E Visas are a popular nonimmigrant visa to the United States, giving foreign investors and entrepreneurs the chance to work and live in the U.S. As a nonimmigrant visa, the E investor visas do not provide a direct path to permanent residence, however E visa holders can hold an E status for an extended period and, if the business and investment grows, the investment could lead to a permanent residence status through the EB-5 investor program.
Investor visas are unique because they are the only truly entrepreneurial visa that gives foreign investors their chance at the “American Dream” – to start a business and make a go of it using your skills, your grit and your determination.
To help investors and entrepreneurs who are interested in applying for an E Visa, we have put together a list of 5 Things You Must Do Before Filing for an E Visa.
Investment Visa Checklist – What You Need to Do Before You Apply
Make sure you are from a Treaty country
The E visa is limited to only those countries with an existing treaty with the United States that specifically allows for and encourages investment and/or trade with the United States. For a complete list of Investor Visa Treaty Countries, click here.
Determine the Right Legal Entity for your Business
Investors and entrepreneurs need to determine the legal entity of the business they will run – whether it will be a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Depending on the type of business, there will be unique criteria for establishing the legal entity of your business. Typically, we recommend investors and entrepreneurs contact a business attorney to establish the legal entity of their business, and we are happy to provide a list of attorneys we know will help set you up for success.
Set Up Your Business
Part of your visa application will require a detailed business plan that takes into consideration what it takes to run a successful business. You will need to present your business plan, establish a business bank account and have a plan to or proactively rent or purchase office space and equipment. If you are a planning to invest in a franchise, you will need to present financial information about the business in previous years, and your purchase agreement. You will likely need to travel to the United States to do this, so will need to obtain business visitor visa if from a non-visa waiver country.
Show Substantial Investment
You will need to show that you have the resources to get your business off the ground. For a consulting or professional practice, the start-up costs might be minimal, but for businesses requiring office space or equipment, you need to show viable start up capital. Additionally, the initial investment should be money that can be traced via “paper trail.” E visa can be denied if they are based on untraceable cash investments, and in some cases, money loans.
Be Ready to Go
Investment visas are not for those in the initial phases of planning their business. It is a straightforward visa process with a high success rate for viable investments and start-ups, but USCIS wants to see that you are a serious investor who is ready to start working immediately upon receipt of your approval.
As with all immigration concerns, every detail counts when applying for an E investment visa. An experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the E visa process and make sure you are putting your best foot forward at every stage of the process. We offer complimentary consultations to individuals who have identified a business and funding for their business.