Invest in a US Company - Get a Visa

E-2 Investor Visas -- Options and Strategies

The US economy turns on constant inflows of new investment – including, and especially, non-US investment. Subject to a number of caveats, the US offers visas to foreign investors (and their same-country designees) who invest a substantial, controlling investment in a commercially viable US company. The visa is called an E-2 investor visa and it is based on the existence of a commerce and navigation treaty between your home country and the US.

Let us assume that:

  • You are a citizen of Atlantis

  • You seek to invest in a US company called Newcorp

Here is a summary of the key facts about E-2 visas

  • There must exist the right sort of treaty between the US and Atlantis. Here is where you go to check if such a treaty exists:

  • Many important countries do not have the requisite treaty with the US: Brazil, China, India, Israel and Russia lack the treaty. Citizens of these countries are not eligible for E-2 visas.

  • This application would ultimately be submitted to the US Embassy in Atlantis.

  • You would incorporate a new company in the US – Newcorp.

  • The total investment in Newcorp must be substantial — typically $100,000, but it can be somewhat less, if an accountant agrees that the lower investment level is sufficient to launch the business.

  • Shareholders with Atlantis citizenship must own 50% or more of the investment in Newcorp.

  • A US accountant must confirm that a substantial investment in New Corp has been made.

  • The investment cannot simply sit in a bank account but must be committed to Newcorp’s operations: office (and, perhaps, warehouse) rent, salaries, inventory, equipment

  • You will come to the US to manage the investment.

  • You must prove that Newcorp is commercially viable -- a detailed business plan is necessary.

  • Newcorp must be an active operation.

  • Newcorp must project a plan for hiring people in the future.

  • E-2 visas are issued for up to 5 years and can be renewed. (Typically, investors startup companies receive a shorter initial period, like 3 years. Visa duration can even be less for citizen of countries subject to visa reciprocity rules)

  • If you have an existing company in Atlantis and seek to establish a US subsidiary or affiliate, you may also qualify for the L-1A visa (transferred Executive within an international corporate group).

The E-2 visa process is complicated. You need an experienced lawyer to establish and document a compelling narrative of your US company’s past, its current operations and its future promise.

Contact us!

Kevin M. Dyer

April D. Harris

Dyer Harris LLP

250 W. 57th Street Suite 1814

New York NY 10107


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