This is another in a continuing series of posts I will be writing to describe some of the Alcorn Immigration Law team’s client success stories.* To maintain confidentiality, the name of the client has been changed, and details may have been omitted or slightly altered.
After building a successful software consulting firm in Germany, Brigitte began thinking about expanding her firm in Silicon Valley.
Eventually, Brigitte saved up nearly $100,000 to expand her business in the U.S. She needed to visit the Valley to lay the groundwork for her firm’s expansion.
Determining a Path
To look for office space and meet with potential clients, Brigitte made several trips to the Valley under the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) visa waiver program. The program enables citizens of designated countries, such as Germany, to travel to the U.S. for business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Nearly 40 countries are on the list of designated countries.
Brigitte came to the Alcorn Immigration Law team for a consultation. Given her goals and home country, we advised her to pursue an E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors. The E-2 nonimmigrant—or temporary—visa allows foreign nationals whose home country has a trade treaty with the U.S. to remain in the U.S. when investing capital in a U.S. business.
An E-2 visa is valid for only two years. However, it can be extended indefinitely every two years as long as the conditions under which the visa was granted remain in place.
The Alcorn Method
The Alcorn Immigration Law team connected Brigitte with a business lawyer we often work with to incorporate her business in the U.S.
Then, we guided her through the E-2 visa requirements to ensure she presented a strong application. Under the Trump administration, immigration officers are looking for any issue to deny immigrants a visa.
Brigitte’s plan for setting up her new U.S. office became a chicken-and-egg problem often encountered by individuals pursuing an investment-based visa. Immigration officers look for a large, upfront investment for such things as office space, office equipment, and inventory when evaluating E-2 applications. However, Brigitte’s tech services startup only required office space, a few desks, and computers. That failed to constitute a large, upfront investment in the eyes of immigration officers. Moreover, she didn’t want to expend any funds until she was sure she would receive a visa.
This concern often arises when individuals pursue investment-based visas. The Alcorn Immigration Law team devised a plan for Brigitte to overcome this obstacle. We structured her business to comply with the E-2 requirements. We also explained the risks for her business, and the questions she could encounter at her consular interview.
We’re happy to say Brigitte’s visa was approved after a five-minute interview. She’s now making plans to move here, invest here, and get her new Silicon Valley company off the ground.
We feel honored that Brigitte trusted us to guide her through the visa process.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team supports immigration for innovation by assisting highly-motivated investors, founders, talent, and families obtain visas, green cards, and citizenship. Contact us if we can help you, an employee or a loved one. We can help whether an individual is inside or outside of the U.S.
* Our success in a case does not predict nor guarantee the outcome in your legal matter. The result portrayed above was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts.