Have questions about the E2 visa? You’re not alone. I’ve been helping people get E2 visas for years, and I get many of the same questions over and over. So, I’ve decided to put together a list of the most frequently asked questions and bite-sized answers. Once you have a basic understanding of the E2 visa and want to discuss the facts of your case, you can contact us for more in-depth answers.
NOTE – Every case is different, and this information shouldn’t be construed as legal advice.
We don’t help with business selection. However, for immigration purposes, any business that is 1) legal AND 2) for profit AND 3) will have paid employees and clients/customers AND 4) will be successful enough to support you and your family may fit immigration requirements. You can start your own business, or you can buy an existing business or franchise.
The business can be in any U.S. state. For immigration purposes, the location within the U.S. is completely irrelevant. That said, you should pick a place where you want to live and where you feel the business will be the most successful.
No minimum, but you should have at least one at the time of application. At the end of 5 years, you should plan on having at least 5 employees. If you have a large business or a business that needs many employees, you will need to show that you have more than 5 employees.
They should be citizens or green card holders.
No government mandated minimum, but we require a minimum of $100,000 for very simple, small businesses. Keep in mind that the investment amount is proportional. Meaning, if the cost of the business is $500,000, you will need to invest probably $350,000 or more. The larger the company, the more you will need to invest. You must prove that the investment is “substantial.”
We have helped many investors starting service-based businesses, and they have all invested a “substantial” amount, as required. We can always discuss the specifics of your case in a consultation.
Only if the loan is based on personal collateral (your house, a personal “signature” loan, etc.) A loan based on the business will not count as part of the investment.
Yes. This is common, particularly in younger investors.
Maybe. Technically, you can get a gift from friends, but this will likely be scrutinized by the officer since it is uncommon for someone to give a friend $100,000 or more.
Yes, but on their 21st birthday, they need to either get a different visa (F1 is typical) or leave the U.S.
Yes, but only after 1) being approved for the E2 visa at the U.S. consulate AND 2) arriving in the U.S. AND 3) filling out the government form I-765 AND 4) waiting for approval in the mail (5-6 months at this time). Once that approval arrives in the mail, the spouse can get any job he/she wants – including working for the E2 business or starting his/her own business.
Every country has a different arrangement with the U.S. and the visa length varies from three months to five years. Please check out the government site to find out how long the visa is valid for your home country. (Click on your country on the side, then click on “E”.)
With most countries, yes. But there are some exceptions. Please check out the government site to find out how long the visa is valid for your home country. (Click on your country on the side, then click on “E”.)
Irrelevant. It only matters what passport the investor has.
Irrelevant. What matters is that the money is yours and you have control over the money.
No. You will have flexibility to have a partner if you want, but you don’t need a partner. The partner’s country of citizenship is irrelevant (as long as the partner isn’t interested in getting an E2 visa.) You should have at least 51% ownership in the company. (The minimum ownership if 50%, but it’s better for investors to have 51%-100% ownership, if possible.)
Yes, you need to be in control of the business, and you need to be “directing and developing” the business. This means you should live near the business and go to the business frequently, and this can be your only work in the U.S.
There is no ban after denial. We can always supply more information to the government and get another interview. Sometimes people are approved at the second interview.
Yes, until the day they turn 21.
22. Can my adult child or my parent be a 50/50 partner with me in the business; and we can both get E2 visas?
Yes, as long as each investor owns 50% of the business and each investor has a separate source of funds. (In other words, you can’t give the money to the other investor to invest in the business.)
There is no minimum period, but you must be actively running a business in the U.S., so you likely need to be here a minimum of 6 months out of the year. More time in the U.S. is better.
Yes. We can refer you to someone or you can find your own business plan writers, but they should be U.S.-based and they should write E2 visa business plans for immigration purposes.
You must invest the funds and hire the U.S. employee FIRST. Then, we submit the package to the government. From there, you will do an interview and they will either approve or deny.
No. There may be other ways to get a green card while you are in the U.S., but the E2 never “turns into” a green card. However, the E2 visa is renewable indefinitely as long as the investor and the business continue to meet the E2 requirements. There are people in the U.S. who have had E2 visas for 30-40 years.
You will no longer have E2 status, and you will likely need to leave the U.S.
You will need to apply for a new E2 visa for Company B.
If they are minors, not really. Be prepared to present a hospital bill and proof you paid for the bill at their birth. Also, once the kids turn 21, they can sponsor you for a green card.
Maybe. We need to know more about why you were denied, when you were denied and for what visa you were denied. We can’t answer this question without more information.
In order to get an interview, every member of your family will need to pay $205 USD (even babies who won’t attend the interview). For some countries, you will have an additional fee in order to get the visa. Please check out the government site to find out how long the visa is valid for your home country. (Click on your country on the side, then click on “E”.) If you apply within the U.S., the fee for the investor will be approximately $3,000. The fee for family members will be $455 for the first family member and $85 dollars for each additional family member. NOTE – government fees are always subject to change at any time.
The investor, the spouse, and kids ages 14-20.
We will go over the E2 interview in detail before you go. Generally, they ask questions about the business like: why did you choose this business? How much did you invest? How do you know that you will be successful at this business?
They may ask him/her what his/her plans are when they arrive in the U.S. They may also ask when you got married. This is typically all they ask of spouses. Again, we can go over this before your E2 interview.
There are several steps to this process.
- First, we will go over all of the documents that will be required.
- Second, you will gather all of those documents to send to me. (This step usually takes 3-4 months, but it could be faster or slower, depending on you.)
- Third, we put the application together, which usually takes about 2 weeks.
- Last, the government will review the documents and schedule an interview. This process typically takes 4-8 weeks, but during COVID, this period could be longer.
So, on average, it takes a typical investor about 6 months from the date he/she starts the process until he/she gets an interview.
37. Can I “change status” in the U.S. instead of going to an interview at the U.S. consulate/embassy in my home country?
Yes, but we usually don’t recommend it for a variety of reasons. However, if you 1) have a valid U.S. visa AND 2) you are currently in the United States AND 3) you are in status AND 4) you have been in the United States for at least 90 days, it is possible.
38. What is the difference between “changing status” in the U.S. and going to the interview at the U.S. consulate/embassy in my home country?
In short, changing status in the U.S. will allow you to be in the U.S. for up to two years without international travel. Going to an interview at the U.S. consulate/embassy in your home country will typically allow for a longer period before renewal and more international travel flexibility. However, please check out the government site to find out how long the visa is valid for your home country. (Click on your country on the side, then click on “E”.)
Not without a passport to a treaty country. However, there are programs in Grenada and Turkey (two treaty countries) that will allow for citizenship. If you are able to get citizenship from one of these treaty countries, you will meet the E2 nationality requirement.