It was only several years ago that Antoine, a French native, set his eyes on achieving his lifelong dream of starting an aviation company in the state of California, providing flight services to foreign pilots in transit to or vacationing in the state of California. With over six years of experience in the European aviation industry, as a private and commercial pilot, Antoine certainly had amassed the skills and experience necessary to launch his company. On a visit to California, Antoine identified a niche in the market and decided that he would cater to the needs of foreign pilots flying through the Los Angeles County area. With the help of the Law Offices of Jacob Sapochnick, Antoine was able to turn his lifelong dreams into reality. Today, Antoine’s company Heading West is off the ground and on its way to becoming Southern California’s leading flight service company. So how did we do it?
About the Visa
Here at the Law Offices of Jacob Sapochnick, it is no secret that our clients are our biggest inspiration. After having spoken to Antoine about his new business venture, his qualifications, and other needs, we agreed that the best option for Antoine and his family, was to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Although the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa does not create a path to permanent residency, it is a great visa for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to enter the United States and carry out investment and trade activities. To qualify for the treaty investor visa, the investor must be from a qualifying treaty trader country, and must invest a substantial amount of capital to develop and direct the business operations of a new commercial enterprise, or invest in an existing U.S. business. Other requirements for the E-2 visa are as follows:
- If the investor is a company, at least 50% of the owners in the qualifying company must maintain the nationality of a treaty trader country if they are not lawful permanent residents of the U.S. If these owners are in the U.S., they must be in E-1 or E-2 status.
- The investment funds and the applicant must come from the same Treaty Country.
- The business in which investment is being made must provide job opportunities or make a significant economic impact tin the United States. The business should not be established solely for the purpose of earning a living for the applicant and his or her family.
- The investment must come from the investor. The money must be “at risk”. Thus, a loan that is secured by the assets of the business itself will not qualify i.e. if loans have been taken out, they must be secured or guaranteed by the investor personally, and not by the assets of the corporation.
- The investment must be substantial, a standard which depends on the nature of the enterprise. Generally, investment funds or assets must be committed and irrevocable. The funds or assets must be deemed sufficient to ensure the success of operations.
- The investment must be real and active and not passive; this means that a bank account, undeveloped land or stocks, or a not-for-profit organization will not be sufficient to be considered.
- The enterprise must be a real, operating commercial enterprise or active entrepreneurial undertaking productive of some service or commodity.
In the case of our client, he was interested in starting a new commercial enterprise. Because, Antoine had been previously unsuccessful in receiving an E-2 visa, and had already invested a substantial amount of funds to get his business off the ground, the challenge in this case was to raise additional funding for the business venture, and invest that capital into equipment to prove to the US Consulate that Antoine took concrete steps to demonstrate his commitment to the investment. To this end our office identified areas in the company where Antoine could make a more directed investment to show that the purpose of establishing the company was not merely for the applicant to earn a living, but to make a significant economic impact in the United States. Although the company already had a clientele base interested in the company’s services, it was necessary to show that the company would be fully operational upon approval of the E-2 visa, and by extension that additional funds had been committed.
To demonstrate this, Antoine raised additional funding that went toward purchasing aircraft, technology, employing maintenance technicians, pilot licensing, certifications, and other business expenses. In addition to these investments, Antoine had already secured a lease for working space, and was paying other aircraft maintenance costs, and marketing fees that were a sizeable amount by themselves.
Having committed additional funding for the purchase of aircraft, aircraft maintenance costs, etcetera, our office prepared a strong application to prove to the US Consulate that (1) Antoine’s business was a bona fide commercial business enterprise, (2) that he had majority ownership in the company and had the qualifications and experience necessary to manage the company and (3) that the he had made a substantial investment in the company demonstrating his commitment to the business venture. We are proud to say that Antoine’s application was not only approved, but it was issued for a 5-year period. Today, Antoine’s company is extremely successful and is fully booked until the month of December. Congratulations Antoine. We can’t wait to see your company grow.
To discuss how we can turn your dreams into reality, please contact our office for a free initial consultation.