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Business Plans for E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

By: Santiago J. Padilla, Esq.

The current stringent United States immigration laws, specifically those pertaining to E-2 Treaty Investor Visas, are intended to ensure that foreign nationals not only meet all of the required criteria but that they will also be successful once their visa is granted. The mere investment of capital by either starting up a new business, or purchasing an existing business is not enough to provide sufficient evidence that a foreign national will be qualified to be granted an E-2 visa. E-2 visa business plans are a critical component to an overall application for an E-2 visa and must include certain criteria as it relates to the investment and future well-being of the enterprise in question.

A well-documented business plan that details the breakdown of start-up costs necessary for the business to become operational, or the cost breakdown of the business being purchased, will go a long way to prove that the applicant meets the required investment level and that sufficient financial resources are available to sustain the enterprise for a reasonable period of time until it becomes profitable. The content of the plan is generally divided into three areas: Introduction and Market Information, Business Description and Financial Information.

To demonstrate current or future profitability, five year financial projections should be provided that includes profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts. The financial projections should be substantiated and backed up by external sources. If the applicant is purchasing an existing business then prior tax returns and financial statements are usually provided which form the historical basis of the 5 year financial projections created as part of an E2 visa business plan. If the foreign national is starting up a new business then comparable industry profile ratios should be used from the same industry to compare line item details such as sales growth, cost of goods sold, inventory levels, gross margins, and profit before interest and taxes, to name just a few.

In addition to the financial projections, the E-2 business plan must include an executive summary, market analysis summary, marketing strategy, SWOT analysis, personnel summary and detailed job descriptions. According to the US Embassy in London, they have seen a dramatic number of E-2 treaty investor visa applications over the past ten years. However, they warn that it is important for investors to understand the purpose of the E-2 visa, so they do not risk losing time and money in a lengthy visa process that may not result in an approval being granted. Having a well documented E-2 immigration business plan will demonstrate that you have spent time, effort, and money in to making sure your future business strategy has a proper written plan and appropriate course of action.

One important decision you must make is whether to prepare the plan yourself or retain a professional immigration plan writer. Many visa applicants have the writing skills to prepare an immigration business plan. However, whether one wants to devote the time to the plan to save the writing fee is something to be carefully thought-out. Considering the importance of the plan to the visa application, seeking professional assistance may be money well-spent.

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If you have any questions regarding investor visas, real estate investments or any other immigration law issues, please do not hesitate to contact me, Santiago J. Padilla, Esq., either at 800-483-7197, at spadilla@frfirm.com, or on the internet.

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