Starting a Business? Consider the Benefits of an E-2 Visa for Start-Ups in San Francisco

You may have heard that many foreign workers are striving to get visas to join companies in America. But what if you are a high-level employee who wants to create a new business in the U.S.? Which visa should you choose to get the most out of your work and travels abroad?

Many investors find that an E-2 visa is the perfect choice for a start-up business. If you live in a recognized E-2 visa treaty country and commit a substantial amount of capital to the venture, you could begin running your own business and bring your family members to the U.S. with you.

Before you begin filing documents for your California start-up visa, you should first consider whether an E-2 visa is best for:

  • You – In order to qualify, you must be either a principal investor in the startup or employed as an executive or supervisor. You will be responsible for developing and directing the enterprise during your stay. While you do not need to provide the full amount of funds yourself, you must have control of the funds.
  • Your business partners – Your business partners do not need to accompany you as long as you own at least 50 percent of the company or have operational control of corporate functions.
  • Your family – Spouses and children of E-2 visa holders may to travel and live in the U.S. with the investor. Spouses who apply for work authorization may work in the United States, and children under age 18 may attend school in America without applying for a separate student visa.
  • The U.S. – While the new business may support you and your family, this visa category depends on your startup eventually providing a way for Americans to earn a living. Your business plan must clearly show how your investment will lead to employment for U.S. citizens and benefit the national economy.

Another reason the E-2 visa is a great option for start-ups is because it requires less of a capital investment than the EB-5 visa. While the E-2 visa is considered a non-immigration visa, it is worth noting that the visa may be renewed as long as you continue owning and running the business, making it a viable option for long-term residence.

Is someone you know torn between choosing an E-2 and EB-5 visa? Send them a link to this article on Facebook or Google+ to help them make the right decision!

Vaughan de Kirby
California Immigration Attorney

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