For many foreign nationals seeking to start or purchase a new business in the United States, the E-2 Investor Visa may be the best option. The E-2 Visa permits the Investor to reside in the US for a potentially unlimited period of time, may require a relatively small investment amount, and permits the Investor’s spouse and children to live in the U.S. and the spouse can also work in the U.S.
You can find out about the full set of E-2 visa requirements by clicking here.
Two of the key requirements for acquiring an E-2 visa is that the investment funds must already be spent and the business in the U.S. must be real and active, and close to starting operations. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that E-2 visas are awarded to investors who actually invest in a business in the U.S., rather than individuals who may “wish” to start a business or are thinking about starting a business, but haven’t made any financial commitments. The question often arises of how is it possible to do everything that is required to start a business without living in the U.S. and first conducting business related activities in the U.S. In many cases, the answer is a B-1 visa.
If you need to travel to the U.S. to carry out the preliminary actions typical in starting a business, a B-1 Business Visitor visa may be the best option as this visa permits an individual to participate in business activities in the U.S. The visa is not intended for extended, long-term activity, but rather for a definite and specific activity.
The B-1 may be ideal for an E-2 investor, as it permits the investor to look for and secure office or retail space, solicit business for the prospective company, interview prospective employees, enter contracts on behalf of the prospective company, such as leases, employee agreements and letters of intent, and open a bank account. If you intend to purchase an active business, the B-1 visa may permit you to explore investment opportunities, to inspect business premises, attend the closing, and sign the requisite contracts and forms. (Please note that you may not have to obtain a B-1 visa to enter the U.S. if you are from a visa waiver country. For more information of the Visa Waiver Program, please click here.).
For more information on what activities are permitted under a B-1 Visa, click here.
The maximum duration you may stay in the U.S. on a B-1 visa is six months and the actual time that you are granted will depend on the time an officer admits you for when you enter the country.
The B-1 visa is an excellent option for potential investors considering starting or purchasing a business in the U.S. and wish to come to the U.S. to explore investment opportunities or start a business.
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