For many aspiring entrepreneurs, obtaining an E-2 visa to establish or expand a business in the United States is a significant goal. In recent years, the rise of e-commerce has prompted clients to seek our opinion on using online stores as a means to secure this visa. However, our response is not a simple "yes" or "no." Instead, it hinges on various crucial factors that extend beyond the type of business. In this blog, we will explore the multifaceted considerations that must be taken into account when evaluating the feasibility of using an online store to support your E-2 visa application.
E-2 Visa: The Basics
The E-2 visa, also known as the Treaty Investor visa, is designed for foreign nationals who wish to make a substantial investment in a U.S. business. To qualify for this visa, applicants must come from a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation. While the type of business you intend to operate is important, several other critical factors come into play when assessing eligibility for the E-2 visa, especially when considering an online store.
Key Factors to Consider
• Job Creation: One of the primary objectives of the E-2 visa program is to stimulate job creation in the United States. As an applicant, you must demonstrate that your online store venture will create job opportunities for U.S. workers. This can significantly influence the outcome of your visa application.
• Revenue and Profit Generation: Beyond covering living expenses for the treaty investor and their family, an online store should generate revenues and profits that make the business sustainable. Immigration authorities want to see that your business has the potential to contribute to the U.S. economy in a substantial manner.
• Need for Physical Presence: An essential factor in E-2 visa eligibility is the necessity for the owner to be physically present in the United States to oversee and manage the business actively. If your online store requires your direct involvement in daily operations, it strengthens your case for the visa.
• Sufficiency of Investment: The investment required to launch or expand your online store must be substantial. This means having sufficient funds to initiate operations with the cash on hand necessary for sustainable business operations.
• Business Viability: Your business plan should demonstrate the viability of your online store, including market research, competitive analysis, and a clear strategy for long-term growth and success.
While online stores can be a viable route to pursue an E-2 visa, it's essential to consider a broader spectrum of factors beyond the nature of your business. Job creation, revenue generation, the need for physical presence, substantial investment, and overall business viability are all integral aspects that immigration authorities evaluate when assessing visa applications. Before embarking on this venture, seek professional guidance to ensure that your online store operation aligns with the requirements of the E-2 visa program and maximizes your chances of success in establishing or expanding your business in the United States.
The information provided in this blog is intended solely for informational purposes. While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date content, it should not be considered legal advice. Immigration laws and regulations are subject to change, and individual circumstances can vary widely. For personalized guidance and legal advice regarding your specific immigration situation, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified immigration attorney who can provide you with tailored assistance and ensure compliance with current laws and regulations.
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.
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