An E-2 visa is a visa that allows investors and entrepreneurs to invest in or start a business in the U.S. The investment must be large enough to get the business up and running and the business must ultimately hire U.S. workers. The visa is only available to nationals of certain countries and can be issued for up to 5 years.
You can find the full set of E-2 visa requirements by clicking here.
Scott Legal, P.C. has processed hundreds of E-2 visas and we regularly receive questions throughout the process. Our top 5 E-2 visa questions (or groups of questions) and answers (Series 1) are listed below: (You can see series 2 by clicking here)
- Can I get an E-2 visa from buying real-estate? Can my E-2 Visa be a real-estate business? What type of business qualifies for an E-2 visa?
Any legitimate business that will ultimately hire U.S. workers can qualify for an E-2 visa. While a real-estate business is a viable option, the business must be large enough in scope that it can support hiring 3-5 employees over time. Passive investments do not quality for an E-2 visa. As such, simply buying and renting out a property or a real-estate flipping business where there are just a few properties would not work. One successful E-2 visa that we have processed was for a property management company that had 50 homes. Another business related to real-estate was a home renovation business. You can see examples of types of business that we have processed E-2 visas for by clicking here.
- How large does my E-2 investment have to be? How much do I have to invest for an E-2 visa? What can I spend money on for an E-2 visa?
The E-2 visa regulations do not require a specific amount of money to be invested but the amount should be enough to get the business up and running. The actual amount depends on the type of business. An investment can be as low as $60,000 but this amount is considered a very low investment amount and would only work for certain types of businesses. Most E-2 investments are over $100,000.
You can find out more about the E-2 investment amount requirements and factors to consider by clicking here.
You can find out more about things to spend money on for an E-2 investment by clicking here.
- Do I have to keep a home or residence in my home country to get an E-2 visa?
No. An E-2 visa is unlike most non-immigrant visas in that you do not have to maintain a residence in your country. The E-2 visa is a single intent visa (not a dual intent) which means that your intent must be temporary but usually a letter stating that you plan to return to your home country when the visa expires is sufficient. You can find out more about the intent requirement by clicking here.
- Do I have to hire employees?
Yes. The main reason the E-2 visa exists is so that U.S. workers can be hired. Ideally, 3-5 employees should be hired by year 5 but it is not necessary to have employees on day one. A good business plan helps to show that a business will ultimately hire U.S. workers. You can find out more about an E-2 business plan by clicking here.
- Do I have to rent office space?
Yes. While not a statutory requirement, an adjudicator will see an office or some type of commercial lease as a very important part of the application. You can see a video on this topic here.
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