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My spouse and I own our business 50/50. Should we each apply for the E-2 investor visa?

By April 27, 2023E-2 Visa
A business team

The E-2 visa is a great visa for foreign national entrepreneurs who want to develop and direct a business in the U.S. The foreign national must be a citizen of a treaty country and invest a substantial amount to purchase an existing business or start a new business. The company must be real and operating and the foreign national must plan to hire employees to work for the business in the U.S.

One common scenario is when a married couple owns the E-2 business 50/50 and wants to know how to structure the application. In this scenario there are many possibilities. For example, each person could apply as an E-2 investor, one person could apply as an E-2 investor and one could apply as an E-2 employee, or one person could apply as an E-2 investor and the other person applies as an E-2 spouse.

In this scenario we usually recommend that one person applies as an E-2 investor and the other applies as an E-2 spouse, as this greatly simplifies the application process. E-2 spouses are permitted to work in the U.S. and no longer need to apply for work authorization. When the E-2 spouse enters the U.S., they just need to make sure that their I-94 has been annotated as an E-2 spouse with code E-2S and this will permit them to work in the U.S. Applying as an E-2 spouse also provides more flexibility. The E-2 spouse is permitted to work for the E-2 company, but could also work for other employers in the U.S. If both people get E-2 investor visas, they would need to show a higher investment amount and they would each be restricted to working only for the E-2 company.

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