What is an E-2 investor visa?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column I answer the question of a reader who wants to know how to obtain an E-2 investor visa that allows you to live and work legally in the United States.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I am from Argentina and I want to establish a business in the United States. I have heard about the E-2 investor visa and I want to know what are the requirements for this visa. -Carlos D.

Carlos, the E-2 visa allows investors coming from countries that have trade agreements with the United States. to live and work legally in the United States.

The U.S. currently has trade agreements with 82 countries. Among them are Spain and the following Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay. At the moment, there is unlimited availability in this visa category.

To obtain the 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% of the business.

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

To apply for an E-2 visa in Argentina, you will need to submit several documents, including the following Forms DS-160 and DS-156Eand a letter detailing that you meet the E-2 visa requirements.

In addition, you must submit documentation supporting your E-2 visa application, such as:

1. Evidence that you own and control the funds necessary for the investment.

2. Evidence that you have established a business in the U.S.

3. Evidence that the investment you have made in the U.S. is substantial.

4. Evidence of your nationality.

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 E-2 visa is temporary. When the term of legal stay ends, they must leave the country, unless the investor finds another legal way to stay permanently in the U.S. 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 and financial advisor before beginning the process.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog inmigracionhoy.com.

Send your questions to preguntas@consultamigratoria.com. Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author ofLa Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current president of the Los Angeles Westlake South Neighborhood Council. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.