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Business Licenses & E-2 Visa

A business team in a meeting at a long desk

An E-2 visa is a Visa Classification that is available for foreign nationals who wish to live in the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of a business. The business can be large or small and an E-2 Visa is a great Visa option for those who want to start a business.

Does my business need a license? Do I need to have all licenses granted before I apply for an E-2?

After you set up an entity in the U.S. , you should either carefully research the local, state, and federal licensing requirements for your type of business yourself, or engage an experienced attorney that can assist you with this.

USCIS often issues Requests for Evidence and asks to see evidence that the E-2 investor / the E-2 company has all licenses it needs to operate the particular type of business. USCIS usually wants to see city, county, state and federal licenses, or evidence that licenses are not needed (such as letter from local/state/federal agencies confirming your type of business does not need a license, screenshots from the government’s websites confirming this, or a letter signed by an attorney summarizing the research the attorney conducted and concluding whether or not the company will need a license).

To avoid getting a Request for Evidence from USCIS, you should have all licenses approved for the company at the time the petition is submitted with USCIS. In our experience, the Consulates usually don’t want focus too much whether or not the E2 company has the necessary licenses – but you should still have all licenses your company needs to comply with the city, state and federal laws).Showing that your company has all necessary licenses is part of the Real and Operating E-2 visa requirement.

Please see our blog post on Whether you can have a petition pending with USCIS and a Consulate abroad at the same time here.

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