An E-2 visa is a great option if you want to start a business in the U.S., you have invested a substantial amount of money in the U.S. or you are in the processing of investing the money, and you plan to hire U.S. workers. Please see the E-2 requirements when you click here.
Do I need an office space for an E-1 visa?
The short answer is no. You do not need an office space for an E-1 visa, but in some situations it may be advisable to have an office space. Please see our more on this topic when you click here.
Is it required to have an office space for an E-2 visa?
The Department of State recently (on July 17, 2020) updated the Foreign Affairs Manual and the current version of the Foreign Affairs Manual (document used by the Consular officers when reviewing the E-2 applications) states that “an E-2 applicant does not necessarily need a physical office space to qualify for an E-2 visa. Although having physical office space may be relevant in determining whether the requirements for an E visa have been met, it is not a requirement to qualify for the visa.”
Before this change, we advised our clients that they get an office space when applying for an E-2 visa to demonstrate that the business is real and that they will have a space to accommodate the employees. There were certain scenarios such as when the business was a food truck, an oxygen bar moving from one location to another, home renovation company (where the client was on site all the time etc.) where the office space was not necessary. Additionally, there were other scenarios such as when the business was a clothing store or a hair salon studio where a separate office space was not required as it would not make sense because of the nature of the business.
Does the new change mean that I do not have to get an office space now when applying for an E-2 visa?
We would generally still advise that you get an office space if the type of business you are starting/purchasing usually requires an office space. This will also help you to convince the Consular officer that the business is real, especially if you are just starting a company in the U.S. and you do not have any clients yet. For example, if you are starting a consulting company and you plan to hire 3 employees in the first year, we would still recommend that you get an office space.
Please note that there may be changes in this area due to Covid -19 global pandemic. Many companies have already given up their office spaces and are shifting to working from home indefinitely.
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