Starting a successful business in the United States is one of the world’s most cherished aspects of the American Dream. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers different paths entrepreneurs can go through to make their dreams come true.
In this article, you will discover whether a foreign entrepreneur can open a limited liability company (LLC) on an E-2 visa.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa – Understanding the Eligibility Requirements
The E-2 visa offers nationals from certain countries the chance to open a business in the United States upon meeting specific conditions with USCIS. To qualify for the E-2 category, a successful applicant must fully comply with the following eligibility criteria:
- To be a national of a treaty country
- To have invested (or be actively in the process of investing) a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US enterprise, and
- To be seeking entry to the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise
The term “treaty country” encompasses countries:
- With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or
- Which have been deemed qualifying countries by legislation
E-2 investors must show at least 50% ownership of the proposed business or possession of operational control in the company through “a managerial position or other corporate device.” There is no specific cap to determine the minimum investment amount eligible for E-2 classification. Instead, USCIS requires that the investment must be:
- “Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
- Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
- Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial”
Can I Open LLC on E-2 Visa? – The Verdict
As long as they meet the criteria established by USCIS, E-2 investors can freely opt for opening a limited liability company (LLC) in the United States. An E-2 enterprise must be “a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.”
USCIS specifies that the investment must be “at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.”
Also, USCIS requires that E-2 LLCs meet all the “applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.” For example, if an E-2 investor chooses to start an LLC in Florida, it is crucial to follow all applicable state laws, such as:
- Registering with the Department of State
- Filing Articles of Organization
- Determining whether the company will have a sole member (owner) or multiple members
- Paying the applicable fees
- Issuing membership ledgers and certificates (if applicable)
LLCs allow E-2 investors to save the time spent on corporate formalities and focus on strengthening the business operations, expanding its customer base and profitability.
Do You Want to Open an LLC on E-2 Visa? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado
An experienced legal advisor in US immigration and business law, Attorney Romy B. Jurado willingly wants to help you succeed. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for an individual consultation.