There are many foreign business owners who want to start their business in the United States. For this reason, they look for an opportunity to get an E2 visa. Due to the requirements, it becomes a lengthy process. Many foreign business owners ask how long it takes to get an E2 visa. However, the processing time and the entire process depend on the requirements of the visa.
The E2 visas are a form of electronic visas. They are given to foreign individuals and companies who wish to invest in an existing business, franchise or who desire to entirely form a new business in the United States. They are a result of treaties signed by the United States with the foreign countries. There are more than 75 countries with which the United States has signed treaties. If you are also concerned about how long it takes to get an E2 visa and want to know if your country is eligible for the E2 visa, check it at Volume 9 of the United States Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) $41.51, Exh. 1.
Treaties are formed between the countries to promote trade, commerce, international relations, peace, business, immigration and many others elements. The factors depend upon the country. But one of the most common reasons to form treaties with a specific country is the trade and commerce. Out of the 75 countries, United States is still in the process of signing treaties with some more countries. However, some countries are on the pending list: they include Albania, Jordan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Nicaragua.
Here is What You Need to Know About E2 Visas
In order to have a very clear understanding of how long it takes to get an E2 visa; you first need to know what an E2 visa actually is. The E2 visa is also referred to as ‘Treaty Investor Visa’. This visa is granted to the individuals and companies who are locals of the treaty country. Not only this, they should also wish to form a business, invest in an existing business or a franchise in the United States. The business should be operational and include ‘direction and development’. Only after fulfilling these requirements, they would qualify for the E2 visa.
On the other hand, if you are asking how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you may also be interested in understanding E2 visas. They are for the employees, business owners, managers who wish to reside and get an employment in the United States or work for a business enterprise. They are known as ‘Treaty Trader Visas’. There are certain factors that make an individual or a company eligible for both these types of electronic visas.
Those who ask how long it takes to get an E2 visa, should keep in mind that the individuals and companies need to give subsequent amount of capital for the business. If the investments are not subsequent or up to the substantiality test, they do not qualify for the E2 status. Also, the processing time will be longer as they will have to pay more, and the process will become more time consuming.
If you want to get to the core of the query, how long does it take to get an E2 visa; you need to read on.
Are You Wondering How Long Does It Take To Get an E2 Visa? You Need to See the Requirements First!
E2 visas also have certain requirements like all other visas. So if you are pondering how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you must first see the lengthy requirements. Individuals and companies need to fill out the requirements for an E2 visa with the help of a form. Each requirement has certain forms of evidence that all individuals and companies should submit in order to meet the criteria.
If you are concerned about how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you must keep in mind that it all depends on the requirements: in order to understand the depth of how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you need to know all the requirements first. Let’s have a look at them below.
· Requirement # 1: The Business Must Be Able to Direct and Develop
If you are trying to identity how long it take to get an E2 visa, you should keep in mind that the USCIS has set two main requirements for a business. The industry in which you wish to invest for your business should be able to ‘develop’ and ‘direct’. Also, you must have minimum 50% of the ownership for the business enterprise. If you do not have the ownership, then you should at least have an operational and superior control of the authoritative or managerial position.
The USCIS requires demonstration for the ‘developing and directing’ business. They verify the following documents.
- The detailed list of the owners and their percentage. Let’s assume that you are two partners, and one of you owns 50% of the enterprise or less than that, you will be required to sign the documents in order to prove that your claim is valid.
- The USCIS requires you to submit the letter of intent, purchase agreement, memorandum of understanding, and the term sheet.
- They would want you to show the capitalization table.
- The USCIS will ask you to show the meeting or corporate minutes (a document where all the rules of the business are written).
- They also require the partnership agreement along with the details of the contributions of the partners.
- You will be required to show the stock certificates or stock ledger.
- The USCIS may ask you to present the franchise agreement.
- You will be required to submit the articles of organization or the articles of association.
- You should keep them informed about the annual reports or submit the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form 10 – K.
· Requirement # 2: Individual or Company Investors Must Be Able to Show the Source of Funding
If you want to identify how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you should remember that all individual or company investors should be able to show a legitimate and clear path of the capital they want to invest in the potential business enterprise. This is because the demonstration of the source of capital funding to the USCIS is one of the most important requirements. You may wonder why do they require the source of capital funding; they want it because it gives them a legal evidence regarding the payment.
Moreover, the USCIS requires you to obtain all those capital funds by all legal means. As mentioned previously, the individual or company investors also require submitting a few documents to them for the demonstration of the source of capital. The following are the documents that you need to submit to the USCIS.
- Pay records
- Wire transfers
- Money orders
- Cancelled checks
- Foreign bank statements
- Domestic bank statements
- Property records
- Foreign tax returns
- Loan or mortgage agreements
· Requirement # 3: Individual and Company Investors Must Invest in a Genuine Business Entity and Not in a Marginal Business Entity
The investors who want to know how long it takes to get an E2 visa, should first know the basics of the operation of business entities. All the potential investors should remember that they need to invest in a genuine business and not in a marginal business entity. A genuine business is basically a bona fide business enterprise. Bona fide businesses are active and real entrepreneurial and commercial businesses. They produce goods and services for the profits.
Furthermore, the business entities considered ineligible for the investors include the stocks, bonds and undeveloped lands. Such kinds of investments have no intent of ‘direction and development’. An investor must make sure to invest in a business that is genuine; it will automatically be able to direct and develop. Investors must not ignore these two factors; otherwise they will not qualify for the business.
If you really want to know how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you need to demonstrate if your potential business is bona fide or not. You can see to it on the basis of the following factors.
- If the business enterprise has an organizational chart.
- If the business has been given a license for its operations.
- If the business grants tax returns.
- If the business forms financial statements.
- If the business entity maintains quarterly payroll summaries and wage reports such as W-3 and W-2.
- If the business has been given an Employer Identification Number i.e. the EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
- If the business enterprise deals in lease agreements and escrow documents.
- If the business entity has utility bills, advertisements, and bank statements.
· Requirement # 4: Your Funds Must Have the Ownership and Must be Irrevocably Committed to Your Business
If you are concerned about how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you should first know about the investments and funds. The capital or the investments that investors make must be irrevocably committed to the business enterprise. Also, it should be subjected to the partial or the total loss of the business enterprise. The funds that the investors invest in the business should be in their possession. In addition to this, the funds that the investors wish to invest in the business should be substantial enough to purchase an established business or create an entirely new business enterprise.
But if you are still pondering how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you must know that the level of subsequent amount of the investment is not prescribed or set as a standard by the USCIS. You will require submitting several documents to demonstrate if your investments are substantial for the business entity or not. The list goes as under:
- Cancelled money orders
- Cancelled checks
- Bill of sale
- Escrow documents
- Letter of intent
- Lease agreement
- Memorandum of understanding
- Term sheet
- Corresponding business bank statements
- Corresponding personal bank statements
- Itemized list of goods and material for purchase for the business start ups
- Valuation analysis of the business assets
- Mortgage agreements or loan
- Valuation analysis of the stocks
- Stock purchase agreement
- Meeting minutes
- Corresponding forms for stock certificate and shares
- Stock ledger
· Requirement # 5: Individual or Company Investors are Required to Come to the United States to Invest in the Business Entity
As per the USCIS, the investments are the placing of capital for the profit generation from a commercial point of view. All individual and company investors must not forget to come in the United States and invest in the business. It does not matter if you are investing in a new business or investing in an existing business enterprise or a franchise, you are required to invest in the business by coming to the United States. The USCIS will not accept the payments if the investors send their representatives. They should come to the US and bring subsequent payment for the business entity.
How Long Does It Take To Get an E2 Visa?
There are many people and veteran investors who believe that the E2 visa takes a lot of time due to a lengthy documentation process and the complex and extensive requirements. Due to this reason, there are many investors that may be looking out for different ways to make this lengthy process, shorter. So those who want to learn the core of the query, how long does it take to get an E2 visa, should read to this section very carefully.
There is not only one factor that makes the process lengthy but there are many. Those who think that the process cannot be shorter, they are mistaken. The lengthy process can wind up in a matter of months if investors consider the following steps.
· Step # 1: See If Can Work Out with Investments
If you want to know how long does it take to get an E2 visa and want the process to be faster, firstly you should work out if you can afford it or not. E2 visas do not really need huge investments but they usually require $100,000. However, there is no minimum limit for the business but the experts require you to invest minimum $100,000 in the business. You need to save at least this much amount as a working capital. Let’s assume that you have saved $30,000 to $50,000 for your business. It will not be enough as you may require more money for the residence and various other business investments.
Since there is no minimum requirement for investments, you may get confused and ask how long does it take to get an E2 visa? In such a case, you can always make up your mind for investments by keeping in mind a simple formula: the greater the overhead and operational costs, the greater will be your investments. The lesser the overhead and operational costs, the fewer will be your investments. The first step is of investments, if you get a clear idea about the investments at the initial stage, the process will not take long.
· Step # 2: Invest in the United States by Visiting
After finalizing your investments and business, you will need to fly over to the United States. Now this will also cost you money, transportation expense, flight charges, hotel expenses and many others. Also, when you visit there is a chance that you may not be satisfied with the business there. The main purpose to visit the United States is basically to check the business.
If you are still concerned about how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you should first do some preliminary work before you fly to United States. Don’t make decisions so early. Search for the business properly and invest in it after seeing to everything properly. If the business satisfies you, you would be required to go there yourself because the USCIS do not accept payments by representatives.
· Step # 3: Ensure About the Due Diligence
Now that you have got an idea about how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you should also keep in mind that once you find the business, you have to carry out the due diligence. In this process, you need to make sure about the purchase agreements which include a clause including one month period of the due diligence. It is a major investment, and it can take time. But if handled properly, it will not take much time, and hence it can reduce the processing time of the E2 visa.
The due diligence is basically when you go very deep in the numbers such as leases, licensing, cap ex requirements and many others. These licenses can take a lot of time for processing of E2 visa. This usually happens when an investor wants to establish a restaurant in the United States, and the license for a restaurant takes most of the time. So, if you are still concerned about how long it takes to get an E2 visa and want to reduce the time period, you must consult your local lawyer.
· Step # 4: Preparation of Documents Beforehand
Visa documentation is very complex and time consuming as it involves multiple technicalities. If you are worried how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you need to prepare all the documents beforehand. The documentation should be done early before the visa processing. The company name must be on the documents including the purchase agreements. The early preparation of documents can cut down the processing time period from months to weeks.
· Step # 5: Prepare for the Interview
Once you prepare your documents, you will be required to submit an application with the help of a local lawyer. After the application is submitted and approved, you will be called for an interview in the embassy. This can again take a few weeks. But if you are concerned how long it takes to get an E2 visa and want to get your visa soon, you can always prepare for the interview beforehand.
As it is commonly said, the more you practice, the better you become. So, practice will make you perfect for the interview. So, you should always ensure to prepare for the interview beforehand in order to avoid rejections. Also, your local lawyer will help you in this regard. They will help you in giving a perfect interview. This can also save time, as a single rejection in an interview can delay the process of the E2 visa.
Now that you know how long it takes to get an E2 visa, you should also remember that the processing time depends on the consulate that is located in the investor’s country. The processing time can range from 3 weeks to 3 months. But if you follow the steps mentioned above and prepare beforehand, you can get the E2 visa much sooner. Don’t forget to seek guidance from your nearest local lawyer to obtain the E2 visa. Good Luck!