05 May Can you get a visa to buy or start a business in the United States?
Can you get a visa to buy or start a business in the United States?
Many want a better life in the United States but worry they can’t make their dreams come true. They don’t have one million dollars to invest nor do are they able to marry a US citizen.
However some countries have treaties with the United States which could help keep these peoples’ dreams alive. Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands Spain and the United Kingdom have entered into these special treaties with the United States which open up two possibilities for their citizens:
Start your own business in the United States – The E-1 Treaty Trader visa
Citizens from countries with a treaty with provisions for E-1 Treaty Trader visas are allowed to apply for a visa to go to the United States to start their own business. The conditions are:
- That the applicant’s business will carry on substantial trade (the continuous flow of international trade or numerous transactions over time. It does not have to be trade of a certain value)
- That the principal trade between the US business will be with the country they are a citizen of (The US business must do more than 50% of its trade with the treaty country)
The trade can be anything – Goods, services, insurance, technology and its transfer for example. Simple typical examples could be an Italian who imports Fiat car parts for sale in the United States or a Pakistani who imports Pakistani food or clothing items for sale in a store in the United States but it could also be things like call centers or people trading in software licenses.
2. Buy or invest in an existing business in the United States – The E-2 Treaty Investor visa
Citizens from countries with a treaty with provisions for E-2 Treaty Investor visas are allowed to apply for a visa to go to the United States to buy or invest in an existing business and to manage that investment. The conditions are:
- The applicant must have or be actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise (it must be substantial in relationship to the total cost of purchasing or establishing an enterprise, be sufficient to ensure that the applicant is financially committed to the enterprise’s success and large enough to show that the applicant has a large chance of financial success)
- The applicant must have at least 50% ownership or control of the enterprise.
Examples of an E-2 Treaty Investor business could be a vintner from Italy buying a vineyard or farm in California, an Albanian buying a kindergarten or a Moroccan buying a restaurant. Alternatively it could be a Venture Capitalist investing a substantial amount of money in a startup or an entrepreneur investing significantly to join a new technology company.
Who else can come to the United States with you?
Not only can immediate family members (spouse and children under 21) get visas to join you but you can also employ people with the same nationality as you to be managers or specialists (use particular specialized knowledge) in your enterprise.
The E-1 and E-2 visas could life changing legal processes for those who wish to start, buy or invest in a business in the United States.
George Lake is the founder and Managing Attorney at Blue Lake Law. He has lived in the Netherlands for seven years. He studied at Tilburg University where he received a Master’s Degree in International Business Law and studied at Northwestern California University where he received his JD. George is licensed to practice by the State Bar of California.