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Is It Necessary to Have an Office Space When Applying for an E-2 Visa?

Is It Necessary to Have an Office Space When Applying for an E-2 Visa?

When applying for an E-2 visa, one common question that arises is whether it is necessary to have an office space. According to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), having an office space is not technically required for an E-2 visa application. However, the necessity of having a commercial space largely depends on the nature of the business and the investment required to make the business operational.

The Role of Business Type

For certain types of businesses, having a commercial space is imperative. For instance, if you plan to operate a restaurant, it is essential to have a restaurant lease signed. The nature of such a business demands a physical location where customers can visit, dine, and experience your offerings. Without a commercial lease, it would be challenging to demonstrate the operational viability of your restaurant to immigration officials.

On the other hand, if you intend to run a consulting firm offering services, you may have more flexibility. A home-based office may suffice for service-oriented businesses where client meetings can occur virtually or in rented meeting spaces. This flexibility can reduce overhead costs and simplify the process of setting up your business.

Investment Amount and At-Risk Investment

The E-2 visa requires that the investment be substantial and at risk. While the FAM does not specify a minimum investment amount, the total investment must be enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. In some cases, having a commercial space can help demonstrate that your investment is significant and at risk. A commercial lease represents a tangible commitment to your business, showing that you are serious about its success and are willing to incur costs that will not be recovered if the business fails.

Strengthening Your Case

An experienced immigration attorney might advise that securing a commercial lease agreement could strengthen your E-2 visa application. A commercial lease provides concrete evidence of your business's operational readiness and can make your application more compelling. It shows that you have taken significant steps towards establishing your business in the U.S., which can be a critical factor in the approval process.

Consulate-Specific Requirements

It's also important to note that specific U.S. consulates might have their own requirements or preferences regarding office space. Some consulates might expect to see a signed commercial lease as part of the application package, particularly if the business type typically requires a physical location. Therefore, it's essential to consult with your immigration attorney and understand the specific expectations of the consulate where you will be submitting your application.


While having an office space is not a strict requirement for an E-2 visa according to the Foreign Affairs Manual, it can be necessary depending on the type of business and the nature of the investment. For businesses that require a physical location, such as restaurants, a commercial lease is essential. For service-oriented businesses, a home-based office may be sufficient. Additionally, a commercial lease can help demonstrate a substantial and at-risk investment, potentially strengthening your visa application. Always consult with your immigration attorney to tailor your approach based on your specific circumstances and the consulate's expectations.

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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