How to obtain an E-2 investor visa

In my column this week in La OpiniónI explain how to obtain an E-2 investor visa:

Over the past few weeks, several people have asked me how they can legally immigrate to the United States through a business. It is not easy, but it could be a viable option for those who qualify. One of the challenges is that the cost of processing these types of visas is so high that many people give up applying for them. But they are available to those who have the financial means or access to legal capital (it must be proven that the money does not come from illicit sources, such as drug trafficking).

Each year, the U.S. grants investor visas to eligible individuals. There are different categories, with different requirements, that allow foreigners and their immediate families to live temporarily or permanently in the country.

In this column I will explain how the E-2 visa works. This visa is granted to investors coming from countries that have trade agreements with the U.S. Currently, the U.S. has trade agreements with 77 countries. The Latin American countries are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay. It also has a treaty with Spain. At the moment, there is unlimited availability in this visa category.

To obtain an E-2 visa, the investor must come to the U.S. for the sole purpose of conducting or developing a commercial enterprise and must own at least 50 percent of the business.

The amount to be invested is determined depending on the situation, but it cannot only generate income that benefits only the investor and his or her family. It must have a significant economic impact for the US.

The advantage of the E-2 visa is that it also allows you to bring employees from a country with which the U.S. has a trade agreement. These employees must be executives or managers or have specialties necessary to operate the business in the US. Spouses and unmarried minor children of investors and their employees may also obtain the E-2 visa.

The big disadvantage is that this visa is temporary. At the end of the term, they must leave the country unless the investor finds another legal way to stay permanently in the US. However, the visa can be extended indefinitely as long as the trade agreement with your country remains in effect.

The process of obtaining an E-2 visa is complex. To be successful, consult with an immigration attorney.