(1) What is the E2 visa or investment contract?

Investment contract is a non-immigrant visa allowing foreign entrepreneurs to operate and do business in certain countries, including Iran, while investing inside the United States.

Note:  Investment activities involve the purchase of an existing business in the United States, requiring the investor to own a minimum of 50% of the stock and the actual market value of the particular business. If the investor is planning to launch a new business, they should consider and demonstrate an investment capital equivalent of a full launch of the business, including raw material purchases for 6 months, equipment, machinery needed, lease or purchase premises for at least 1 year, and the working capital.

(2) Am I qualified for obtaining an E2 visa?

To qualify for E-2 visa, the following should be considered:

  • Having the nationality of a country which is among Investor Treaty countries, Iran included
  • Experience or education related to business type choice is not necessary.
  • Holding sufficient funds which are legitimate and verifiable
  • As a supervisor or an executive director, you must be directly involved with the particular business requiring a skill to be set up and as a business owner you must hold 50% of the company shares as well.
  • Business Should Be Actively Operating, bearing the signs of sale or
  • Capital should actually be involved in the business.

(3) How much investment will be required? (Substantial Investment)

Most investment applicants happen to have this question. There is no mention of the amount of investment in the immigration laws concerning the E2 visa. Only is the essential amount required to set up in business necessarily listed, which could be varied from 80,000 to 200,000 dollars depending on a variety of factors, including the type of business, business plan, the amount of the past earnings and anticipating the future of the business as well as the business price  in the market. It goes without saying that in case of not choosing an experienced lawyer, not drawing on a sound business consultation in the preparation of business plans and other documents required along with irrelevant personal experience, the highest amount of 200,000 dollars would be the most ideal amount; although it is not mandatory.

It should be noted that there is no minimal amount; however, according to our 30-year experience in this matter and limitations facing some nations, investment of 100,000 USD is suitable for obtaining an E2 visa; however, the amount of $ 80,000 could also be an option.

Note 1: Although the amount of investment is not specified by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the parameter of experience could be replaced as a justification for less capital in this case.

(4)  What would be the advantages of E-2 visa for me and my family?

  • You can legally work in your business or even on a part-time basis elsewhere in case your primary business is not in effect.
  • You will be able to enter and leave the U.S. by virtue of your E2 visa during its validity period.
  • The E2 can be renewed indefinitely. The E2 visa also covers the investor’s spouse and children under age 21 and they are permitted to work or even study independently.

(5)  How long can I stay in the U.S.A with an E2 visa?

As long as the enterprise is operating you’re eligible for the visa renewal for an indefinite period through providing financial and business performance documentation in the past two years.

(6)  How do I apply for E2 visa renewal?

Your Form I-94 and Form I-797 accompanied by proof of payment of taxes in the last 2 years must be submitted to the USCIS.

(7)  Can I convert my E2 visa to the other visa types?

Yes, you can convert it to a student visa, a green card, or a working visa.

(8)  Will I and my family with E2 visa be permitted to study in the U.S.?

Yes, you can continue your studies on a part-time basis and your family can study full-time at university or lower levels and you do not need to hold a student visa like F1.

(9)  What kind of business is suitable for E2 visa?

  • Purchase of the representation of a business such as Subway or McDonald could be an option. You pay an amount as representation fee and a share of 5 to 10% of sales to the representation owner. The amount varies from 100,000 to 3,000,000 USD.
  • Purchase of operating already existing business after being reviewed and evaluated by the consultant and business professionals and an immigration lawyer in the United States. If the business qualifies for an E2 visa, then set about having an agreement on pricing with vendors.
  • Set up a new business with the expertise and relevant/irrelevant work experience

(10)  Can I apply for a Green Card while holding the E2 visa?

Yes, you can hold the E2 visa and apply for a Green Card concurrently via the following:

  • Family immigration
  • NIW (National Interest waiver), which is realized through demonstrating high academic ability and experience in a particular specialty (exceptional ability) as you can contribute significantly to the national interest.
  • EB5 Immigrant investor visa – to obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs
  • H1B visa in case of the employer’s agreement over time regarding the type of job and Master’s degree or superior plus 3 to 5 years progressive work experience in the field.

(11)  Is the E2 visa renewal subject to being profitable?

Not necessarily. Business must be within profit margins. This means that the operation of the business and revenue enhancements must meet with financing your family and even more than that, being more than the average annual income per person in a particular state; for example, in Florida, more than $ 60,000 a year. In addition, completing the required forms and paying income tax are necessary to the visa extension.

Note: Regarding the business plan, you should succeed in maintaining a growing and stable trend from 3 to 5 years. To this end, drawing on a valid business consultancy before obtaining the visa and after obtaining the visa in order to be extended plays an essential role in terms of providing the USCIS with the detailed statistics of the trend.

Note: In cases where the business profits are down, employment of 1 or 2 more people could justify or completely pay for low profitability.

(12) Would the investment be paid back to me in case of the E2 visa refusal?

In case the U.S. embassy did not confirm the application for an E2 visa, the amount deposited in the account ESCROW (approved deposit by USCIS) could be returned to you. Your lawyer should follow up on this matter.

(13) Does the business seller need an advance payment? And if so, how the amount would be refunded to me in case of not having obtained the visa?

The contract between you (the buyer) and the business seller is of crucial importance. The role of a lawyer experienced in business together with a business consultant (a licensed broker) is vital in drafting the contract in favor of the buyer as it must be subject to approval of E2 visa and in case of the absence of the visa confirmation the prepaid amount would be refunded to you.

Note: The amount approved is usually a 10% to 50% of the total investment that is paid to the seller as an advance payment of the purchase of business provisionally until the visa confirmation.

(14)  Is my investment subject to loss after the venture?

Part of your investment is with the vendor and the rest of the business is as working capital, inventory and equipment. It definitely depends entirely on your management. You can multiply your investment after a time span as a result of an efficient management and choosing the appropriate business or face a loss for several years.

(15)  Can I get my business sold after a period of time?

Yes, we have licensed consultant brokers who can assist you in pricing your business. In case of switching to another visa or leaving the country, you can get your business sold regarding the market conditions.

(16)  What factors are important in settling a business?

  • The state or city in terms of the amount of tax paid
  • Type of business
  • Taking advantage of an experienced business consultant holding a valid license in determining the price of the business as well as exercising high bargaining power in buying the business, which typically paves the way for receiving from 5% to 15% discount
  • The proper location to launch your business (Remoteness and proximity to the city) – For example, urban location is of great importance for businesses such as restaurants or coffee shops.
  • The state income taxes: taxes are much higher in some states such as California, Chicago and New York
  • The ratio of income to business-cost for the past 5 years alongside taxes and other items which should be fully investigated and evaluated by a business consultant
  • Eligibility forE2visa
  • Anticipating the income of the business within the next 3 to 5 years
  • Condition of existing customers, their dependence to and repurchase them from the business over time
  • Marketing systems such as websites, brochures, advertising and…
  • The potential to attract and deploy capital to the amount of 500,000 USD
  • Checking the company credit: the previous person’s reputation in recent years is critical (Credit History)
  • Being prepared to get loans in the coming years through partners with high credit as well as contriving to buy some raw materials and other supplies by installments
  • The possibility of transfer of business, necessary permits, credits, corporate tax code, contracts, etc. at the earliest possible time

(17)  What parameters should be considered in finding a competent attorney?

  • Participation of lawyers working with a top business consulting team with high experience, education in the field of business in the United States
  • Business consultant should be a licensed business broker in order to accurately assess the financial and business pricing in the United States
  • Possessing practical experience in reviewing the contracts between the seller and the buyer in order to ensure the financial interests of the buyer
  • Ensuring the possibility of the return of capital on behalf of the vendor (advance payment) and the designated account (ESCROW) at the earliest time in the event of non-confirmation of E2 visa
  • Having a highly experienced team of experts and business consultants in the preparation of business plans concerning the previous activities as well as being reasonable and feasible hold great significance as over 60% of visa approvals have been won with respect to the accuracy and completing forms and feasibility of the plan.

Note: In the absence of a logical design of the plan even if the visa is approved you as the investor during running business would be faced with serious problems in the realization of the revenue and profit targets presented to the USCIS, paving the way for the probability that visa renewal would be faced with rejection. Many cases have been seen that people were forced to leave the country after 2 years as a result of not paying a careful attention to the very points of the feasibility and reasonableness of the plan.

  • Completing the necessary forms and documents and required contracts with a vendor or location….
  • A thorough inspection of the existing corporate income tax, accuracy of the matching documents presented to us with the ones presented to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Obtaining the permit for the transfer of capital to the United States in the shortest period of time (OFAC), being vital and holding considerable significance. Theprocessvariesfrom4 to6months.

(18)  What is the duration of the E2 visa approval process?

Since the contract with the vendor and obtaining the capital confirmation and timely provision of all required documents along with the capital it normally takes between 7 to 10 months. Investor clients’ cooperation in providing documents and capital in the shortest time possible help us in providing services in the shortest possible time as well.

(19) What is the proper time to apply for E2 visa?

Due to continuous changes in immigration laws, as well as more complex E2 visa requirements for Iranians, if you wish to obtain this visa in order to enhance success rate in obtaining this visa in the shortest possible time, please do not lose even more time.

Note:  Duration of obtaining the OFAC permit has become longer for the Iranians and it is likely to prolong.