Five Reasons an E2 Visa Lawyer Can Help in Phoenix
The E-2 comes with a variety of perks, which include the fact that a person who receives an E-2 can stay in the United States forever and their spouses can also work. An applicant only needs to make a substantial investment to qualify for an E-2 investor visa, but the law does not state a specific minimum dollar amount although at least $100,000 usually constitutes a good E-2 visa case.
Filing for E-2 in Phoenix
The first thing a lawyer can do for you before submitting an E-2 form is to ensure your home country is on the list of approved E-2 visa countries. The United States State Department has a list of countries on its website.
When you do not qualify for an E-2 because your country is not listed, you could still qualify for a second preference EB-2 or the EB-5 program. People may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if they are members of professions having advanced degrees or their equivalents or people with exceptional abilities, and the EB-5 program allows investors to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence card) if they make necessary investments in American commercial enterprises and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified American workers.
Proving how substantial your investment was will be the next major challenge of an E-2 application, and this aspect could be challenging depending on the business you are seeking to start. Some businesses will not require the same investments to start that other businesses will, meaning that a person starting a smaller business might have to invest less than a person hoping to open a restaurant.
One difficult aspect of an E-2 visa is that a person must show that their investment is at risk, meaning they cannot get their money back if they have a change of heart and decide that they no longer want to be in business. Investors must ask themselves whether they should spend a lot of money on a business without knowing for sure that they can even get an E-2 visa or spend less and risk less financially but possibly weaken their application.
An E2 visa Lawyer can help you maximize strategies such as selecting a business with lower startup costs, utilizing escrow accounts, and transferring previously purchased equipment. Many E-2 applicants may have the money needed to make a substantial investment in their bank accounts, but the funds need to be committed to being taken seriously.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines a substantial investment as being an amount of capital that is significant in relation to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one, sufficient enough to ensure a treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise or of a magnitude to support the likelihood that a treaty investor will successfully develop and direct an enterprise. The USCIS plainly states that the lower the cost of an enterprise, the higher, proportionately, an investment needs to be considered substantial.
Another important aspect to an E-2 visa application is that business investment cannot be marginal, meaning it only supplies support for an applicant and their family. An E-2 visa application must pledge support to numerous American workers, and USCIS establishes that for an employee of a treaty investor to qualify for E-2 classification, they have to be the same nationality as a principal alien employer, satisfy the definition of an employee under the relevant law, and be engaging in either the duties of an executive or supervisory character, or when employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
E-2 Income Verification in Phoenix
The United States federal government is going to want to ensure that an applicant’s startup money did not involve illegal activities, so a person needs to usually demonstrate the source of their money. This will mean that you will probably have to prove that you have control over the funds being used for the business.
A common issue that often arises relates to money held in joint bank accounts. In such cases, applicants may have to demonstrate that another person is gifting or loaning whatever interest they have in the funds to you.
An E-2 visa investment could come from money earned over a period of time but it could also come from the sale of a business or property. Loans may also be used for part of the investment, but a loan cannot be secured by the assets of an E-2 business.
The USCIS bona fide business (BFD) process involves proving that an E-2 business will be “a real and active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing some service or commodity.” All of this means that business plans need to be well into action by the time you apply because speculative businesses are not allowed, as every applicant must have everything set up with business licenses secured, permits obtained, and equipment purchased.
Running Your E-2 Company
People who are E-2 visa investors will be required to prove that they are actively directing and developing their businesses in the United States, meaning they are involved in overseeing operations or carrying out the day-to-day activities of a business but are not passive investors playing no active role in business operations. In other words, people who are seeking E-2 visas based on real estate investments are not as likely to get their applications approved.
When an E-2 applicant is an owner of a jointly-held business, they will need to own at least 50 percent of the business. They also need to prove that they will have the ability to control an enterprise despite their shared ownership.
Period of Stay
While the E-2 visa usually means that investors can remain in the United States forever so long as they satisfy E-2 requirements, qualified treaty investors and employees only get a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay in, or changes of status to, E-2 classification can be granted in increments of up to two years, and there is no limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted.
All E-2 nonimmigrants need to maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated. An E-2 recipient may need to verify that they intend to depart the country at the end of their E-2 visa status.
Proving the Investment and the Creation of a Business
People who are starting E-2 businesses will often need to submit many kinds of supporting documents to prove the validity of their businesses. In most cases, you will have to provide proof you paid all professionals, paid a franchise fee, committed money to rent, and purchased all of the necessary equipment.
When it comes to the source of your E-2 funds, you will have to provide documentation showing the origin of your funds, bank statements or wire transfer documents proving that your money was moved into the United States company’s bank account, and documentation demonstrating that funds were used for qualifying business expenses for an E2 business. Other E2 visa business establishment documents can include partnership agreements, articles of incorporation, documentation showing shares, titles, contracts, receipts, and licenses, copies of any signed contracts, business registration documents, advertising invoices, purchase agreements for necessary business expenses, franchise agreements, signed a lease for the business premises, escrow agreement detailing how the funds will be released, software and supplies that your business requires, evidence of paid invoices for necessary services, evidence showing that you have acquired all of the necessary equipment, employment records for any staff that you have hired, copies of promotional materials for the business(brochures, pages from the company website, etc.), and copies of agreements with customers/clients.
An E-2 could also require an immigrant to submit several other USCIS forms. These may include:
- I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker — Some immigrants may have to submit I-129 petitions with Supplement E completed (begins on page 9).
- I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service — An I-907 could be required when premium processing is necessary.
- Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
- Identity information or copy of passport
Things to Keep in Mind in Phoenix
While most people entering the United States on E-2 visas are admissible for two years, the visa validity period varies depending on a person’s country of origin. This means that an E-2 visa may be valid for a couple of months for some while it will be several years for others.
A period of stay may be extended without a person needing to leave the United States through the filing of Form I-129 and supporting documentation. Extension requests for dependents must be filed on Form I-539.
It can also be possible for E-2 visa holders to renew through a United States consulate.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Phoenix E-2 Visa Lawyer
Did you need help filing for an E-2 visa in the Phoenix area or a surrounding community in Arizona? It will be in your best interest to be sure you are working with Diamondback Legal because our firm has a wealth of experience with these kinds of cases and we know how to help people achieve the most favorable outcomes in these types of cases.
Our firm has been universally commended as being a leader in immigration law, so we are confident that we can help you and your family overcome any obstacles you might currently be facing. You can call (602) 584-8938 or contact us online today to set up a free consultation with our Phoenix E2 Visa Lawyer.