Immigration Through Business Investment
Our firm has helped several foreign entrepreneurs open businesses in the United States. Over 65 countries in the world have treaties with the United States which allow citizens of those countries to open businesses in the United States. Conversely, American citizens have the opportunity to open businesses in those countries. In the United States this type of visa is known as a treaty investor (E-2) visa.
An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, but the visa can be continually renewed so long as the entrepreneur continues to operate the business. With an investment of over $500,000 in the business along with the creation of at least 10 jobs, the entrepreneur could qualify to apply for permanent residence.
Although there is no set amount of capital that a foreign entrepreneur is required to invest for the E-2 visa, the amount must be sufficient to open and operate the type of business the entrepreneur seeks to open. For instance, an investment to open and operate a hotel resort would require more capital than an investment to open and operate a restaurant.
The foreign entrepreneur must show that his investment is irrevocably committed to the business. In opening a new business, the entrepreneur will need to spend a sufficient percentage of the investment capital to demonstrate his commitment to the business.
The business must be a real and active commercial enterprise. Indeed, the business needs to generate revenue to cover more than merely supporting the entrepreneur and his family.
Finally, the foreign entrepreneur must show that he will be coming to the United States to develop and direct the business. If the entrepreneur does not have at least a 50% ownership of the business, he will need to use other means to show he has management control of the business.
In regard to a franchised business, franchise agreements restrict how the franchisee may operate the business. As a franchisee, the foreign entrepreneur may still qualify for an E-2 visa, but he must be able show that he retains sufficient management control.
As described above, a foreign entrepreneur must face several challenges in meeting the legal requirements for an E-2 visa along with the challenges of opening a business in a foreign country. Let us help you make your business investment in the United States an intelligent and hopefully, a profitable one.