The E-2 US Visa: A Good Immigration-Related Option for Foreign Entrepreneurs

The E-2 visa allows entrepreneurs from partner countries to come to the United States and start a business. Though not right for everyone, this immigration-related opportunity has quickly become an intriguing option for many entrepreneurs. Qualified applicants enter the US under favorable tax terms and may bring family members to work or study in the USA.

1. Partner Country Requirement. Unlike many similar immigration-related options, the E-2 visa is available only to citizens of partner countries. Partner countries are those who have bilateral investment treaties or free trade agreements with the United States. Examples include Australia, Canada, and Taiwan. Citizens of non-partner countries, such as China, should become citizens of a partner country before applying for the E-2 US visa. The relative ease of gaining Canadian or Austrian citizenship makes this two-step process feasible for many citizens of non-partner countries.

2. US Investment Requirement. Another requirement for E-2 visa applicants is monetary investment in the formation of a US business. There is no specific dollar minimum for the investment. Case outcomes, however, suggest the investment should be $50,000 or more spent partially to hire one or more US-based employees.

3. High-Level Position Requirement. The E-2 visa applicant must be relatively high within the given startup business. This is measured two ways. The E-2 visa applicant’s ownership share in the start-up company should exceed 50%. And he or she must hold a position in the business equivalent to manager or higher, though other employees within the business can be responsible for the company’s daily operation and management.

4. Tax Advantage. One of the E-2 visa’s most attractive qualities is its tax advantage. The introduction of the overseas assets tax sharply reduced earnings for non-US citizens with green cards. The E-2 visa, on the other hand, is not a green card-related visa. It is instead a temporary two-year visa that can be extended or renewed within certain limitations. If the visa holder does not exceed the residence time in the United States, he or she is under no obligation to pay the overseas asset tax.

5. Bringing Family Members to USA. The E-2 visa holder may bring family members to the United States, including children under twenty-one years old and a spouse. Once in the USA, the spouse can apply for a permit to engage in any work in America (though certain professionals require additional licensing or qualifications). The children likewise have free access to American public schools, as well as access to American public universities.

For many entrepreneurs, the E-2 visa may be one of the best immigration-related US visa options available.


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