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Do I have to Hire Employees to get an E-2 Visa?

By September 14, 2016May 7th, 2021E-2 Visa, Immigration, Investor Visas
Image courtesy of Nguyen Hung Vu on Flickr (labeled for reuse)

An E-2 visa is a great option for entrepreneurs who want to start and run a business in the United States. You can read more about the specific E-2 requirements here. One common myth about the E-2 visa is that the company must have already hired employees prior to the E-2 investor getting the visa. It can be extremely helpful to the application if the investor has hired employees, however, there is no requirement that the company already have employees prior to the E-2 Investor getting the visa.

While the company does not need to have employees at the time the E-2 investor first applies, the E-2 application must demonstrate that the investment is not marginal, meaning the investor must show that the company has or will have the capacity to support more than just the investor and his or her family and make a significant economic contribution. This means that the investor needs to demonstrate that the company will generate enough income to hire employees over a 5-year period. For startup companies, this translates into providing a comprehensive business plan with a detailed personnel table and 5 years of financial projections that demonstrate the company will generate enough income to hire employees over the 5-year period.

More information about the requirements for an E-2 compliant business plan can be found here.

Do I have to Hire Employees prior to renewing the E-2 visa?

When you first apply for an E-2 visa, it is fine if your company does not have any employees. Many of our clients do not hire any employees in year 1 and for a small number even year 2 of operations. However, by the time you plan to renew your E-2 visa you should ideally have hired the number of employees you planned to hire in your business plan. For E-2 investors who have five-year E-2 visas it is very important that the company have employees by the time the investor submits an application to renew. If the investor is in the position of renewing the visa at the one or two-year mark, it makes the application much stronger to show that the company has hired employees, but as long as the company is on track based on its projections, the application could be approved without the company having employees.

How Many Employees do I Have to Hire?

There is no magic number, but after the first year generally the company should seek to hire the number of employees that makes sense for the business. For some businesses three full-time employees may be sufficient, while other companies will need significantly more employees to run the operation. Companies may also choose to have some independent contractors as staff, although full-time W-2 employees make for a much stronger application.


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  • Som Prakash says:

    Hi, I am an independent IT contractor in the UK. 3 months back started by business in the US. How much of investment I need to show for my E2 visa in the US ? How much is your charge ?

    • IanScott says:

      Hello and 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.. I have attached a link to our E-2 visa brochure below that describes our services and fees and you can see from the brochure that we can also help you with your business plan and your business entity set-up.

      E-2 Visa Brochure

      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 I have attached the link to set up a consultation below.

      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,

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We are happy to offer our E-2 visa guide that describes the E-2 visa requirements, and other advise to assist with your E-2 visa application.
For more info visit our E-2 visa service Page or schedule a consultation so we can handle your E-2 visa process.  You can also sign up for a Free E-2 Visa Webinar here.