QUESTION: I want to open up my own company. Can you let me know some specifics? For example, I have a friend from Iran. Can he get an E-1 or E-2?
A: As for E-2s, Iranians can apply for that type of visa anywhere.
Question: Are there any restrictions where the money comes from for the investment?
Answer: Normally, not. However, keep in mind that there are two Russian Banks under U.S. sanctions. Thus, make sure the money does not come from these banks.
Question: What percentage of ownership do I need to have in the company?
Answer: Make sure there is at least a 50 percent ownership by treaty countries. It is even better if there is a 51 percent ownership.
Question: What if I renounce my nationality?
Answer: If the principal owner renounces nationality, then the E-2 is gone.
Question: What if there is a merger or acquisition?
Answer: Sometimes mergers and acquisitions change the 50 percent ownership. If this is the case, then there will no longer be an E-2 qualification.
Question: What about employees I need from my home country?
Answer: For employees coming over, you need to still make sure that the main investor gets an E-2. The E-2 specialized knowledge employee will differ with the particular Consulate. Some require two years actual experience. The consular officer might say that he or she will give just two years and that an American is needed afterward.
Question: What about my spouse and children in my home country?
Answer: An E-2 change of status for you which is approved, will NOT allow E-2 derivatives to get a visa at the consulate. Rather, you need the Consulate process with your E-2.
Question: How long will I get?
Answer: E-2s always are now given for two years in the U.S., even if the visa is issued for five years. However, you can go out one week before the expiration of the visa, and come back with a two-year stamp.
Question: Will the amount of the investment differ?
Answer: For normal business, you will need to look as to where is the normality of investment (i.e. California needs more than West Virginia). Consulates love franchises. This is because the business plan is done, it works and the market prices are set. Thus, if you’re unsure what to invest in, look to a franchise. n
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Atty. Brian D. Lerner has been an Immigration Attorney for nearly a quarter of a century. He is married to a Filipina and has helped thousands of Filipino families all over the country. In addition to his offices in Southern California in Long Beach and Carson, he has an office in Quezon City. He is a certified specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Legal Board of Specialization, California State Bar. The initial consultation is free. Call (562) 495-0554 and/or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.