How the investor visa works to settle in the United States

(Credit: Getty)
(Credit: Getty)

The United States has an investor visa program that allows citizens of certain countries settle there with an approximate investment of USD120 thousand. This E-2 investor visa It is one of the most sought after options in Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico. But what is it about and how is it accessed?

After a suspension of service to the public due to the pandemic, in mid-2021, the United States consulates in the world began to gradually resume the E-2 visa process, and consequently, the allocation of appointments. For this reason, inquiries about this process grew exponentially.

The American lawyer Andrés Echevarría, specialist in immigration advice and partner of the firm VIVANCO & VIVANCO, describes how the process is carried out and what characteristics this visa category has.

“The E-2 visa allows an investor to settle in the United States with his family by investing in a new or existing company. The investment must be substantial and from own funds of legitimate origin. The company must be real and operational and generate local employment in the United States. The main investor must be the controlling company of the company. That is to say, must own at least 50% of the shares. The company must have sufficient income-generating potential to support the investor and his family in the United States ”, explains the lawyer in the USA and Argentina.

In that line, the The most common types of businesses that qualify as investment are: the assembly and development of their own business; the purchase of goodwill; or the acquisition of a franchise or chain.

“The vast majority of our clients decide to invest in franchises or chains. This type of investment has the advantage of having the backing of the franchisor, which makes the investment process faster and safer. Some franchises also provide the option for the franchisor to be in charge of managing the day-to-day operation of the operation, which facilitates the transition for the investor, ”says Echevarría.

In addition, according to the lawyer, the chains are also a common investment scheme, since it consists of an association with a recognized firm in the ownership of a store or point of sale. The investor and the chain are 50% and 50% partners and share the profits. Usually, the investor pays a commission to the chain for the use of the brand.

To gain access to the investor visa, the minimum investment amount is approximately USD120 thousand. “The law itself does not establish a minimum investment amount, but rather requires that the investment be” substantial. ” The substantiality requirement varies depending on the case and the country of origin. In general, for Latin America we do not recommend going down from a total investment of USD120 thousand, although each case is evaluated in a particular way ”, clarifies the specialist.

And he emphasizes: “Something very recurrent is the erroneous preconception that investor visas are for highly wealthy individuals. This is not like this. It is not uncommon for a middle-class Argentine family to have access to liquidity of USD100 thousand or USD150 thousand. And it is also allowed that these funds come from a loan, a donation or an inheritance. In fact, for more cost-sensitive clients, there is also the possibility of making joint ventures with two co-investors, where both contribute half to reach the total amount required ”.

The stages of the process

The first step is form a company in the United States, which according to Echevarría, is normally a Limited Liability Company (Limited liability company). At the same time, open a corporate bank account.

Subsequently, the funds are sent to the company’s account and once the investment project has been selected, the investment payment is executed (the payment of the franchise contract or the contract for the purchase of goods or shares).

“As soon as the funds are irrevocably invested, we can present the visa application at the US consulate of the investor’s country of residence. The consulate will then assign an appointment for an interview with the investor and then the visa stamped in the passport is issued ”, says the partner of the firm VIVANCO & VIVANCO.

Epigraph: Andrés Echevarría, lawyer specializing in immigration advice and partner of the firm VIVANCO & VIVANCO (Credit: VIVANCO & VIVANCO press)
Epigraph: Andrés Echevarría, lawyer specializing in immigration advice and partner of the firm VIVANCO & VIVANCO (Credit: VIVANCO & VIVANCO press)

Normally, the assembly of an investment project takes about 2 or 3 months. The consulate then takes 6-8 weeks to review the application folder and assign an appointment for the interview. After the interview, the visa is issued in a maximum of 10 business days.

A visa with a high probability of approval

Although the final decision to approve or deny a visa is at the discretion of the consulate, Echevarría assures that the E-2 investor visa “has comparatively high chances of approval”. “Approximately 80% globally. Our firm, in particular, has never had an E-2 visa denied; we process approximately 4 per month ”, he asserts.

As the specialist understands, this is because investor visa is currently encouraged by the United States government, since it involves capital investment and job creation in full recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The State Department does not block this visa, on the contrary, it has high approval rates. In a context of increasingly restrictive policies for immigration to the United States, the E-2 visa is a friendly option. Other visas, such as those based on employment, are increasingly difficult to access, ”he says.

And he states: “Naturally, there are many people to whom visas are denied. This is usually because They submit their visa applications without advice or with bad advice. It is always important to recommend consulting a specialized law firm and lawyers licensed in the United States.”.

The duration of the visa depends on the country of origin, but the licensee indicates that generally is granted for 5 years and it can be renewed when it expires in an unlimited way, as long as the company continues to be operational. It is important to note that It is not a requirement to make a new investment for its renovation.

One of the most frequent queries regarding the procedure is the access of the investor’s immediate family members to visa benefits. “The main investor can bring his entire immediate family, which includes his spouse and children – under 21 unmarried years. A great advantage of this visa is that the spouse also obtains a work permit that enables him to work in a dependent relationship and in an unrestricted manner for any employer in the United States, on equal terms with American citizens or permanent residents. Minor children can access the public or private education system ”, confirms Echevarría.

In summary, the expert emphasizes that it is an excellent option to quickly immigrate to North America. “This visa is, in my opinion, the best current option to settle quickly in the United States because it offers a stay similar to that of a permanent resident, but with much more accessible eligibility requirements. When making an investment, the E-2 visa allows you to settle in any state in the United States, work, develop other businesses, enter and leave freely, enroll your children in public school, and do practically everything that a United States citizen can do. , except to vote ”, specifies the lawyer.

Added to this, Echevarría remarks that the visa offers total flexibility to be inside or outside the United States: “There is no requirement of physical presence, as there is with other visas or with permanent residence. The visa is always valid as long as the business in which it was invested is active. In other words, it is possible to apply for a visa and then define if one is going to move immediately or later, or if the decision is to come and go for short periods ”.

Finally, the VIVANCO & VIVANCO law firm, whose headquarters are in Miami, Florida (also with offices in Buenos Aires), recommends that those who decide to start the process receive comprehensive legal advice. In relation, the VIVANCO & VIVANCO team offers comprehensive advice that includes immigration, tax, corporate and contractual consulting. In addition, every month the firm offers open webinars, where the topic is displayed in detail and user queries are evaluated.

Those who wish to know more information about the visa process, can communicate by mail or the following telephone numbers: +54 911 2835-8450 (Argentina) +1 (786) 232-3364 (United States).

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Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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