Requirements

01. Citizenship

The United States has signed Treaty of Commerce agreements with 82 different countries. In order to qualify for an E2 visa one must be a citizen of one of the approved countries from the list (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html). However, as is commonplace in many Latin American countries, if one holds two nationalities (dual citizenship) and either is on this list, one may apply for the E2 visa by using that citizenship or nationality.

02. Active Investment

One requirement prior to filing for the E2 is that the funds are already “at risk” or at least “in the process” of investment when you submit the E2 visa application. Most experienced immigration attorneys suggest that the investor should have already started the company and began operations before filing the case in the US embassy. These funds must be committed to a commercial activity, a real ongoing enterprise that produces and generates jobs and benefits in the United States. Being the owner of shares or investing in real estate properties is considered a passive investment, as it does not involve any trade of goods or services to obtain profits, and, therefore, does not qualify as an acceptable E2 visa investment. All such applications will be rejected.

03. Participation & Control

It is not enough to prove that the E2 visa applicant is committed to the business full-time and makes daily decisions, or that he has control over the commercial operations (management, sales strategy and finances). The investor must also demonstrate that he owns at least 50 percent of the company. The investor’s commitment to the business cannot be passive or semi-absentee where he is just a silent partner with little day to day involvement. The E2 visa applicant should demonstrate that the investment is his primary activity in the United States.

04. Relevance of Investment

As explained, the E2 visa requires that the investment is at risk and preferably, that the business is operating when the applicant requests the visa. Although US authorities do not specify a minimum or maximum amount of money, the requirement is that the investment must be “substantial”. Some experts on the matter suggest that you should not invest less than $90,000 USD, while others feel that a good investment that satisfies this requirement is between $100,000 and $150,000 USD. Of course, as introduced before, the visa approval is not only determined by the amount of money, but also the likelihood of business success. This is critically important when the investor makes his decision. Franchised businesses will be able to provide historical data that shows the success rate of their owners, but that will not be the case for an independent startup enterprise.

05. Business Profits

It is important to remember that E2 visa authorities will take into consideration if the investment is marginal or not. The objective is that apart from becoming the main income for the investor, this new venture should also produce an economic impact by creating job opportunities, taxable income and creating growth for the US economy. Many E2 visa beneficiaries start with one franchise business and before the renewal date of the visa, they have already invested in a second or third enterprise. This is one of many reasons why the E2 visa program has proven to be a successful policy with great results in the American economy.

06. Funds Source & Control

It is important to provide information on the origin of the funds committed to the business operation and prove that they are not related to any criminal or illegal activities. E2 visa authorities will typically accept if the investment is the result of a loan that may come from a family member. Other investors may simply demonstrate that the money comes from their own savings or salaries received over a period of time. In any of these scenarios, the applicant must show that he or she has control of the funds, and that the money is at risk.