Will it be possible for startup founders, crowdfunded by e.g. Kickstarter, to apply for e-2 (e2) treaty investor US visa (given that owners have citizenship of a treaty country, and they have 50% of business each)?
For example, we are a small hardware startup, we have successfully finished kickstarter compaign and we have received money on our business account in US. We have LLC where both of us have equal shares. We also have a business plan and financial plan where to spend those money. We also have some obligations to "backers" to produce and send them a product. Can those money be treated as an investment, so we could apply for e-2 visa to continue develping project in US?
This is what state.org site says:
- The investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
- It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
- You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
- You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
And this is what Kickstarter says:
- In general, in the US, funds raised on Kickstarter are considered income.
- In general, a creator can offset the income from their Kickstarter project with deductible expenses that are related to the project and accounted for in the same tax year.
- Beyond deductions, a creator may be able to classify certain funds raised on Kickstarter as a nontaxable gift, and not income. A gift is something given out of “detached and disinterested generosity” for personal reasons and without the expectation of getting something in return.