The article discusses E2 visa for construction company.
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a U.S. non-immigrant visa designed for individuals who make an investment in an active commercial enterprise in the United States. The E-2 Investor Visa allows a national of a treaty country to temporary come to the United States together with their spouses and children to live and develop their business. To learn more, visit our E-2 visa page.
Entrepreneurs and investors, who have the means to invest in a US business, often wonder what options do they have that are profitable and familiar to them but are also compatible with the requirements of the E2 visa. One often discussed investment option is the establishment or purchase of a construction business.
First, before we start discussing how a construction company can work for an E2 visa, we need to make a distinction between a construction company and a real estate development company.
A real estate development company can have activities that range from the renovating and leasing of existing buildings to purchasing empty land, obtaining the necessary permits, securing financing, building the structures, and renting property, managing it, and ultimately selling it.
Construction companies on the other hand only handle the construction process itself, making sure a building is built up to the specifications provided by the developer’s engineers and architects. Construction companies are not investors in the projects they execute, and their pay is not contingent on the sale or lease of the building in question. Real estate development is different from construction, although many developers also handle the construction process themselves.
A real estate development business can be difficult to qualify for E2 visa as it will be difficult to justify a need for permanent staff and prove it is an active ongoing business that is constantly in operation.
However, many potential E2 investors have considerable experience in real estate development and seek to create a business that is consistent with their expertise. Since many real estate developers also handle the construction process in-house, a construction company is a logical choice for them.
Below are some of the types of construction companies in the US and some of the steps needed to start.
Construction management companies overseeing the entirety of a construction project, including accounting, staffing, hiring subcontractors, or even hiring general contractors if the project is big enough. Construction management companies are typically involved with larger projects.
General Contractors On smaller projects, hiring a general contractor is entirely sufficient. General contractors usually have a direct contract with the owner/real estate developer. They have the task of choosing, hiring and paying subcontractors.
Subcontractors are responsible to handle certain aspects of the project under the supervision of the general contractor. These aspects include framing, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, roofing, drywall, flooring and others.
Starting a construction company in the United States will require several important steps:
- Obtaining proper licenses – most states require that a construction company obtain a license before starting work on projects. For example, the state of Florida requires both general contractors and specialized contractors to obtain a license. The requirements for a license include passing an exam, a combination of experience and/or education, and a good credit score for both the business and individual. While obtaining a contractor license can be difficult for an E2 investor who is new to the US and does not have a credit history, the E2 investor can hire a US individual with the necessary individual license or the ability to obtain one in a short period of time.
- Insurance – any construction company in the US must have a liability insurance in case it damages the building it is working on. In addition, workers compensation insurance will be required once the E2 company has employees.
- Hiring employees – although it is not required to have hired employees before obtaining an E2 visa, any E2 company has to be able to show the need for US employees and that it has made plans to hire them under its business plan. Since construction is a labor-intensive business, hiring employees with the necessary qualifications will be an essential part of making it operational. Here, E2 investors should be careful to only hire employees who are authorized to work in the United States. Fortunately, the US government has made available an E-Verify system that allows employers to confirm employment eligibility.
- Tools and equipment – any construction company would need tools and equipment to conduct its business. Fortunately, in the US there are many options to rent construction equipment. That allows a construction company to use equipment on an as-needed basis and to have ownership in equipment that is not being used. Nevertheless, it is a good idea for an E2 business to purchase some tools and/or equipment that will use frequently. That includes general tools for the workers such as hammers, screwdrivers, etc. and or light trucks that can transport the workers and their tools to the construction site.
Despite not being an easy business to set up, with stringent licensing requirements, starting or purchasing an existing construction company for E2 visa is viable option for investors with experience in the field. Currently, in light of raising real estate prices, construction is facing a boom with high demand for its services.
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