5

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.
1

A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify

If you're looking for funding on kickstarter, I'd say you have a paper organization with speculative 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.

It doesn't sound like your business generates any income at all, let alone to provide enough for your living in the US.

I really cannot see how you can get a E2 visa here, but you should probably talk to an immigration attorney.

  • Thank you, but i think you've misunderstood the question. The thing is, that company has already received money on its account from successful kickstarter campaign. So there should be an income as well, which is calculated in financial plan. – Knick Knock Feb 22 '15 at 15:59
  • @KnickKnock no-one in their right mind would consider money from KickStarter as a reliable business revenue stream. Really, what do you think USCIS are, idiots? – littleadv Feb 23 '15 at 2:50
  • the question is if those money (from Kickstarter) can be considered as an investment, not revenue stream. And the revenue will come from business which will be based on those investments. – Knick Knock Feb 23 '15 at 8:36
  • @KnickKnock the investment, in the context of E2, is your investment. It's treaty investor visa, where the applicant is the investor. So you cannot claim KickStarter money to be an investment and then ask for an investor visa - you were not the one to invest. If you claim KickStarter money to be income - then it is one-time income. You cannot base your business model on people indefinitely giving you money on KickStarter. One-time income is never a basis for any financial or business plan. – littleadv Feb 23 '15 at 8:38
  • As to "And the revenue will come from business which will be based on those investments" - here you have it. As I said - your business doesn't (as in present, aka now) have any income. The requirement for E2 is not only to have present income, but to have waaaaaaaay more than enough to pay for your own (and your family) living in the US. – littleadv Feb 23 '15 at 8:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.