The Heart of Any E-2 ApplicationOctober 11, 2012 by Jimmy Lewin
An experienced immigration attorney in Mesa, Arizona – where there is a great a deal of immigration activity, as you may imagine – contacted us to assist one of his clients with a business plan for an E-2 investor visa. He indicated that one of the requirements for an investor visa is a business plan. While we have a great deal of experience in writing business plans that are used for immigration purposes, the attorney was kind enough to share some of his thoughts on the importance of the business plan as well as the elements that make a business plan successful:
“I am helping Mr. Jones to renew his current E-2 investor visa,” he said. “A good business plan is the heart of any E-2 application. It should help the adjudicator to understand the company (the ‘investment enterprise’) and determine whether the company meets the regulatory requirements.”
“The key issue that Mr. Jones needs to demonstrate, in order to gain approval of the visa renewal, is that his U.S. business is producing (or is very likely to produce within the next year or two) more than a ‘marginal’ return on his investment. Under U.S. immigration laws and regulations, a ‘marginal’ investment return is one that only produces enough for the investor and his family to live on, i.e., no more than a ‘normal’ salary. The immigration authorities would look at such an investment enterprise as merely a ‘job’ and not a true investment that is building wealth.
“Seeking the visa (or renewal of the visa) is very similar to going into a bank to get a business loan: the bank will want to know what the business is about, the characteristics of the market it operates in, what competition it faces, management’s qualifications to run and grow the business, and any other factors that will influence whether or not the business is likely to succeed and repay the loan within the next few years.
“In the immigration context, the applicant is not seeking a loan, but rather the right to remain in the U.S. and do business here. But the criterion for approval is still the same: demonstrating to the adjudicator that this business will succeed financially and make a healthy profit, after it has paid all expenses (including the salary of the owner/investor).
“In addition to the company’s financial data, the adjudicator has discretion to consider whether the business has a significant, positive impact on the local economy. A positive impact on the economy can be found where the business creates new jobs for U.S. workers, or helps to preserve existing jobs. Mr. Jones’s company might be able to show a positive economic impact by demonstrating that his efforts have helped other U.S. businesses to stay in business, to develop new business opportunities, hire additional workers, or retain workers that might otherwise have been laid off.”
We’ve written on this subject several times in this space but it is good to have our view confirmed by an immigration attorney who is on the front line every day, fighting for his clients who wish to make an important contribution to the American economy simply by coming to the United States to invest in and run a successful business.