 approvals in 2015. Investors who have achieved approval are spread across the globe but in 2015 Japanese business investors received the highest number of approvals at 12,172, but in recent years investors from Latin American countries such as Argentina are seeing more approvals.
What businesses may be most suited to an E-2 investor visa?
Businesses that offer franchise opportunities vary from fast-food outlets like McDonalds which is the largest global franchise provider, to real estate businesses like Century 21 and hotel chains such as Choice Hotels. These are considered to be good investment opportunities for E-2 investor visa applicants.
The investor’s passport may help too
If your country does not have a treaty agreement with the U.S., like Venezuela and Brazil, this still might not exclude you from applying for an E-2 visa if you have dual citizenship and a passport issued to you by an eligible country.
What about the E-2 visa and President Trump?
So far, the E-2 investor visa requirements fit in well with President Trump’s announcements that people entering the U.S. should be able to support themselves. So this category has not been targeted in quite the same way as the H-1B and student visas. However, the President has an executive order currently in place to ensure immigrants are adhering to the requirements laid down by their assigned visa. This could mean inspectors may visit E-2 businesses more often.