E-2 Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a citizen of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the USA to live and work in the United States if they plan to invest in a US business.

 

Benefits

  • The visa can be processed in a short timeframe (3-6 months).

  • The E-2 Visa allows for unlimited extensions.

  • You can enter and exit the US freely while on a valid E-2 Visa.

  • Investors may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age.

  • Spouses may work after obtaining an employment authorisation document.

  • Your children may attend school and university provided that they are under 21.

  • Your employees may accompany you, under your E-2 Status.

Requirements

To qualify for E-2 classification, the investor must:

 

1.       Be a citizen of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

The following countries, amongst others, have Treaty Status:

For a full list of Treaty countries please visit the following US State Department website: US State Department website

 
 

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Bangladesh

Bulgaria

Cameroon

Canada

Croatia

Czech Republic

Democratic Republic of Congo

Denmark

Egypt

Estonia

Ethiopia
 

Finland

France

Germany

Grenada

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Latvia

Lithuania

Morocco

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Pakistan
 

Poland

Romania

Senegal

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sri Lanka

Sweden

Switzerland

Togo

Tunisia

Turkey

United Kingdom
 

2.    The investor needs to invest a substantial amount in a US business:

  • You need to prove that the amount you invest is sufficient to ensure that the business will be profitable.

  • The investment can relate to the creation of a new business or the purchase of a pre-existing business. The business must be an operating business that produces goods or services for profit. A passive investment such as a listed investment or cash sitting in a bank account will not meet the requirement of an investment for the purposes of an E-2 visa.

3.    Ownership of the business:

 

  • The investor needs to own at least 50% of the business or have operational control of the business.

  • You do not need to be working operationally in the business on a day to day basis. You may also return to your home country on a regular basis to attend to your local business interests. However you need to be involved in the management, strategy and finances of the business.

4.    The capital that is invested must be “At-Risk”.
 

This means that there can be no guarantee that you will receive a return on investment from the funds that you have invested.

5.    The investor must show that the funds utilised in the investment were legitimately earned.

6.    The enterprise that is invested in may not be marginal. 

 

A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. 

 

Spouses and Children
  • Investors may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age.

  • They do not need to be the same nationality as the investor.

  • Spouses may work after obtaining an employment authorisation document.

  • Children may attend school and university provided they are under 21 years of age, however they cannot be employed.

 

Other employees


Employees of the investor who are required for the purposes of operating the business may also qualify for the E-2 visa.

Investment amount

The minimum investment amount is mainly dependent on your investment requirements:​​

Do you wish to relocate to the US, AND

  • run the business to sustain you and your family in the US, 

  • be operationally involved in the day to day affairs of the business.

 

The recommended minimum investment amount is $150 000

Are you looking for an alternative investment based in the US with a good return on investment, AND

  • you do not wish to relocate to the US,

  • you do not wish to be operationally involved in the business,

  • however you require the benefits of holding the E-2 Visa.

 

The recommended investment amount varies between $250 000 - $350 000 

Types of Businesses to invest in
 

We specialise with investments made in a franchise business in order to qualify for the E-2 Visa as opposed to setting up a new business. These franchise business opportunities span the length and breadth of the US and across all economic sectors.

Advantages of investing in franchise business as opposed to setting up a new business:

  • Simplicity: It is much simpler investing in a well established franchise business than setting up a new business in which there are many more obstacles to overcome especially for a new immigrant.

  • Reduced Risk: As a franchisee, you are investing in a well established brand and business model. You can rely on these factors as well as the operational support of the franchisor in key business functions such as; training, marketing, business development, staffing procedures and supply chain management. This support significantly reduces the business risk of investing in a franchise.

  • The business that you have invested in needs to successfully produce sufficient profit in order for you to be able to be able to renew your E-2 Visa. The risk of business failure is significantly reduced by investing in a franchise as opposed to setting up a new business. Therefore by investing in a franchise, you are reducing the risk of not being able to renew your E-2 Visa because you have not met the profitability requirement. This is of key importance.

Tax Implications
 

The advantage of the E-2 Visa not being a Green Card is that as an E-2 Visa holder you are not taxed on your worldwide income as a US taxpayer which is the case from the moment that one acquires a Green Card. This is a significant advantage in that you avoid the onerous taxation implications that result in the acquision of a Green Card, yet you still acquire residence in the US as an E-2 Visa holder. Furthermore you are able to structure your tax affairs in a much more efficient manner as opposed to Green Card holders which is especially relevant if one holds significant assets outside of the US.

 
 
 
 
E-2 Visa vs EB-5 Investment Visa
 
Description
E-2 Visa
EB-5 Visa
Processing Time
3 - 6 months
18 - 24 months
Who is Eligible
Citizens of E-2 Treaty Countries
Any nationality
Type of Investment
Operating business
Passive investment
Minimum Job Creation
2 jobs for US workers
10 jobs for US workers
Investment Amount
$150 000 - $250 000
$900 000 in TEA
Period of Validity
5 years, renewable, provided that the requirements are met.
• Conditional Greencard is valid for 2 years • Permanent Greencard is indefinite, provided that the requirements are met.
Ownership stake
50% or operational control of an operating business
Not applicable if investing in a Regional Center Program.
Tax implications
Possible to structure how you are taxed: Not taxed on your worldwide income if you spend less than the mandated minimum time (substantial presence test) in the US.
Subject to US taxation on your worldwide income, when you receive your Green Card.
Travel Flexibility
Less concern about maintaining residence requirements in order to maintain your visa.
You need to comply with the residence requirements in order to maintain your Green Card.
 
What we do:

We will assist you with the following:

  • Help you to seek out a franchise business most suited to your needs.

  • Assist you with the investment process.

  • We will facilitate an introduction to an expert immigration attorney, through our well established legal network in the US,  who will assist and guide you through the visa application process.

  • Co-ordinate with your immigration and commercial attorneys to insure that your E-2 Visa requirements are met.

  • We will partner you with the relevant taxation expert in order to structure your affairs in the most efficient way possible.

  • We are your local point of contact with a permanent office in South Africa.

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