E-2 visa helps many non-U.S. citizens start small firms.
Los Angeles Times article revisits an old standby, the E-2 visa, aimed at small business entrepreneurs.
A few things to keep in mind about the article:
1) It discusses a $50,000 minimum investment, but that number was plucked from a now unpublished guidance memo. The minimum varies from consular office to consular office and the business being proposed, but oftentimes it is much higher than the $50,000.
2) The E-2 only works if the foreign national’s country has an E-2 treaty in place. Check this list from the US State Department to make sure you qualify:
Official List of E-2 Treaty Countries
When we think of immigrant entrepreneurs, we all think of scrappy immigrants coming to the US with $50 in their pockets and starting up a business on their own. That’s what I believed growing up because that what’s happened with my parents.
However, more and more it seems that today foreign entrepreneurs are saavy, well-educated, and somewhat well funded. And they want to come to the United States. We all win, because despite all that’s gone on, this is still the place to be innovative, daring, and bold. This helps our economy and all the goodness that flows from that.
Even this new generation of desirable overseas entrepreneurs are facing difficulties.
The following is a blog entry about an entreprenuer from England who went through the process of getting a visa to open his business in the United States. Peter Nixey talks about his experience at Tech Crunch:
“The visa application process is expensive, very time consuming and very energy consuming. It saps time, attention and energy away from the core thing that any young business needs to do which is to grow.
There are many companies for whom that distraction simply doesn’t make sense. For us though I have no doubt that it was essential. Only weeks after launch, Clickpass is seeing thousands of registrations a week and the influence, support and partnerships that the company made in Silicon Valley were critical to that early success.
Although my first choice of base would always be London, I have no doubt that as a young technology team we would not have had the success we did had we stayed. Getting the visa was not a whole bundle of fun but if I had to go back and do it again I wouldn’t hesitate for a second.”
The read the entire post, go to Coming to America: Getting Visas to do Business in Silicon Valley.