The E-2 Treaty Investor Program is a great opportunity for foreign nationals who are employers in treaty countries. Treaty countries are those with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. In addition to employers, companies may petition to send their employees to the United States with this investor program as well. This opportunity is a financially driven one, which benefits both the United States, and the investor.
Requirements for the E-2 visa program are simple. Chief among them is proving that the money that will be invested comes from a lawfully legitimate source. The United States government wants to ensure that the money does not come from OFAC sanctioned governments, groups, or individuals. If an investor believes that their money is ethically sourced, they don't have much to worry about so long as a paper trail with proper documentation exists. It is important to consult with an attorney during this part of the visa process, as it can make or break your case. Additional requirements include:
- The applicant must be from a “treaty country” as established earlier.
- The applicant has invested, or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of money in a bona fide enterprise in the United States.
- The applicant must also demonstrate that he or she is seeking to enter the United States solely to direct or develop the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.
These are the general requirements to qualify for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, though it is also important to consult the USCIS website in conjunction with this article to fully understand the requirements as they pertain to the specific investor. Once you receive your E-2 Visa, you must follow the rules there after to keep your E-2 classification.
The E-2 Visa qualifies treaty investors and employees a maximum initial stay of two years. If the applicant does not re-apply for another reason for residence, they will be required to leave. All E-2 Treaty Investors are viewed by the USCIS as temporary residents of the USCIS. For this reason, you are expected to leave the country when the status expires.
Even though there are many restrictions and factors to consider—short period of stay, the need to renew every two year, etc.—may be unappealing to some, those looking for a short-term business opportunity may find this program perfect. Even those looking for long-term residence may use E-2 visas as the initial step, then petition for an adjustment of status.
It is advisable to seek legal guidance from our office today as we strive to help guide you with your specific case.
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