An E-2 Investment visa is available for foreign nationals who would like to invest and move their family to the United States. The visa is only available to nationals of countries with an investment treaty with the United States. The list of treaty countries can be located on the U.S. State Department website. Thailand is a country with an investment treaty with the United States.
For foreign nationals without a U.S. family sponsor or a U.S. employer sponsor, the E-2 Investment Visa is a straight forward way for them to temporarily live and work in the United States. The primary requirement is that the foreign national has money to invest and is capable of running the business operation. The United States welcomes foreign nationals who are willing to start a new business or invest in an existing one and create new jobs for U.S. residents.
The application process for an E-2 visa is complicated. Prior to beginning the processing, the applicant should consult an experienced professional. An error in the transfer of the funds, incorporation of the business, or the purchase of a business can result in the denial of the application. There are no minimum investment requirement but the closer the investment amount to $100,000 or more the greater the chance of approval.
The amount of investment is dependent on the type of business that is being started. For example, the amount required to start a new automobile company is higher than the amount to open a car repair shop.
The investment needs to be in a running business operation and not in speculative or passive investments. The investment cannot be the stock market or purchasing bonds. In addition, the amount needs to be substantial and sufficient to successfully run the business operation.
The amount invested must be in the control of the investor and the investor must bear the risk of business failure. The investor can use their personal assets to get a loan to fund the investment but they cannot use the business assets to secure the loan.
The business must be capable of generating significantly more income than just enough to provide the basic living expenses of the investor and his family. An investment in a single food cart would probably not qualify as an E-2 investment.
The additional benefits for E-2 visa holders is that the spouses of the primary E-2 visa holders can apply for employment authorization and can work without restrictive conditions in the United States. Children under 21 of E-2 status holders have similar educational benefits as U.S. residents. The children have the opportunity to enter public schools similar to U.S. resident unless restricted by state law or school requirements.
Once the investor enters the United States on an E-2 investment visa, the investor and their immediate family can remain in the United States for up to two years. The E-2 investment status can be extended in two year increments as long as the qualified investment enterprise is still in operation as outlined in the initial submission and the E-2 status holder has not violated the terms of the status. There are no limits in the number of extensions an E-2 status holder can file.