E2 visa requirements

Speaker: Brian Govoni

Topic: E2 visa requirements

There are several requirements to get an E2 visa. Some of them are very hard and fast, yes and no kind of requirements. Before we would even get started on anything, we would look at those requirements and see if it works or doesn't. Some of the requirements we can control. Some of the requirements are how we move forward. For example, to get an E2 visa you have to be in control of the investment enterprise. We are going to form a company that is going to be a company that is going to purchase the business. In order for you to control the enterprise you have to basically own the majority of that enterprise or in some cases 50% but in most cases a majority. We can control that. if we are going to be the ones forming the enterprise and issuing the shares then that is a requirement that we can control. There are a few of those requirements that aren't worth talking about that much because they can be controlled. They can always be yes. There is really no reason they shouldn't always be a yes. The only other requirement that I would say is in that first category of ones that are either a simple yes or no is that in order to get an e2 visa the applicant has to be a national of a country that we a treaty of commerce and navigation with. There is a big list of countries that we have a treaty of commerce and navigation with. That is a simple yes or no. Either we have a treaty and you can apply or no we don't. It's interesting sometimes to me, some of the countries that are on the list and some of the countries that are not on the list. It's not really a matter of every country that we have a good relationship with is on the list. Similarly, I guess it's not totally true that every country that we don't have a great relationship with is not on the list. There is one notable country that is always worth talking with which is the united kingdom. We do have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the united kingdom but it is really the only one that I am aware of that requires not only that the person be a national of the UK meaning holding a British passport but also that the person be residing in the UK so that is a little bit of a different requirement. Most of the treaties don't require that residing in kind of situation as long as your holding a passport from that country. With the UK for example, if you are residing in the UK and you have a British passport then you are fine and its a simple yes. if you are a UK national who is living in Spain or something like that maybe its not a yes. Maybe at that point its a no. Some of those requirements are things that we have to look at. If you are a national of a treaty country and if it's the UK and your living in the UK on a permanent basis than it would be a simple yes or no analysis. Really the more important requirements are the ones that when I say are simple yes or no or ones that we can control. I guess we can control these also in some way by just making sure that whatever investment that we go for is going to work but really the biggest requirements I would say that people that are specific to the investment that's made not so much specific to the person that the investor. The biggest requirements really revolve around the fact that you have to make a substantial investment in a business. Secondly, that investment in the business that you invest in has to be non-marginal. These requirements are really the reasons why visa cases fail. The other requirements, the things that I said are simple, yes and nos and the ones that we can go down a checklist and say either the answer is yes and no, those typically are not the reason cases fail because you never get to a case if you look at some of those requirements. For instance, if you are not a national of a treaty country then why are you submitting a case in the first place. Those are not the reasons why cases fail. The things that are going to decide whether a case is going to succeed or fail is generally that the investment in the business is substantial and also is the business non-marginal? So really those are the two. Let's focus on those two for a minute. Those are really the two that matter. They are probably also two of the most misunderstood. I am not really sure why. I know for a fact that if you really look at different websites, forums or if you talk to people you run into at the grocery store who have e2 visas who have been told different things over the years by different people, I would say that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about these two requirements. It's not at all uncommon that when I meet with someone for the first time and they are sitting in that chair that they are saying somebody told me I have to invest at least 250 thousand dollars, or I have heard numbers 500 thousand dollars, a million dollars. You do hear a lot of numbers thrown around when it comes to what is a substantial investment. How much money do you have to have if you want to do this in order to buy a US business? The answer really is that there is no bright line test when it comes to the investment amount. Contrary to all of these different things that you see and hear that people tell you. There is nowhere. I would defy any of them to go and find that in the law or in the foreign affairs manual or visa regulations and come and show it to you. There isn't any place where they would find that. There is nowhere where it says that an investment of x dollars is good enough and investment of fewer x dollars is not good enough. In the over 20 years that I have been doing this, we've done e2 visa cases successfully in all the different price ranges. The lowest one we have ever done is 15 thousand dollars. Shockingly, there is not this 250 thousand dollar minimum number that people talk about.