10 Nov Post Election Series: Business Expansion
By Hadley Bajramovic
The E-2 is the appropriate visa type if you wish to expand your business in the US. Many have tried the L-1a intra transferee “new office” visa route but over the past few years, the USCIS has followed a narrow interpretation over the meaning of executive or manager and what the duties should look like in this roles leading to a high denial rate. The E-2 investor visa requires the applicant to have managerial duties, but those duties are not scrutinized in the same way as in the L-1a. For me, the reason is money. The L-1a does not require a financial investment in the business where the E-2 does. The E-2 business plan must show that a substantial investment will be made and placed at risk for the development of the business. Money talks.
For the entrepreneur wishing to expand the business, such an investment is normal. The amount of the investment required is not specified for the E-2 visa; the amount should make sense for the planned business. An investment as little as $20,000 can provide the seed money for a business to successfully generate cash flow to support the growth of the business.
The reason the immigration agencies are more flexible with the E-2 is that they want to attract the investment and economic growth that the small businesses add to the local geographic area where they are located. With these investments also comes diversity and innovation from the individual foreign investors. Additionally, the immigration agencies want to see that the investor will add to the economy by employing United States citizens as employment is a key indicator for economic wellness and growth. Both Biden and Trump see that the foreign investor-based small business will help our economy so the E-2 will continue to be a hot visa designed to attract business expansion in the US.