By Renata Castro, Esq.
Your dream of living and owning a business in the USA can be possible if you qualify for an E-2 visa, even if all you can afford now is a small investment.
What is the E-2 visa?
The E-2 visa allows nationals of a treaty country to enter the US to run a business – big or small – if the foreign national makes an investment of a substantial amount in a U.S. Business in any industry.
Who qualifies for the E-2 visa?
Citizens of one of the treaty countries, as listed in the U.S. Department of State’s list, who start a qualifying business in the USA, are eligible to petition for an E-2 visa. Applicants can have more than one citizenship, as long they have citizenship and a passport for the qualifying citizenship.
How much do I need to invest to qualify for the E-2 visa?
This is one of the most attractive features of the E-2 visa. There is no minimum investment. However, to obtain an E-2 visa, a foreign entrepreneur must make an investment which is substantial in a U.S. business. According to the law, a substantial amount of capital is one which:
- Shows the US government that you are committed to the financial success of your business.
- Establishes viability of the business. The capital invested by the foreign national does not have to be the only source of capital for the business, however, it makes the business viable.
- Is sufficient to the successful operation of the business.
The smaller the necessary capital to start the business, the more capital in relation to the necessary seed capital the foreign investor must contribute.
Can I buy an existing business for an E-2 visa application?
YES! A foreign investor can either start a new business in the USA or purchase an existing business to pursue an E-2 visa. Immigration attorneys are not responsible for the promotion or sale of a business.
OneClickAdvisor.com’s tip: You can find a list of businesses for sale throughout the USA here.
Can I buy a franchise to qualify for an E-2 visa?
YES! E-2 visas can be very flexible. Franchises are an option for those looking to enter or remain the United States with an E-2 visa. The immigration attorney of your choice begins work once you have established the franchise of your choice.
OneClickAdvisor.com’s tip: Obtain free information about franchises here.
Will I need a business plan?
A business plan is essential to your application. However, whenever you are petitioning for an E-2 visa through an American consulate abroad, there are page limitations. As a result, the drafting of the business plan must be concise, but effective.
OneClickAdvisor.com’s tip: business plans requested by banks and investors are different than this requested by the government. However, most of the work you do for one can be used in the other. When examining your venture, the government looks for issues such as compliance with the law, job creation for Americans, economic impact, and staying current on taxes.
Creating a business plan is useful, and with great software, can actually be fun.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration has a free tool for your use here.
- LivePlan by Palo Alto Software also offers a simple, user-friendly, and relatively inexpensive business plan service here.
- One Click Advisor fills in the gaps with the free Business Builder, which walks business owners through a plan and connects them with free, discounted or paid recommended services.
Can I have a business in any industry?
The E-2 visa allows investors in any business industry if it is legal at a federal level. This is important, because some businesses such as cannabis, at the time of writing this article, are legal in some states but not legal for the federal government. Therefore, if you want to open a dispensary and petition for an E-2 visa, that is not possible.
Is my spouse required to have the qualifying citizenship to obtain a dependent E-2 visa?
Your spouse is NOT required to have the qualifying citizenship to move to the USA as your dependent on an approved E-2 application. All your spouse needs is to show that you both are legally married at the time the petition is adjudicated.
Can my spouse work if I get an E-2 visa?
Spouses of E-2 visa holders can work for any employer once they obtain an employment authorization card, or EAD. In fact, a spouse with an EAD can have their employer petition for the family’s green card through a labor certification.
Through our content partnership, One Click Advisor and Castro Legal Group are committed to empowering you, the foreign-born entrepreneur, with powerful information designed to assist you turning your American Dream of owning a business in the USA a reality.
If you have a business idea and want to apply for an E-2 visa, it is key to receive advice from an experienced business advisor. One Click Advisor’s own James Chittenden, who has consulted over 3,000 business owners, can answer your questions on Instagram.
Have a question about the E-2 visa? Send it to us on our Instagram account and immigration attorney Renata Castro could be responding your question next!
Welcome to One Click Advisor! We would be remiss if we didn’t give you a brief tour of the site and what it can do for you. The free Business Builder is a consulting session, solving your business plan questions in minutes. Your challenges and opportunities can be sorted into one of three areas.
Marketing, because it brings in the customers. Start or continue that plan here.
Operations, because it keeps your customers. Start or continue that plan here.
Finance, because it is the scoreboard and because to keeps you paid. Change the “score” and explore financing here.
If you are entrepreneurial and want to come to the U.S., the E-2 Visa may provide the way.
DISCLAIMER: This article does not constitute endorsement by the attorney of any of the services listed, nor does the attorney earn any income derived from affiliate links. Attorney-client relationship is not established with the readers of this article, and is no substitute for legal representation.