Why British Investors in the U.S. Should Have the E2 Visa at the Top of their List
The ties between Great Britain and America run deep, and the E2 Visa is one of the greatest testaments to that fact. With British Investors accounting for over half a trillion dollars in foreign direct investment, the E2 Visa offers an incredible opportunity to reap amazing returns from U.K. fifth-largest trade partner. This post will address some of the most common questions about this unique visa.
What is the E2 Visa?
The E2 Visa permits investors from certain countries to enter the United States to direct and manage a commercial investment. The investment can be directed to an existing business or be used to establish a new one. The E2 Visa is formally known as the E2 Treaty Investor Visa because it is reserved only for citizens of countries like the U.K. that have a commercial or navigation treaty with the U.S. So, by virtue of being a British citizen, you can live in the U.S. economy while pursuing your investment.
Is that All it Takes to Get the E2 Visa?
Citizenship is a baseline requirement, but by no means the only one. In addition to a British passport and other identification documents, your investment must meet all the following requirements:
1. The majority of the business must be owned by you or other U.K. citizens.
2. The investment must be “substantial” enough to purchase, establish, or develop a similar existing business. While there is no exact dollar amount, the safe range is generally between $100,000 and $150,000. Take note, however: even funds of this size may not qualify if they are insufficient for the type of business in which they are being invested.
3. Like any investment, you must have some risk in losing your money, which means any capital you plan to invest in the business must be your own, not some else’s. However, personal loans or gifts can meet this standard if they are ultimately under your control, such as in a bank account under your name. Keep in mind that this requirement means you cannot put up the business itself as collateral.
- Your investment must go to a bona fide business, i.e., a profit-making entity. It is not enough for the business to exist on paper or have a physical location: It must actually be operating and engaging in commercial activity. This not only rules out nonprofit entities, but sources of passive income such as rental properties.
- The business must make enough money to support other employees besides you or your family within five years of entering the country on the E2 Visa.
Another requirement that is not set forth in the E2 regulations, but is valuable nonetheless, is a detailed business plan. This will persuade the government that your proposed investment meets or will meet the above-listed requirements.
How Long is the E2 Visa Good for?
Initially, E2 investors are granted up to two years in the U.S., but if business still requires your attention, you may apply for an unlimited number of extensions in two-year increments. However, you must demonstrate that the purpose of staying is to continue managing your commercial enterprise, and that you ultimately plan to leave the U.S.
So, I Cannot Immigrate to the U.S. with an E2 Visa?
Not directly. The E2 Visa falls under the “nonimmigrant” category, meaning it is explicitly designed for temporary residence. However, while you are in the U.S. on E2 status, you can apply for what is known as an “adjustment of status,” which allows you to obtain a green card and thus reside permanently.
Can I Bring My Family?
Do not worry, you will not have to leave your loved ones behind in the U.K. Your spouse and unmarried children aged 21 or younger can join you as “E2 dependents,” even if they are not citizens of an E2 treaty country. Keep in mind that there is a catch: While they can live in the U.S. for as long as your visa is valid, your spouse cannot work without an employment authorization—which is a separate application—while your children are not eligible for employment (but can go to school).
How Do I Apply?
For all its benefits and advantages, the E2 Visa can be complicated and time consuming to obtain. Each requirement must be carefully met, or else your application can be delayed or even rejected—something you cannot afford if you are seeking lucrative opportunities in America. Fortunately, my team at Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. have helped hundreds of clients from all over the world fulfill their investment goals with the E2 Visa. Just call (305) 921-0440 or email Romy@jflawfirm.com to schedule a consultation.