I own a business 50/50 with a U.S. citizen. Must my E-2 investor visa application divide the business expenditures evenly between us?
The investment schedule is an important part of the E-2 visa application, since it, ideally, shows the government officer that substantial funds have been invested by the applicant and that these funds have been spent on the many things that are necessary to make the business operational. Since only 50% of the E-2 business needs to be owned by the treaty country national, this makes it possible for the E-2 applicant to have a co-owner who is a U.S. citizen.
This post will discuss a few questions about the investment schedule that commonly come up in this scenario – when the E-2 investor applicant has a co-owner who is not also applying for an E-2 visa.
Do the business expenses listed in the investment schedule need to be divided evenly between the E-2 applicant and co-owner?
In short, not necessarily.
When two co-owners – each owning 50% of the business – are both applying for an E-2 visa, it is generally important that their investment be about the same amount. This is because each applicant must satisfy the requirement that they have invested a substantial amount in the business and intend to actively develop and direct it. Neither applicant should appear to be passive or uninvolved in the business.
For example, Bob and Shirley are 50/50 co-owners of a business. They are both nationals of Canada and are both applying for E-2 investor visas. They have each invested $100,000 of their personal funds into the business, of which $100,000 has been spent on necessary business expenses. In this case, the application would likely evenly divide the business expenditures between the two applicants in order to demonstrate that each applicant has committed their funds to the business. In this example, the application would likely show that each applicant has invested $100,000 into the business, but that $50,000 of each applicant’s funds have been committed to necessary business expenses.
However, what if Shirley were a U.S. citizen, and therefore only Bob needed an E-2 visa? Dividing the expenditures evenly between the two co-owners is not necessary in that case. Assuming the amounts invested by Bob and Shirley remained the same as in our example, it would be fine to demonstrate in the application that 100% of Bob’s investment of $100,000 was spent on necessary business expenses. Shirley’s $100,000 investment in the business would be reflected in the business’s balance sheet and other records, but would not need to be represented in the investment schedule, which is a document created specifically for the E-2 visa application.
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