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General Overview of E-2 Investor Visa Requirements

If you would like to purchase a business or franchise inside the United States, but do not have authorization to work in the United States, then an E-2 Visa may be just for you.

The following is a general overview of how one qualifies for this visa:

  1. Only nationals of countries that have a qualifying treaty with the United States can qualify for an E-2 visa.
  2. You must have already invested in or are actively in the process of investing in a United States business. This means that you must show that you have placed your own funds or other capital assets at risk in the hope of generating a financial return. Merely stating that you will provide your assets at some future date to purchase the business is not good enough. To qualify for the visa, you have to already be at the point in the transaction where your funds are irrevocably committed.
  3. Your investment must be substantial. The definition of substantial varies on a case by case basis. However, the general test is (a) what is the amount invested weighed against what the total cost of purchasing the business is; (b) what is the amount normally considered sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the business; and (c) what would be the amount necessary to support the likelihood that the investor will successfully develop and direct the business This does not mean that the investor has to provide 100% of the needed funds to purchase the business, instead each enterprise will be viewed on a case by case bases to determine what is substantial. One thing to keep in mind is that the lower the cost of the business, the higher the percentage of investment will be required (whereas a highly expensive business would require a lower percentage of investment).
  4. The investment must be more than a marginal one solely for earning a living. You must show that the investment will generate either a present or future capacity to earn more than a minimal living standard for the investor and their family. Key factors that the United States considers include: will the investment expand job opportunities? Will the investment generate other sources of income? Will the investment generate income substantially above what would be considered a living? And will the investor be working simply as an unskilled worker at the business?
  5. The investor must be in a position to develop and direct the enterprise. This means that the investor must have a controlling interest in the business, usually at least 50% ownership of it.
  6. The investor can bring other employees to work in the enterprise in the United States. So long as they will serve in an executive or supervisory capacity or, if not in a supervisory position, has special qualifications essential to the United States operation.
  7. Finally, the Applicant must have the intention of departing the United States when their E-2 status terminates, like most non-immigrant visas to the United States.

These points are meant to provide a general overview of the major qualifications for an E-2, investor, visa to the United States. If you would like assistance with applying for this visa, or have additional questions relating to E-2 visas, please contact us at 313-963-2505 .