Investing in US Enterprise
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2017, foreign investors spent almost $260 billion to acquire, launch and expand businesses in the U.S. and of all countries, Canada was the largest contributor – investing over $66 billion. Foreign dollars help stimulate the U.S. economy, providing new job opportunities and growing industries. The E-2 Visa program is designed to facilitate foreign investment by granting status to those who invest a substantial amount of funds in a U.S. enterprise.
The main criteria for E-2 eligibility are outlined below.
- A treaty must exist between the U.S. and the country of nationality of the foreign company. Canada is a treaty country and you can find a full list of treaty countries at the following link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html
- The company must be owned (over 50%) by nationals of treaty country.
- The company must be real and operating. It must be an active company as opposed to a passive investment.
- The applicant must have citizenship of the same treaty country as the enterprise.
- The applicant must have invested in, or be in the process of investing in, the enterprise. The applicant must make an irrevocable commitment of funds in the enterprise. If the business fails, the applicant would lose the investment.
- The investment must be substantial. There is no minimum amount of money required for an investment to be considered substantial and whether the threshold of substantiality has been reached depends on the industry and the nature of the business. There is years of guidance and case law that guide the adjudication.
There is no explicit requirement that the investment create U.S. jobs, however it can be argued that such a requirement is implied and if the investment creates U.S. jobs, it certainly strengthens an application.
Employees of registered “E” companies may also secure status if they have executive or supervisory duties, or if they possess essential skills. In addition, spouses and minor children may secure status to live in the U.S. with the E-2 Visa holder and spouses can secure employment authorization as well.