Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Business Investors – E2 Visa

E2 Treaty Visa Investment Visa Lawyer - Attorney Chris M Ingram - E2 Specialist

When it comes to selecting which business to invest in this can be quite a tricky exercise so it’s important that we discuss various businesses to make sure that the one you choose will sustain your stay in the US for the longest possible period.

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Over the last six months we’ve seen steady and consistent growth in aliens wanting to invest in a US business in order to secure them an E2 visa. The E2 visa is a visa that I’ve written a lot about over the years but the same questions still come up as new people find out about this exciting opportunity. So here is my quick nutshell review of the E2 visa.

Firstly, it’s a visa that is only available to countries that have an E2 treaty with the US. Once it’s been determined that you are from an E2 treaty country, the next issue is how much do you need to invest to qualify. Here, US Immigration (USCIS) has provided a very vague answer. Basically, you can invest what ever it would take to buy a going business or start up a business. There is no minimum dollar investment amount, but before you rush out and buy a lawn mower and say that you’re going to start a gardening route as your E2 business, USCIS are looking for what is called a substantial investment and typically we’re talking $75,000 and up.  That’s not to say that you could not buy or start up a business for less.

Another common question regarding the E2 visa is how long does it last.  E2 visas are typically issued for an initial period of 2-3 years and thereafter you are required to file for extensions every 2-3 years. If the extension is filed through your home Embassy then you may be granted 5 years.

A lot of my clients now are buying franchise businesses that have been trading a while. Franchise businesses are popular because there is a feeling of safety in numbers. If you own a well-established franchise business then you’re more likely to do well than if you started your own business.

Buying a small Business: many people try to buy a business that costs them less than $75,000 and as I outlined above it’s definitely possible to get these investments approved by USCIS. However, in my experience these businesses are the most vulnerable in hard times. For example, let’s say you buy a small business that only really supports the Owner and 1-2 employees, in an economic downturn where cuts need to be made due to less revenues there is barely any room to downsize before you risk losing your E2 visa status. In contrast, if you bough a much larger business that provided an income for yourself and 4-6 employees part-time and full-time, in the event of an economic downturn you could safely downsize to 2-4 staff and still stay within the E2 visa parameters (the owner plus two full-time employees).

When investing in any business you need to buy a business with a built in cushion because economic down turns are as common as economic up swings, therefore you business must have the capacity to expand and contract while keeping you in E2 visa status. Take it from me this is good advice.

When you hire my firm we’ll be on hand to help you evaluate any business you have under consideration. It’s makes good business sense to hire us during the business search phase so we can provide ongoing guidance on various business opportunities and tips on how to evaluate them from an E2 visa worthiness point of view.

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US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Admitted in New York
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
520 Broadway, Suite 350,
Santa Monica, California 90401

Tel: 310 492 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.

General Location: Santa Monica, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Serving all 50 States
Copyright 2010