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Understanding the E-2 Visa: A Guide to the Source of Investment Funds

Navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law requires a nuanced understanding of various visa classifications, particularly when it comes to investment-based immigration. One such pathway is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, a critical tool for nationals of treaty countries looking to start a U.S. company. 

The Basics of the E-2 Visa

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Eligibility for this visa hinges on several criteria:

  1. Nationality Requirement: The investor must be a national of a country that maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.
  2. Substantial Investment: There must be a significant capital investment in a bona fide enterprise in the U.S.
  3. Development and Direction: The investor seeks entry into the U.S. solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.

Proving the Source of Investment Funds

A pivotal aspect of the E-2 visa application is demonstrating the legitimacy of the investment funds. The capital can originate from various sources, including savings, gifts, inheritances, contest winnings, or loans secured against personal assets. Importantly, the funds must be legally obtained, and the investor must have full control over them. 

Real-World Examples

To illustrate how diverse the source of investment funds can be, consider these examples:

  • An individual from Canada lawfully employed and saving funds monthly uses these savings to invest in a U.S. startup. This demonstrates funds acquired through lawful employment.
  • Selling a property in Canada and using the proceeds to fund a U.S. business venture.
  • A Canadian business owner funding a U.S. subsidiary through profits generated from their business in Canada.
  • Using personal assets and transferring owned equipment to the U.S. business as part of the startup investment.

Key Takeaways

For E-2 visa applicants, the primary concern is not just how much is invested, but the origin and legality of these funds. Documenting the source and demonstrating that they are irrevocably committed to the U.S. business is essential. Whether the funds come from personal savings, business profits, or the sale of property, the key is to clearly trace and document their path to investment in the U.S. enterprise.

The E-2 visa offers a unique opportunity for treaty nationals to contribute to and benefit from the U.S. economy. However, navigating the application process requires a thorough understanding of its requirements, particularly regarding the source of investment funds. By carefully documenting the legitimacy and origins of these funds, investors can smooth their pathway to developing and directing a successful business on American soil. Contact Berardi today if you need help!