Investor E2 visa and L visa and legal services in the United States
Finding your way through the requirements necessary for obtaining a business visa in the United States is not an easy task. But don’t worry, we are here to help you.
If you no longer want to manage your business on the American market from a distance, thinking about how to apply for an American business visa is a good start. Such a visa is necessary for the following: if you plan to relocate to and work from the US, if your product requires your presence in the US or if you need to transfer employee(s) or business partner(s) to the US. We’ve put together a checklist of the required steps needed before submitting your E2 visa or L visa application. But let’s take a closer look at the different types of visas available and their requirements you should consider before applying.
First, be aware that processing any type of visa application will take time and will not be free. To submit a successful application you will need to fulfill specific requirements (we will mention them in more detail below) and attach several documents, which must be prepared in a way that is common and acceptable by the US authorities.
Second, all visas are issued based on international agreements. With that said, each European country will have its own specifications. For example, even countries with shared history such as the Czech Republic or Slovakia don’t share the same process. Also, applicants of certain European nationalities cannot submit applications under the umbrella of companies from a different European country and vice versa.
While we mainly focus on applications for business E2 visa and L visa, we are prepared and have experience handling more nuanced cases. Our pricing includes legal services, which means that every application submitted is checked by an immigration lawyer for correctness and completeness. If processing your visa will require further legal advice, an immigration lawyer will be in contact with the consulate or federal authorities. They will handle any additional questions and comments that might come from these authorities and evaluate whether the request for more documents is justifiable.
E1 visa and E2 visa for investors, companies and essential employees
This type of non-immigrant visa is suitable for investors, essential employees, and their closest family members. An E1 or E2 visa is valid for five years, and if you follow your business plan – an important part of the application process – they are easily renewed in 2-year increments.
Applications for E visas are processed by the consulate in the country from which the investing entity or an individual comes. Your business expansion in the US will be evaluated on how likely it is that you will create a sustainable and profitable business while hiring local talent.
Processing an E1 or E2 visa is not without fees and you will have to provide evidence of the following:
Only residents from countries that have an international treaty with the United States can apply. Almost all European countries have such an agreement and residents can apply for E1 or E2 visa.
Together with the application, you will need to submit business and investment plans for your business. The business plans have a very rigid structure that can also vary from country to country.
Proof of specialized knowledge for essential employees
You need to demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of the field in which you want to do business. Be prepared to provide evidence of various certifications, professional diplomas, etc. Your professional expertise is considered thoroughly for starting a successful business. As an owner or manager, you are also expected to pass on your knowledge and expertise to local employees and lead your company in a way that will manifest the goals set out in the business plan. Specialized knowledge, unlike professional capabilities, might be difficult to transfer, but even this will determine the success of your business in the US. Examples include experts in the sciences, IT specialists, analysts, or creative occupations. However, your previous successes and history are evaluated and most businesses today are highly specialized.
Proof of an irreversible investment into the US market
We recommend you invest at least $70,000 into your US operation, though $100,000 USD is a more suitable amount to show your seriousness about your expansion to the US. If there is any evidence of your active business in the US market, it will help your case to emphasize that. For example, if you have already acquired new American clients or signed contracts that you will deliver on.
Once you are granted an E2 visa and you enter the United States, you can apply for a social security number (SSN), which will make your day-to-day life in the US much easier. Even though E1 or E2 visa as such don’t directly lead to obtaining permanent residency or Green Card, you can apply for an EB-1 visa after a year of working in the US. This visa type is for indispensable employees and their families and can subsequently lead to permanent residency. However, the requirements for EB-1 visa are much higher than for the initial E visa.
We will guide you through this challenging process, including the preparation of all documents for the embassy or consulate, and provide all necessary legal representation.
Apply with us for L1 or L2 visa
This type of visa is mainly suitable for corporate employees being transferred to the US for longer periods of time. An L visa is granted for one or two years (depending on the age of the company) and can be extended in 1-year increments. The holder of an L visa has the possibility to obtain a Green Card, however, they have to meet many other requirements in order to do so.
L visas are not dependent on the employee’s nationality. However, one of the basic requirements is at least one year of employment with the overseas entity before the employee can be transferred to the United States. An employee’s indispensability and specialized knowledge are also assessed.
All L visa applications are reviewed by US federal authorities (USCIS), which can significantly prolong processing times. There is also expedited processing available for a $2,500 fee.
Let us create a business plan tailored to your specific needs
An E1 or E2 visa application requires the submission of a business plan covering the next five years of your business in the US. Among other things, the US government values highly how many new jobs your business will create for local residents and how much money will your business spend in the country. You will have to prove that your expansion will be a long-term success, providing a lot more than just security for your company or family members. L visas also require a specific business plan with the application.
We have created many business plans across various industries, and know how to tailor them so they show your business in the best possible light. Our business plans include market analysis and competitor analysis, an assumption of the number of jobs created (spread over the next five years), financial projections, and an economic benefit to the US economy. All visa business plans have a very specific structure and certain countries have additional requirements.
As already mentioned, investment in the US market is one of the key requirements for granting an E2 visa. The business plan needs to clearly indicate the investment that you plan to make once entering the US market, and if you invest less money at the beginning of your expansion, you must provide evidence that the remaining sum is deposited in a US bank account. Even though the initial investment amount may seem high, it can include such costs as airfare, accommodation, travel within the United States (including car rental, fuel, and tolls), rent and office equipment, fees for obtaining visas, and many other items. We will prepare a list of potential expenses based on the type of your business. L visa plans are more concerned with the already functioning US company and the professional credentials of the applicants.
If you started thinking about entering the US market, you need to evaluate your odds of success. Expansion risks, market conditions, sales processes, competitor analysis, and target market will all be a part of the business plan and feasibility study drafted by us to help you proceed further. You will gain actionable insight, timelines, and estimated costs of your expansion.
A strong business plan will aid your application for business loans and to target investors in the US – helping to avoid misunderstandings based on cultural differences or a lack of clarity about your business. We can help you with an overall presentation of your company in the market as well.
Finally, our business plans can be a handy tool even if you are not ready to expand just yet. Together, we can start setting up processes so your company is prepared to grow and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves at a future date.
Providing legal services in the United States
When expanding into the US market, you will find it necessary to discuss many topics with legal experts. We can help you here as well. We cooperate exclusively with certified law experts, and thanks to our long-term cooperation and outstanding relations, we can offer better pricing and a more personalized approach.
Our clients most often require legal advice on labor laws and connected issues. That includes anything from the preparation of employment contracts for employees and help with compliance with federal and state laws to the resolution of damages caused by an employee or the termination of an employment contract. Find out more in our article about human resources in the US.
We also cooperate with a variety of legal experts on FDA and DOT regulations, import and export issues, intellectual property, tax law and corporate mergers.