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The advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies is called "DEAR SOCIETY"
A Silicon Valley immigration attorney says that your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders. I would be happy to answer your questions in my next column.
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I would like to ask you a question, DearSophie.
We are considering opening a sales office in the U.S. I would be moving and my co- founder would continue to run our engineering team.
The E-2 investor and L-1A executive visas are being considered. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Courageous Latin American.
It's an exciting time for you and your team. Your U.S. expansion and all the growth that came with it, you've done a great job.
The E-2 visa for treaty investors and the L-1A visa for executives and managers are both available. I recommend that you work with an immigration attorney to present a strong case when applying for a visa.
The US Department of State has a list of treaty countries. Pakistan and Taiwan are on the list, but other countries such as China and India do not have treaties in place. The E-2 allows international founders to live and work in the US while investing substantial capital to build a business.
At least half of the business must be owned by people from your country of citizenship to be eligible for an E-2 visa. After a number of rounds of dilution from U.S. investors, this can be difficult for a startup. If you are forming a subsidiary of an already-profitable business and not planning to raise capital in the U.S., that may not be a big deal for you. Talk to a lawyer about your plans to raise money.
The minimum amount of capital that must be invested into the U.S. entity is not specified by the E-2 requirements. It is not necessary to receive a pre-seed or Series A round in the US. It is possible for a founder to qualify for an E-2 with a transfer of intellectual property.
While the E-2 doesn't require a U.S. business to create jobs in the future, immigration officials may consider it to be marginal if it doesn't. If you already have U.S. employees or have a business plan that includes hiring in the U.S., you can help get your E-2 approved.