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Answers to Your Questions about E-2 Treaty Investor Nonimmigrant Visa

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Q: I am a citizen of Turkey and I arrived in the United States as a B-1/B2 Visitor. I wish to invest in a business here in the United States. The business I am looking at investing is a small deli selling freshly made sandwiches, tacos, and other fast to produce foods. I wish to own the business 100 percent. I do not have $500,000.00 or more to invest. What kind of visa can I apply for? Please advise the general requirements for the visa.
A: It is possible that you can apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This is a nonimmigrant visa which is valid for two years and renewable every two years for an indefinite period of time provided that you continue to operate and direct the operations of the business in which you have invested and comply with the requirements for extension of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. In order to apply for this visa, the following must be shown: The business must be wholly owned or at least 50% owned by the national of the Treaty country; the investor must hold the nationality of the treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation or Bilateral Investment Treaty between the US and the investor’s country; the investment in the business must be ‘substantial’; the investment funds must come from legal sources and not through criminal activity; the funds must be ‘at risk’; the business cannot be marginal; the investor is there to solely develop and direct the operations of the business in which he has invested and the investor must have the intent to depart the US. In your case, Turkey is an E-2 Treaty country and owning the business 100 percent as a Turkish national will be acceptable. In terms of the investment amount, it has to be ‘substantial”. There is no set amount for what constitutes a ‘substantial’ investment. As a guideline, the relative/proportionality test is employed to determine if an investment is ‘substantial’. It is the amount of investment normally considered sufficient to ensure the likelihood of the business succeeding. The amount of investment will also depend on the type of business. Some businesses will require a higher investment amount that other businesses. The source of your investment can come from savings generated from previous employment, sales of assets, secured loans and even gifts. Non-marginality means that the business must not only generate present and future living for the investor and his or her family but also be capable of providing job opportunities for others. The intent to depart requirement will require that the investor make a statement about his intentions to depart the US.
Q: For E-2 Visa, how do I show that my investment is from savings through employment?
A: It depends on the country from which you come from. Some countries have tax returns which will show the income earned is from employment. For other countries, where tax returns are non-existent, you may have to obtain a letter of verification from your previous employer as to what your earnings were per month and for how long you worked at that job. You will also have to provide bank statements which show that your salary from the employment was credited to the account on a monthly basis.
Q: How to show that the investment will be non-marginal?
A: You will provide a 5 year business plan which will show revenue, expenditure projections as well as employment projections.
Q: My father wants to gift to me $80,000.00 for investing in an E-2 business. Can I use this money for investing? What do I need to provide to prove that the money is now legally mine?
A: The E-2 Treaty Investor in such a case will be required to obtain a letter from the giftor explaining the nature of the gift and that the giftor is not expecting anything back in return and will not have any interest in the E-2 business. The giftor will also have to prove how he or she came across the gifted funds and provide documentation to show the flow of the funds from him to the E-2 Treaty investor.
Q: What kind of paperwork will need to be filed for obtaining E-2 Visa in the US? What is the Filing Fee?
A: The new commercial enterprise will petition for the E-2 investor using Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The petition will include all necessary paperwork about the nationality of the E-2 Treaty Investor documentation evidencing the source of funds and the tracing as to where those funds originated from, documentation evidencing the investment and that the investment is at risk, the 5 year business plan and proof that the enterprise is bona fide and operating. The Filing Fee is $460.00 and if Premium Processing is requested, add an additional $1,225.00.

Disclaimer: Any advice provided in this article is general in nature and not intended to constitute legal advice for any specific case. Please consult with an immigration lawyer about the specific circumstances of your case.
My Bio
Sharlene Sharmila Richards is a licensed Immigration lawyer practicing in Houston, Texas. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000 and is a member of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the US Supreme Court. You may contact her at telephone number 713-623-8088 or by email at srichardslaw@aol.com to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. 


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