An E-2 Visa is possible for virtually any business type provided the applicant invests funds and the business will sustain U.S. workers. You can find out more about an E-2 visa by clicking here. In many cases individual E-2 applicants are first-time business owners and the questions comes up of whether one needs experience in the E-2 business to get an E-2 visa approved.
Experience in the E-2 business is a very positive aspect of any E-2 visa application and if the applicant had relevant experience, we would stress that experience in the E-2 visa application. For example, if someone was starting a catering company, experience as a Chef would be very helpful to the application so we would stress that in the filing. Further, if the applicant had relevant business or management experience, regardless of the business type, we would highlight this and use it to describe how this would assist the applicant with running the business. In some cases where the business is highly specialized (eg. offering specific consulting services, architect, doctor, etc.) previous experience would be required to show that the applicant could develop and direct the operations.
While direct experience is very helpful and recommended, it is not essential for some businesses. This is especially the case if the business does not require specialized knowledge or the applicant can be trained quickly. For example, many Franchises offer training for the applicant which makes previous experience not as relevant. Similarly, we have processed E-2 visas for restaurants, pool cleaning, vacation maintenance, car servicing (the applicant was not a mechanic, but we indicated that he would hire mechanics), gas stations, and more, all where the applicants had no prior experience. As with the mechanic example above, the applicant can also explain that they plan to hire specialist talent and will focus on running the business and this can work also.
In short, experience is preferred for an E-2 visa but not always required.
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