Want To Start A Small Business in the United States? An E-2 Visa May Be Perfect For You.

The idea of starting your own business may always have been something at the forefront of your mind.  It certainly was for me but given that I was not a green card holder, I thought starting my own business was not an option for me.  I was also not encouraged by the “Big” business EB-5 green card category where a $1 Million dollar investment is required.  When I became a lawyer and realized I wanted to start my own law firm, I quickly realized though that the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa was the perfect option for me.   The key advantages of the E-2 Visa is the infinite duration, the fact that your family can come with you and also work in the U.S., & the relatively small investment amount that is required.   In fact, your dream of becoming a business owner in the U.S. could become a reality by spending as little as $15,000.  The remainder of this post summarizes the main requirements for an E-2 Visa and some of the common issues.  Find out about our E-2 visa services by clicking here.

Get answers to the most common E-2 visa questions by clicking here.

1.      You Must Be National of A Treaty Country

The E-2 Investor Trader Visa is only to people from the countries that the U.S. has a Treaty with.  Many Western countries are on the list but there are also countries from Africa, Asia and the Middle East on the list.  Israel was just recently added to the list.   A complete list of the countries on the list can be found here.  If you are a U.K national, you must also be a resident of the British Isles in order to be eligible.

2.      You Must Have Invested or Be Actively in the Process of Investing

In order to satisfy this part of the test, you must fulfill three requirements.

i)Show Legitimate Possession and Control of the Funds

You must invest funds that you have obtained from a lawful means.  While dollar for dollar accounting is not required, you must prove to the Government that you either saved the money, were given the money as a gift or legitimately earned the money.  There are various forms of proof that will satisfy this requirement including tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts & more.  For some countries, this can be problematic if records are not readily available or the country is subject to a high degree of corruption.  When I applied, I showed the government 10 years worth of tax returns, my current W-2, my 401K investment statements and my bank statements. Find out about gifts or loans by clicking here.

ii)All Funds Invested are “At Risk” & Irrevocably Committed

All of the assets invested must be personal assets subject to risk of loss and this really means that you actually have something to lose.  Loans are fine but you must be on the hook if there is a loss and this requirement forces you to sign contracts and/or spend money prior to the approval of the Visa.  When I applied, I signed a one-year office space lease and would have been required to pay approximately $24,000 even if the Visa was not approved.  At risk money does include credit card debt or other loans as long as those debts are not secured by business assets or in the name of a limited liability business.  This provision is one of the “scarier” provisions related to an E-2 Visa.

iii) You Must Be Close to The Start of Business

While you cannot accept money from clients or “do business” until the Visa is approved, you must be close to starting your business.  The idea here is that the U.S. government does not want to approve Visas for people who “may” set up a business in the U.S. or who have a “desire” to start a business.   As such, your business must be at the start up ready phase.  This means you should have a signed lease, your business bank account should be set up, you should have a website, and you should have purchased what ever you need to get the business up and running.

3.      You Must Be in a Position to “Develop & Direct” the Business With Skills

You cannot get the E-2 Visa unless you are the one that is going to direct and run the business. Also, you must have the appropriate skill set such that the Government has faith that the business will be viable. For example, you would likely not have much success getting and E-2 Visa if you wanted to open a restaurant if the only experience you had was eating in a restaurant.  Normally, your educational background and experience should suggest that you will be in a position to make the business a success.

4.      Your Investment Must Be Substantial

The U.S. Government does not have a predetermined amount that they consider substantial.  As such, your investment could be as low as $15,000 or as high as millions.  I invested around $50,000 but only spent $13,000 for equipment, furniture and other items.  I also deposited $35,000 in my business account as operating working capital.  You should note that idle cash sitting in a business account is NOT considered an investment but the government will consider a reasonable amount of working capital as part of an investment. This small investment was sufficient because I was setting up a service oriented business which does not cost much to set up.  If the business was say a car manufacturer, the required investment amount would have been substantially more.   You should ensure that you keep records of all of your expenditures as the government will want to see them.  You can read more about how large the Investment amount should be by clicking here.

5.      Your Investment & Business Cannot Be Marginal

This means that the business cannot be set up so that it provides a means of living just for yourself and family.  You can demonstrate a business is not marginal by putting together a business plan that shows growth over a 5-year period or by showing that you plan to hire employees in the future.  You can find out more about the marginality requirement by clicking here.

6.      You Must Intend to Return to Your Home Country After Expiration

This is not a difficult test to meet and all you must do is sign a document that indicates you plan to return home once your visa expires.  Unlike many other visas you do not have to show any ties to your home country like a home there. Your spouse and family can also get E-2 visas and your spouse can get full work authorization. Find out more about the spousal work authorization by clicking here.

All in all this is a great Visa for those who wish to start a small business in the U.S..  The Visa does have an extensive documentation requirement and you are strongly advised to seek the assistance of a lawyer.   Scott Legal, P.C., has actually been through the process and successfully filed the Visa petition for this business so who better go guide you.  Click here to find out more. You can also call us at 212-223-2964 or email us at info@legalservicesincorporated.com.

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159 Comments

  1. Akira Hirai July 9, 2012 8:02 pm

    Ian – this is a very helpful and informative article. In case your readers want to dig deeper into the business plan requirements of the visa, we published a blog post recently that may be helpful: http://www.caycon.com/blog/2012/05/you-can-live-and-work-in-the-u-s/

    Best regards,
    Akira Hirai

    Reply
  2. R. Hidalgo July 10, 2012 4:39 pm

    Interesting article. There is a sentence that reads: “A complete list of the countries on the list can be found here”. I am afraid that the link to the member countries to the treaty has not been provided. Could you please give that missing information?

    Reply
  3. Joseph S. Tann, Jr. July 11, 2012 2:16 pm

    Ian,

    Excellent article. If investment in an existing US business versus starting a new business in the US is desired, I represent two “green businesses” — a wind turbine company and a new technology battery rapid charge company — which are positioned for EB-5 investment. I will gladly provides details to sincere interests. Take care.

    Joe

    Reply
  4. Blanca Funes July 18, 2012 4:33 am

    can you post some information in regards to the time frame the visa is valid? one year, two years, i mean for those people who might like to know…

    Reply
    • IanScott July 18, 2012 11:22 am

      Sure. If you are already in the U.S. on another Visa, you can either adjust your status or apply and then reenter the country. If you adjust status, the Visa is good for two years. If you apply and reenter, the Visa is good for 5 years. The Visa is renewable as long as you continue to run the business so one could spend the rest of one’s life in the U.S. if that was the desire.

      Reply
  5. Andrew Jackson October 8, 2012 5:45 am

    Hi,
    I am Andrew Jackson, a financial writer. Today I came across your site (legalservicesincorporated.com) and enjoyed reading your article on finance. I just want to know if you allow guest posts? I would like to write on a relevant topic that is still to cover on your blog. I will make sure that my articles will be completely original to serve the quality. I do believe your readers will enjoy reading it. It will be a great honour for me if my article finds a place in your blog. Please let me know about your decision.

    Best regards,
    Andrew Jackson

    Reply
  6. Immigration Advice Canterbury March 7, 2013 6:47 pm

    I blog often and I genuinely appreciate your content.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your site and keep checking for new
    details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

    Reply
  7. Fernanda August 26, 2013 2:00 am

    Hi, thanks for your article it is very helpul
    I have aquestion , I have an E2 is there any chance to start another bussiness with the same visa?

    Thanks in advanced

    Reply
    • IanScott August 26, 2013 12:27 pm

      Hello, You could apply to USCIS or the Consulate to get the nature of your business changed so that it includes the new business. We could help with this if you wish.

      Reply
  8. Martha Monteiro October 17, 2013 12:42 pm

    Hello Ian Scott. great article.
    would Brazil or Portugal be out of this visa them? Please let me know.

    Reply
    • IanScott October 19, 2013 12:52 am

      They are not on the list. The eligible countries gets updated occasionally. For example, Israel was recently added.

      Reply
  9. Ali Malik January 5, 2014 3:25 am

    Hi
    I am interested in E2 startup business. I have few business plans and would like to know more about them,

    Can you please call me or let me know my contact details are below.

    Many Thanks

    Ali Malik
    954 798 8756

    Reply
  10. Sikander March 2, 2014 5:23 pm

    I have B1 visa valid for 5 years, i want to buy a C-Store in New York, and then apply for adjustment of status from B1 to E-2, someone told me that Interview at USCIS is Not required if Applicant is already in USA and applies for Adjustment of status and decision is made on Documents Only without interview.
    and he told that interview is required Only if applicant applies in his home country at U.S. consulate. IS IT CORRECT SIR?

    and in above comments i did read that if You Apply and Re-enter ,then visa is issued for 5 years, could You plz explain it more that if i Apply for E-2 visa while being already in USA and then if i go out of usa before approval is done then How would i re-enter ?
    and approval of adjustment of status is done in my absence then i would re-enter on B1 visa? and receive E-2 visa in USA? or i will get some Approval Document in my home country and send that to US consulate in my country and visa will be issued in my passport then i can re-enter only?

    Reply
    • IanScott March 2, 2014 5:35 pm

      Thank you very much for contacting us and we welcome the opportunity to help you with your legal needs. At your earliest convenience, we would be happy to offer you a consultation with one of our lawyers. If after the consultation you decide to hire us to work on your matter, our $250 one hour consultation fee will be waived and the amount will be applied towards your future bill. (As such, the consultation would be free). In order to protect and be fair to you, our current clients and the firm, we only offer legal advice after an attorney-client relationship has been established. While some legal questions appear straight forward, a proper answer requires a review of the facts and circumstances as well as an application of legal knowledge. Moreover, almost all questions require follow up and additional analysis that is best done during a consultation. We look forward to working with you and please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation.​

      Reply
  11. Jitender Kumar April 8, 2014 12:28 pm

    J.K.DANCE COMPANY PVT.LTD.
    14B/6,3RD Floor,D.B.Gupta Road,Dev Nagar
    Karol Bagh,N.D-5

    Hello sir/mam,
    My name is Jitender Kumar. I m putting up in New Delhi. I m a professional choreographer. I m running my own dance company in Delhi i.e.(J.K.DANCE COMPANY PVT. LTD.) . I want to start this company in USA too.In starting ,I don’t want any employee under me ,when my business will rise up at that time I only need, otherwise I can running my company by my own because I know how to run my company. I want to explore my Indian art culture internationally. I want to know the procedure that how could I apply there. Please let me guide about this.
    Thanks
    JITENDER KUMAR

    Reply
  12. Jitender Kumar April 8, 2014 12:32 pm

    J.K.DANCE COMPANY PVT.LTD.
    14B/6,3RD Floor,D.B.Gupta Road,Dev Nagar
    Karol Bagh,N.D-5

    Hello sir/mam,
    My name is Jitender Kumar. I m putting up in New Delhi. I had a word with Uk Embassy ,so they give me this email id. I m a professional choreographer. I m running my own dance company in Delhi i.e.(J.K.DANCE COMPANY PVT. LTD.) . I want to start this company in UK too.In starting ,I don’t want any employee under me ,when my business will rise up at that time I only need, otherwise I can running my company by my own because I know how to run my company. I want to explore my Indian art culture internationally. I want to know the procedure that how could I apply there. Please let me guide about this.
    Thanks
    JITENDER KUMAR

    Contact me: jkdancecompany.pvt.ltd@gmail.com

    Reply
  13. solomon davies April 20, 2014 5:35 am

    please call me at your convenience to iscuss this. thx

    Solomon 780-232-462

    Reply
    • IanScott April 20, 2014 2:57 pm

      Dear Solomon, You have not left a complete phone number. Please contact us at 212-223-2964. Kind regards,

      Reply
  14. MDS April 29, 2014 3:28 pm

    Dear Ian,

    Thank you very much for preparing this informative and explicative page. I am planing to buy some shares worth of USD 120.000 and become a partner in an existing US Company. I will mostly stay 3-4 months a year in USA to maintain my business. Can I be eligible to apply for E2 visa? Or Should I continue to use 10 year B1 visa?

    Thank you and best regards

    Dunbar

    Reply
    • IanScott April 29, 2014 3:32 pm

      Dear Dunbar,
      If you buy shares of a company, the company must comply with SEC regulations regarding the sale. Spending less than full-time in the U.S. to run the business is fine for the E-2 visa. We would be happy to set up a consultation to discuss. If you are working in the business a B visa is not an option. Please email us at info@legalservicesincorporated.com if you would like to set up a consultation.
      Kind regards,

      Reply
  15. GIANCARLO May 22, 2014 8:58 am

    I’m a U.S. citizen and I will be opening a restaurant in Hawaii. The business will be set up as a DELAWARE corporation operating in Hawaii and I was planning to be listed as the only director and also as all officers (President, Vice, etc.) My question is : My mother in Law will be the main investor and she is from Japan. For her to qualify AND obtain the E-2 visa will she need to be one of the officers or directors of the corporation??

    Reply
    • IanScott May 22, 2014 1:09 pm

      She likely should be but that would be done in your minutes and other corporate documents. I would be happy to set up a consultation to discuss the set up and how you can improve your chances as the consulate in Tokyo is not an easy one to navigate through.
      Kind regards,

      Reply
  16. prajeev June 1, 2014 5:48 am

    i would like to open a restaurant in usa,. already i have one restaurant in Malaysia ., what can i do ? ( i have $ 200,000) i need more information like business visa or visiting .

    Reply
  17. prajeev June 1, 2014 5:52 am

    i would like to open a restaurant in usa,. already i have one restaurant in Malaysia ., what can i do ? ( i have $ 200,000) i need more information like business visa or visiting ., i m indian citizen .

    Reply
  18. Laura June 15, 2014 11:21 am

    Dear Ian,

    thanks for this helpful article! We are running a business sucessfully for 10 years now in Austria and we would like to start the same business in the US. Is this a way to obtain a E2 Visa? Do the investments made already count towards the investment that is needed or do we have to make them again for the US-business? Is there a way to get a consultation via email as we don’t live in the US?

    Regards,
    Laura

    Reply
    • IanScott June 15, 2014 1:05 pm

      Dear Laura,
      Thank you for contacting us. You would have a few visa options available to you (eg. E-2, L, EB-1 and H-1B) depending on the facts and circumstances. We regularly set up Skype or phone interviews and would be happy to do this. Please email us at iscott@legalservicesincorporated.com and we would be happy to set up a consultation. Kind regards,

      Reply
  19. Martin June 19, 2014 1:14 am

    Dear Ian,

    I am not sure if my plan in applying an E2 visa is viable.

    My doubt is as follows: Would I have a chance to have my application approved, if I have not had the experience in the business that I plan to setup. I will be partnering with my sister who is an American national and we plan to setup a personalized service, for customers back in my country (Australia), however, we see the same service can be provided also for American customers.

    I have already made investments in a form of an apartment and a house in Los Angeles , either property can be the location of the business where it operates, as it will only require a home-office (currently one property is already used as a home for my mum and sister). The other property currently vacant, is planned to be used as an income generating source unrelated to the service we plan to setup, however will initially subsidized the operating cost of the business we plan to develop. Would the vacant property be considered as part of the start-up capital subject to risk or loss. My sister will be handling most of the operations in the US and I will be coming to help and direct the business for a few months of the year in the US. Gradually as the business grows, I will need to spend longer time in the US.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • IanScott July 5, 2014 3:34 am

      Please contact us to further discuss this. We can offer you legal advice if you set up a consultation. Kind regards,

      Reply
  20. Carla September 18, 2014 8:22 am

    Hello, as Brazil is not eligible for E-2 visa, is there any other way to run a business (100,000 investment) legally?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • IanScott September 18, 2014 4:29 pm

      Hello, If you have had an H-1B visa previously, you may be able to set up a business but it is complicated. Also, If you have a business in Brazil, then perhaps an L visa. Please contact us for a consultation.
      Kind regards,

      Reply
  21. Jade October 15, 2014 10:11 am

    Dear Ian,

    Our UK based Hospitality company is setting up in the US (NY) and we have decided the E2 would be the best option for us going forward however we came across a very interesting initiative known as SUNY which stands for START-UP NY (initiative to create tax free communities for new and expanding businesses on university campuses across the state) http://startup.ny.gov/Business-Growth

    Can you let me know if potentially being accepted to take part in such initiative could jeopardise our E2 visa application process in anyway at all.

    Would really appreciate your feedback.

    Jade

    Reply
    • IanScott October 17, 2014 3:05 am

      Hello, this program should not impact your E-2 Visa. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to find out more about E-2 visas. Kind regards,

      Reply
  22. Tagraj Goyal October 27, 2014 8:37 am

    Dear
    I m from india , I have my own garments manufacturering company.
    Now I m planning to open trading house in USA in men’s Garments .
    I can invest USD 200,000 .
    I have not any relative or Clint in US right now.
    Can I eligible for start new business in USA.
    Thanks & wait for your reply
    Tagraj Goyal
    91-98250 78196

    Reply
  23. Suky November 12, 2014 12:24 am

    What if you have e2 visa and our purchasing anyother busniess do you apply for a seperate e2 or can they be combine ?…

    Reply
    • IanScott November 16, 2014 5:50 pm

      You could combine. I suggest setting up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss. Kind regards,

      Reply
  24. Diksha Moon November 15, 2014 3:42 pm

    Hello,
    I’m from India. I was to start my own business in USA and I don’t even own any business in India.
    I’m only 18.
    And treaty country list doesn’t show India in it.
    So is there any other way I can get the visa to USA?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • IanScott November 16, 2014 5:48 pm

      Thank you very much for contacting us and we welcome the opportunity to help you with your legal needs.

      At your earliest convenience, we would be happy to offer you a consultation with one of our lawyers. If after the consultation you decide to hire us to work on your matter, our $250 one hour consultation fee will be waived and the amount will be applied towards your future bill. (As such, the consultation would be free).

      We look forward to working with you and please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation.​

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  25. Joe December 7, 2014 3:09 am

    Hi team

    I am an Australian and planning to open a business in the US.

    I have few online stores already and was thinking to expand to the US.

    Please could you contact me and let me know what information is required before I actually apply for E2 visa?

    I am guessing I am just after a YES or NO answer if my business has a chance get VISA for me to come over to the USA.

    I am not intending to stay there as I am quite happy living in Australia. But was thinking to start up a venture there as well to increase my profits and grow globally.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Joe

    Reply
  26. Peter L January 14, 2015 2:30 pm

    Happy New Year and thanks for great article! I read the Q and A about E-2 Visa, and it was stated that buying a home does not qualify for E-2. But how about investment properties, I already own few condos in FL and I plan to buy more under an LLC. Also plan to buy-renovate-sell/rent and possibly expand into property management services. Is this kind of activity considered substantial business so that I could obtain E-2 visa?

    Reply
    • IanScott January 14, 2015 2:40 pm

      Hello, This could work but would have to be properly structured and you would have to show that it is a true business that will hire U.S. workers. We suggest that you set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers.

      Reply
  27. Moshe January 15, 2015 6:16 pm

    Hello, thank you for the informative article.
    I am currently going through the E2 process from Canada. My question is once business is moving forward in the US business, how would I be able to eventually obtain a Green Card. I am aware that the E2 does not offer that option.

    Please advise.
    Thank you,

    Reply
  28. Bo January 20, 2015 2:08 pm

    Hi Ian,

    I am currently on H4 visa and intend to start a financial service company sometimes next year. I intend to start the business from my home. Will this type of business qualify for E2 visa, and will I be able to adjust my status in the US?

    Reply
    • IanScott January 20, 2015 2:27 pm

      Perhaps but we would need more information. Also, you would likely need a commercial lease (office outside the home). I recommend setting up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your options.

      Reply
  29. Rory February 7, 2015 5:18 pm

    Hi,
    very nice article! My fiance and I are Italian and we are planning to start a business in the US to import and sell Italian wines.
    Do we both must apply for the E1 visa? You mentioned that the cost is about 15,000USD, if we would have to cover that for two it would be 30,000USD, which is quite a big step for a start up company.
    Thanks again for this article.

    Rory

    Reply
  30. Aslam February 24, 2015 7:51 am

    I would like to invest in a business in USA. If my E-2 visa denied that what about my investment. This mean that will be loss for me or there will be time to resale my business.

    Reply
    • IanScott February 24, 2015 1:55 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. This is a risk but there are ways to mitigate the risk. One significant way, is to hire a qualified attorney so that they can guide you through the process. For example, if you buy a business, we can put in a provision that says you are not obligated if you are not approved. Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation. Please send an email to info@legalservicesincorporated.com

      Reply
  31. Mauro March 10, 2015 9:46 pm

    Dear Ian, I’m Mauro and i’m italian. I would buy an existing shop/restaurant (less 10 employee) and i’m looking to valuate the chances i have for do it. I supposed i need a E-2 visa and i would your confirmation in order to lose time. I have also to move all my family (wife and children) and in the future we would became a us citizen. Is possible change the e-2 status after some years? In order to have the us opportunity i have to sell all my properties in Italy. Many thanks on advance for your time.

    Reply
  32. Maria del Carmen Valle March 12, 2015 7:12 pm

    Dear Good afternoon:

    I’m from Ecuador , with my husband want to have information on the Visa E2, we have approximately 50,000 to invest. We live in Quito Ecuador and We have visa B1 B2

    We have not children , his age is 38 years old and my 29 , my mom has an apartment in Fort Lauderdale and she lend us , so we would not have to worry about housing.

    Our idea is to put a washing cars in Florida , however we do not know if this is feasible and if it comes to the E2 Visa . Please help me with information and total costs….. But please you remember we want to open a car wash in Florida because the apartament is there

    Sorry for my English It is very basic

    Sure to have your kind help advance my thanks.

    Best regards,

    Reply
    • IanScott March 12, 2015 9:34 pm

      Thank you. I have sent you an email to set up an appointment. Hablemos Espanol tambien y tenemos este articulo en espanol en nuestro blog.

      Reply
  33. Alberto March 12, 2015 9:32 pm

    Hello Ian, nice and helping article. I was wondering, if someone wants to come in the US to open a business, but wants to scout and research the market first, maybe trying to sell some products before actually invest big money (that as far as I understood is needed to ask for a E-2 visa) what options does he/she have? B1? would that work and what is good to know about it? Does the E2 actually require a big investment? Someone told me that under 120k it’s very unlikely to get the E-2 approved. Is that true even if a business, such as an import-export one, that doesn’t need big money to run?
    I hope that the answers to my questions will help readers to get a wider understanding of the E-2 visa and when is needed and when is better choose something else, at least as first step toward the E2. Thank you.

    Reply
    • IanScott March 12, 2015 9:35 pm

      Hello, A B visa permits one to come to the U.S. to investigate an E-2 visa and do things like sign lease contracts, set up a business entity and open a bank account. It does not give you the ability to “try out” a business and things like sales would be strictly prohibited. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to further discuss E-2 visas. Kind regards,

      Reply
  34. angie May 5, 2015 4:18 pm

    IS THERE OTHER OPTION IF MY COUNTRY IS NOT ON THE LIST? (GUATEMALA) I WANT TO OPEN A SAMLL BUSINESS IN NY?

    Reply
    • IanScott May 5, 2015 5:04 pm

      EB-5 is an option but would require a much larger investment. Also, L visa if you have a company that you work for in your country and have done that for one year.

      Reply
  35. Asif Mehmood May 17, 2015 7:27 pm

    I’m doing textile services business in Pakistan from 7 years thinking to setup same services business in US like another office for marketing of textile items.

    Reply
    • IanScott May 17, 2015 11:35 pm

      hello, I sent an email to your gmail account. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  36. Leuw King May 24, 2015 5:51 pm

    Hello Ian,

    Thanks for the article. I have an idea to start up a coffee shop in my school while i am f1 student. As my f1 visa, I can do the business for one year after my graduation. After my 1 year period, I will need other visas to support me to keep the business going. Does the E-2 visas apply to me? Or is there any other visa that is more appropriate with my situation?

    Thank you,
    Leuw

    Reply
    • IanScott May 24, 2015 5:56 pm

      Hello, I sent an email to your email account. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Reply
  37. johnlow May 28, 2015 3:09 am

    Hi, great article, very useful. Quick one: If I get an E-2 visa and I move to the US to manage my incorporated business, can I work for another company as well? In case I get an offer from another business, can I be employed by another company and still operate mine? Thanks for your help. John

    Reply
    • IanScott May 28, 2015 3:12 am

      Hello, An E-2 investor or employee visa only allows you to work for the company that the visa is associated with. An E-2 spousal visa permits the spouse to work anywhere. Please contact us to set up a consultation if you have additional or follow up questions. Kind regards,

      Reply
  38. Sid June 2, 2015 9:49 am

    Could I be eligible for EB2 if I am a Canadian citizen who was born in India?

    Reply
  39. Alex June 9, 2015 8:54 pm

    I am currently under a J2 visa with a 2 year rule exception. Does this rule apply for the E-2 Visa?

    Reply
    • IanScott June 9, 2015 9:01 pm

      You may obtain an E-2 visa even though you are on a J visa. The restriction applies to green cards, L and H-1B visas.

      Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to discuss.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  40. nora hash June 10, 2015 2:37 am

    Is it possible for Malaysian to set up business in America as it is not in the treaty list?
    Your respond is much apreciated.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • IanScott June 10, 2015 2:55 pm

      Not for E-2 but perhaps L-1 or EB-5 if you meet the criteria. Please contact us to set up a consultation.

      Reply
  41. Sarah S. June 10, 2015 5:05 am

    Hello Ian: great article! I am a Canadian currently working in U.S. since Jan 2014 on a P1 visa ( I’m a professional aerialist and acrobat) and perform in an established US production at a well known venue. I am interested to open my own business in the States as owner/ director of my own circus school and performance company. Are there any visas that would cover this? Is an E2 visa my only option? Thank you very much for your insight.
    Sarah

    Reply
    • IanScott June 10, 2015 12:24 pm

      Certainly an E-2 visa sounds like a good one for you. I will send you a separate mail and hope we can speak today.

      Take care,

      Reply
  42. Giuseppe Coppola June 18, 2015 10:19 pm

    Hi,
    I have a quick question.i’m on a E-1 visa and i own my company for the past 3 years.i’m planning to move my company to another State in the US.can i do that with my visa or i will have to reapply in order to move my company to another state?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • IanScott June 18, 2015 10:21 pm

      Hello,

      You can operate in all States with an E-2 or E-1 visa so do not have to do anything with the visa. You would though have to comply with any State requirements for doing business there.

      Reply
  43. Giuseppe Coppola June 18, 2015 10:42 pm

    Thank you so much for your fast reply!you guys are awsome!!!

    Reply
  44. Vic June 19, 2015 8:56 pm

    Hi Ian,
    this article is great! Thank you.
    I have one question. Can you start a new business partnering with an existing US business that wants to expand at 50%?

    Vic

    Reply
  45. Vic June 19, 2015 9:00 pm

    I am sorry…my question was kind of confusing :)
    I wanted to ask:
    “Can someone obtain an E2 visa starting a new business partnering with an american that owns a similar business and wants to expand?

    Reply
  46. Le Corre Cindy July 8, 2015 5:24 pm

    Hello,

    My E2 Visa is linked to my Husband’s Visa (Main Holder) He is part of a big company here. I also have an additional work authorization.
    I’m currently thinking of starting my own small business? online to begin…should I apply for my own E2?

    Thank you for your valuable advises.

    Best regards,
    Cindy

    Reply
    • IanScott July 8, 2015 5:26 pm

      You are permitted to start your own business while on a spousal E-2. You could apply for your own if you did not want to be linked to your husband’s E-2 as when that employment ends, you would immediately not be authorized to get an E-2 and it may be harder to get one after the business has been around for a few years depending on the profits.

      Reply
  47. Luqman alvi July 31, 2015 11:03 am

    Hello sir….i want to invest USD 400,000 in the usa….can this amount be eligible for an EB-5 visa….if not…
    can i buy different types of businesses…e.g…..petrol station and a supermarket at a time now or in future during my e-2 status….???

    Reply
    • IanScott August 21, 2015 1:50 pm

      Hello,
      Yes, this could be used for an EB-5 investment but you would need another $100,000. E-2 can be converted to EB-5 as long as you qualify. Please contact us for a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  48. Kumar R August 21, 2015 7:54 am

    Hi, I am an accountant from India who has clients in usa and india doing accounting and taxes. I had previously F1 and H1B visa as I did MBA from USA. Now I want to expand my business and set up an office in US and may recruit people in future. I may work from my US office for longer duration in future and may come to usa with my family. What kind of visa can I look at.

    Reply
  49. Aarif August 27, 2015 12:35 pm

    I am Indian, working in Middle East since 5+ years. I am on job and also got partnership business here. I have sent you an email as well, kindly guide through the process and documentation needed etc.

    My email is given and tel no. 00965 66361468

    thanks in advance.

    Reply
  50. Said Issa August 30, 2015 10:53 pm

    I have a cellphone business in Colombia and I currently do a lot of business with US companies (buy phones and import to my country) I also have a B1 visa and come the US regularly for business purposes, now I want to open a new store (around 100 investment) I don’t want to live on the US as the business is to be opened with a US citizen partner (we will own 50% each) what I do need is that I can have all the legal business papeles on my name, Lo bank accounts, etc.. I do want to come 3 or 4 times a year and if the business grows maybe live here eventually. In my case what’s the best choice? E2? I’ve seen my country is on the list. Please let me know and send email with as much information as possible. Thanks!

    Reply
    • IanScott August 31, 2015 3:50 am

      Thank you very much for contacting us. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S..

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and we would be happy to send you a link so that we can set up an appointment.

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
      • Said Issa September 1, 2015 3:35 am

        Sure I would, let me know how can be done I’m in Miami at the moment for 3 days so maybe if u have an office here would be great or maybe thru Skype. Let me know. Please reply to email. Thanks

        Reply
  51. Ridhwan Zulkifli September 23, 2015 5:55 am

    Hi
    I’m Ridhwan from Malaysia, I’m currently running a corporate training/seminar/conference provider company here in Malaysia, What are the means and ways for me to relocate my business in the U.S. ? your guidance is very much appreciated. Thank you

    Best Regards
    Ridhwan Zulkifli

    Reply
    • IanScott September 23, 2015 12:27 pm

      Hello,

      Malaysia is not an E-2 Country but you could consider an L visa. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to discuss the requirements. Your company in Malaysia would have to have employees and you would also had to of worked there for at least one year.

      thank you,

      Reply
  52. Stefan Hoffmann September 28, 2015 3:16 pm

    Hi Ian,

    My case is very special.

    I am German, married to an Ecuadorian with 2 kids (7 years, born in Germany and 1 year, born in the US).

    We have been living on a E1-Visa (except my 1-year old) in Florida since 2009 where I work for an international company. I am only allowed to work for that company. 2 months ago I invested USD 20 000 to open my own business (Retail kiosk) which we are running very successfully.

    However, there seems to no way for us to obtain the Green Card (my employer won’t sponsor as it would not benefit them, no immediate relatives, I don’t have half a million to invest, no extraordinary abilities to apply for National Interest Waiver, no luck in Green Card Lottery).

    Is there any chance to get a Green Card via my own company (LLC) or via my E1-Visa? It is very frustrating to be here legally for 6 years and not having chances to get the Green Card.

    Thank you and best,

    Stefan

    Reply
    • IanScott September 29, 2015 12:18 am

      Hello and thank you for contacting us. You may be eligible for your own E-2 visa as an investor but you would have to invest more or put some money in a business bank account (perhaps another 30K so that the total investment is 50K). It really depends on the facts and circumstances. With your own E-2 you could stay for as long as you run the business. I do not see a green card category that is currently available to you. Please let us know if you would like us to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  53. Maraya October 10, 2015 4:01 pm

    Hi Ian,
    I’m an U.S E2 visa holder linked to my housband’s one (main holder). I got my working permit authorization and I found a new job where now I’m fine. My concern: my housband’s current work situation. The company is having some difficulties and his contract could be terminated in a few months. Here you go my questions:
    – how could this situation affects to me? Must I leave my current job as well if he finally loose his job?
    – could he works or been employed for another company holding his current visa? I heard about a kind of “release letter” issued by his current company allowing him to works for others until his visa expired.
    – in the worst scenario, we would be obligated to leave the country?
    I’d just like to figured out how can I handle with this situation. I would appreciate if you can let me know your thoughts.

    Thank you.
    Maraya.

    Reply
    • IanScott October 12, 2015 1:02 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. We would be happy to set up a one hour consultation with you to discuss all of your legal questions. Our $250 fee is applied towards your final bill if you decide to hire the firm and if not you will still have answers to your many questions. Please let us know if you would like to set something up.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  54. Thiago Orlando October 14, 2015 12:23 am

    Hi!

    Thanks for the post, it’s very informative. But I have one doubt.
    I’m Brazilian (natural born), but I’ve got an Italian Citizenship.

    Am I eligible for the E2 visa? Or only naturals from the treaty countries are eligibles?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards!

    Reply
    • IanScott October 14, 2015 12:26 am

      Thank you for contacting us. The passport is what governs so you are eligible. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation. We would be happy to help you.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  55. Rupinder October 16, 2015 8:44 pm

    Hi Ian,

    This article is great and helped many questions i had regarding E2 visa. My brother and his wife are planing to buy business in USA. I have searched many site but non of the sites provided answer to this question:

    1. For E2 visa you have to buy business before you get visa. Right now they have visited USA in visitor visa and found a business they liked but how can purchase that business without any documents. When we contacted a Franchise business they liked, we were asked for social security. Since he does not have that, what document can you provide them.

    Thank you for great advices, looking forward to your answer
    Rupinder

    Reply
    • IanScott October 16, 2015 8:56 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. The only person who can answer your question is the franchise sellers as they are asking for the information. An E-2 visa does not require the individual to have a SS# but the business will have an EIN number and this can be obtained by non residents. The franchise may accept the EIN but you would have to check with them. We would be happy to help you with your E-2 visa so please contact us if you would like to set up a consultatoin.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  56. Michael October 17, 2015 10:20 pm

    Hi,

    I am looking to start a soccer company in the bay area.

    I have 100k to invest but after reading your blog i wonder if i need to invest that much to get an E2 visa.

    It does not cost a lot to set up this type of company as our clients would provide the fields etc all we need is equipment and transport.

    We already have people ready to start with this company.

    So my question is how much investment do i actually need to invest and also how much would i have to spend of the investment?

    Thanks,
    Michael

    Reply
    • IanScott October 17, 2015 11:55 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. We recently processed an E-2 visa for a Soccer Club and the investment amount was under $100,000. The potential success of the petition is really fact specific and also where you are applying. We would be happy to set up a consultation to discuss your case and assist you with the E-2 visa.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  57. Karin October 19, 2015 10:22 pm

    Hi Ian!

    I’ve been researching the net but haven’t found an answer for my question. I’m a German citizen and Canadian Permanent Resident and want to start a business with a Brazilian friend. I know Brazil is exempt from the E2 visa, but would she be eligible to be my business partner and work in the US as long as I own 50% of the business?

    thank you!!

    Karin

    Reply
    • IanScott October 20, 2015 1:02 am

      Thank you for contacting us. The Brazilian national would not be eligible for an E-2 visa under the situation you outlined unless your business partner was also your spouse. A spouse can get an E-2 visa regardless of nationality but E-2 investors and E-2 employees must be from treaty countries. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation. Kind regards,

      Reply
  58. Shahid Hussain Shera October 21, 2015 5:32 am

    One of the conditions of E2 visa is stated to be the ability to ‘Direct and Develop’ business. If I make a partnership arrangement with my brother – a US national- whereby I bring in the investment and he performs the above function,
    would that be an acceptable arrangement?
    The rationale is that my brother knows the US market and the business would have better chances of success if a person who knows the US market, manages it.
    Were such an arrangement to be acceptable, could I ask my brother to join the interview at the US consulate to explain the business plan and clarify related questions.
    Regards,

    Reply
  59. Den October 24, 2015 3:36 am

    Thank you for an informative article. I am a UK citizen, would buying a franchise worth US$25 000 allow me to get an E2 visa?

    Reply
    • IanScott October 24, 2015 12:56 pm

      This may work but you would also need to put working capital (say around $75K) in a business bank account so that the total investment would be $100,000 or around that. If you have further questions, please feel free to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers. Kind regards,

      Reply
  60. Deborah Galliano Daros Zeigelboim October 24, 2015 3:44 pm

    Dear Sir,

    As an Italian citizen and owner of the biggest pet casting agency in Brazil, I would like to know the procedures to migrate my business to the USA.
    Thank you for your attention.
    Regards,
    Deborah

    Reply
    • IanScott October 24, 2015 10:35 pm

      Hello and thank you for contacting us. You could consider an E-2 visa or an L visa. The best option would depend on the facts and circumstances. I would recommend a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss options and so that we can give you legal advice. We look forward to hearing from you.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  61. Karina torres October 24, 2015 10:32 pm

    Hello,
    My partner and i Are planning to get E-2 Visa we have 2 kids both under 5 years old and we have been togehter for 7 years but we are not officially married we just live together do we have to marry in order to get it!?? And as my kids will they be able to stay stay in the u.s once they turn 21? Also my parents are u.s residents and my sisters u.s citizen would they Be able to petition a green card for white already having the e2 visa and if so would i have to give up my visa or still be able to travel??

    Thank you for ur time.

    Reply
    • IanScott October 24, 2015 10:34 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. IN order to get a spousal E-2 you must be married but if you were both running and investing in the business, you could consider 2 investor visas. The E-2 visa only permits spouse and minor children as dependents. If you have further questions, we would be happy to set up a one hour consultation to discuss.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  62. Charles Ndubuisi October 25, 2015 11:16 am

    My wife (Qualified chef) and I are Nigerian parents to 2year old US citizens by birth. While she would be attending further professional culinary study in the city in 2016, and upon completion intends to go into partnership with her sisters (US Citizens) to form a Private Chef Business (Ultimately metamorphosing into a restaurant business) for Nigeria Continental Fusion Cuisine. Our annual visit to New York in B1B2 Visas (especially to Queens and Brooklyn areas) in the last 3 years has presented a huge market for Nigerian cuisine. She would also like an opportunity to be closer to support her ageing parents who are US Legal residents. How do we go about this service set up on a 20-25k investment?

    Reply
    • IanScott October 25, 2015 8:10 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. Nigeria is not an E-2 treaty country so you are not eligible for an E-2 visa. If you have a business in Nigeria already then perhaps an L visa and if you invest more than $500,0000 then an EB-5 investor visa.
      Kind regards,

      Reply
  63. Roberto contreras October 27, 2015 12:48 am

    Hi, exactly how long does it take to get a E2 visa would it take more than six months? I would appreciate the information

    Reply
  64. Roberto contreras October 27, 2015 1:01 am

    How long does it take to get a E2 visa in México?

    Reply
  65. abu November 10, 2015 10:28 pm

    hi !
    Great site and many usefull answers !
    I was coming to the states since years on B1/B2 visa , have already 2 registered companies at the states and few properities .
    I live in indiana and for sure will use ur service :))
    my question :
    I have already an E-commerce company in the states and earning few thousends monthly and have already a US employee , can i use the money i ll collect from this company to proof the (funds source) and to make the investemt of 50k ?!
    I started with a Notebook and an ebay accunt , i don`t work my self at the states but manage the buisness oline from abroad .. will plan to buy a commercial office using this funds , buy a car and truck .. and use the rest as operating money ( 30-35k ) ….
    So no money really coming from abroad but they were geneated at the states …
    Will this work ?

    Reply
  66. Marco November 10, 2015 11:21 pm

    I checked so many websites official and non official about the EB-5 visa and this i the only one that says we need as few as 15K when all the websites said at least 500K in a rural place!
    thxs

    Reply
    • IanScott November 10, 2015 11:24 pm

      You are confusing E-2 visa and EB-5. E-2 can be processed with as little as $50,000 – $15,000 spent and the rest in working capital (as per the article). An EB-5 visa needs minimum of $500,000 investment.

      Reply
  67. sohail qaisar November 13, 2015 3:30 pm

    Sir’i start a small businiss in Canada .I start a resturent .I have no visa.I start my business 3000$.can you help me.

    Reply
    • IanScott November 14, 2015 12:21 am

      Thank you very much for contacting us and we welcome the opportunity to help you with your legal needs.

      At your earliest convenience, we would be happy to offer you a consultation with one of our lawyers. If after the consultation you decide to hire us to work on your matter, our $250 one hour consultation fee will be waived and the amount will be applied towards your future bill. (As such, the consultation would be free).

      We look forward to working with you and please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation.​

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  68. Sohail qaisar November 15, 2015 3:37 am

    Weher I contact you.I don’t aunderstan.

    Reply
  69. Sohail qaisar November 15, 2015 4:18 am

    Hello sir.I want to start a small restaurant in Canada.I can invest 3000$ in it.my contact number is 0926336026 you can call me at any time in day at Pakistan time.I want Visa for me and my family.pleas sir help me.I am waiting.contact me pleas help me as soon as possible. God bless you.or you can send me your contact number or email I will contact you. Thanks

    Reply
  70. Sohail qaisar November 17, 2015 2:59 pm

    Sir,I am in Pakistan.I move to Canada with my wife three sons and one daughter.sir my two sons are cp patient .my Canada moving reason is my child treatment .but sir I have some problems I have not enuf balens .that’s I will start a low begat returent or a labour job in Canada.I make Pakistani all foods.in this way can you help me we are moving to Canada easily.

    Reply
  71. Pedro December 2, 2015 4:59 pm

    Ian , Entering, ( not re-entering);What’s the visa’s time lenght good for?. Also do you Know what’s the Visa’s cost ? , (not the filling fee) I do not think this is on your blog !! Thanks!!

    Reply
    • IanScott December 4, 2015 4:44 am

      Thank you for contacting us. The duration of the visa depends on the country you are from and how long the consulate grants the visa for. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to further discuss. Kind regards,

      Reply
  72. Solomon December 8, 2015 4:45 am

    Hi. I am a real estate agent. I am looking at establising a real estate brokerage in the states. It will be home base. I can run it on 50k since i have a decade of experience and know how to run it. will 50k be enough to get me an E@ visa? it is a service business
    Thanks

    Reply
    • IanScott December 8, 2015 2:01 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. $50K could be enough but it depends on the facts and circumstances. I recommend setting up a one hour consultation to discuss.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  73. Andy December 8, 2015 5:17 pm

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your valuable information and update.
    I am British Citizen and if I enter USA under Visa Waiver Programme to evaluate the business I have identified and would it be possible to apply E2 visa from USA if I agreed to buy the business or I have to back to UK to apply?
    Do you have UK office?
    Appreciate your input please.
    Regards, Anand

    Reply
    • IanScott December 9, 2015 12:51 am

      Thank you for contacting us. If you entered on Visa Waiver, you have to apply at the Consulate in the U.K. as you cannot change status when you enter on visa waiver. We do not have an office in the UK but we have clients all over the world. We would be happy to set up a Skype or phone call consultation at your convenience. Kind regards,

      Reply
  74. faisal December 11, 2015 9:54 pm

    Hi
    very informative article I have a confusion we are in US and would like to go for change of status with E2.We are purchasing a franchise and for that we want to form an LLC this is where the prblm is.We dont have SSN or ITIN so how can you open LLC if you are a foreigner and dont have SSN or ITIN?

    Reply
  75. Sherzod Khodjimatov December 15, 2015 12:25 am

    HI, I am considering home care business in Columbia South Carolina. There is Startup Homecare business that requires potential home care operators a business plan with around 17k one time fee. They make sure people like me to get license in area I will be working and get me customers, training as well. As experience, I am paramedic and my wife has certificate and work experience in senior care. I have a home in SC and able to start with home business until the business grows. There are other expenses with this type of business such as work compensation and insurance. So I would like to know if the investment is enough. Thanks

    Reply
  76. sohail qaisar December 17, 2015 8:42 am

    sir i have experanss in agriculture 7 years .canyou give me help for visa

    Reply
  77. Hyomoon Kim January 8, 2016 1:47 am

    Hello, I am interested in E-2 visa and your summary is very intriguing, please help me to get some idea. Such as where to start.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  78. noman January 16, 2016 3:38 pm

    dear sir/medam
    i m very thankfull to u if u give few minutes to my question….i just want to know about my case.i m a pakistani national.acctually 3 years ago i got 5 years b1,b2 visa from my country.and i went to usa with my wife and son.then istart my own business in new york and i applied for e2 visa during my stay.after arround 7 mounth i got e2 approved petition for 2 years.after 1 year i had to go my country back for any urgent work.now i m in pakistan.now i got one later from uscis.it says my petition is approved.and we notified consulate in my country and port of entry on 5 november 2015.more then 2 mounths gone but i did not recive any response from embassy.plz guide me about this that what i need to do now.
    and secondly i have my b1 b2 valid visa .can i travel on my b1 b2 or not
    i m realy thank full to u if u guide me about my case
    thanks alot
    regard

    Reply
  79. Lydia January 22, 2016 5:51 am

    Hi,
    Thank you for the very useful article. My parents in law are Canadian and would like to apply E2 for a small business, but the business is located in a residential house? Does the rent premise have to be in commercial building or residential? Thank you.

    Reply
  80. Syed Khalid Aftab February 7, 2016 9:20 pm

    I need assistance and information about the E2 visa

    Reply
  81. Sebastian February 9, 2016 11:18 am

    Hello Ian,
    I would like to apply for E2 Visa, I have an argentine passport but I live in Spain, I have residence permit until 2018.
    Is it recommended to apply in US embassy in Argentina or I could apply directly in Spain? which option would you consider the best?
    I have prepared a business plan which includes adding a new business to my parents company which is in the US. Do you provide consultancy on business plan in order to submit proper documents to the embassy?
    Tks!!

    Reply

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