E2 Visa – Joe an LA Film Maker
I am a freelance Director of Photography and have been in the business for maybe 15 years now. I started as a runner and (slowly heh heh) worked my way up.
These days I am wearing a number of hats including doing quite a bit of producing work, without which it would have been very difficult to get the E2 visa. LA is the center of the film business. It really is as simple as that. Someone whom I have worked with referred me to the Law Offices of Chris Ingram. Continued below……
If, like me you are not an established artist or film technician with a string of known broadcast credits and supporting press and awards, getting a visa to work in the film industry is a particularly gnarly problem. The problem is the fundamental freelance nature of the business and so realistically, the only way to do it is to get picked up by an agent who will represent you and will deal with submitting the [O1 Visa] artist visa for you. But, if you are like me and LA is about getting a foot in the door then that approach will be very difficult.
So, in steps the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram. Be warned tough, even with the incredible support and guidance of the team, the route was not a straightforward or cheap one. You have to be really committed to the journey if you are going to take the [E2 Visa] route that I did. Having said that, going for an E2 investor treaty visa as Chris suggested really is a great way to maintain the freedom of a freelance career in the USA.
I now have a company in the US through which I can to an extent do whatever work I want. The E2 visa requires you to invest a ‘substantial sum’ into the book value of a business for which the USCIS will then grant you permission to stay and run. ‘Substantial’ is a totally fluid term dependent upon the nature of the business and cannot be specified by law. In practice, your investment needs to be somewhere in the region of $100k. I told you, this is not a cheap option.
Essentially, what we did was set up a production company through which I co-financed the production of a feature film. Essentially USCIS want to see that you are creating a viable business venture and hiring US citizens in the process. In theory it is as simple as that. In practice though it is as hard as setting up any startup company and protecting your investment therein. The upshot and secondary benefit of committing to a project like this is that is forced me into creating business relationships and now I have a US based feature film under my belt. That in itself has opened a lot of doors.
It is important to have fun with this process as it is complicated and USCIS can, at times, seem a particularly obtuse organization. But in my experience they were very fair and ultimately they do have a system, which allows you to come in and contribute to this society.
I cannot thank Chris and the team enough for all the help and support they gave me in getting to this point. Chris is a very focused and knowledgeable counsel but he is also a lateral thinker and will always be on the lookout for creative solutions.
In setting up a film production company I had to have an actual production to put through the company and that took some time to get right. Chris Ingram is a very real human being. I would definitely recommend meeting him in person to discuss your strategy.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Tel: 310 496 4292
Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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