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What Type of Business Does the U.S. Government Want to See for an E-2 Visa Approval?

What Type of Business Does the U.S. Government Want to See for an E-2 Visa Approval?

When applying for an E-2 visa, potential investors often wonder what type of business the U.S. government prefers. Contrary to common belief, the U.S. government does not dictate the specific type of business that investors must engage in. Instead, they focus on several key criteria that ensure the business is legal, bona fide, sustainable, and capable of supporting the investor and their family while creating U.S. jobs. Here’s what you need to know to increase your chances of E-2 visa approval.

Legal and Bona Fide Business Activity

The primary requirement for an E-2 visa is that the business must be legal and bona fide. This means the business must operate legally within the U.S. and engage in legitimate commercial or entrepreneurial activities. The U.S. government will scrutinize the business to ensure it is not a shell company or a front for illicit activities. Documentation such as business licenses, contracts, and financial records can help demonstrate the legitimacy of the business.

Sustainability and Profitability

The U.S. government wants to see that the business has the potential to be sustainable and profitable. This means:

  • Viable Business Plan: A detailed business plan outlining how the business will operate, market analysis, financial projections, and growth strategies. This plan should show a clear path to profitability and sustainability.
  • Market Potential: Evidence that there is a demand for the business’s products or services in the U.S. market. Market research and analysis can help support this requirement.
  • Financial Viability: Proof that the business has sufficient capital to operate effectively and reach profitability. This includes initial investment amounts and any financial reserves.

Ability to Support the Investor and Their Family

The business must generate more than enough income to support the investor and their family. The U.S. government will look at financial projections and income statements to determine if the business can provide more than a minimal living for the investor and their dependents. The investor must demonstrate that the business can sustain their living expenses without the need for external employment or financial support.

Active Investment Requirement

One crucial aspect of the E-2 visa is the nature of the investment. The investment must be active, meaning the investor must be actively involved in the management and operation of the business. Passive investments, such as owning shares in a company without any active management role, do not qualify for an E-2 visa. Here’s what this entails:

  • Hands-On Management: The investor should be involved in the day-to-day operations and strategic decisions of the business.
  • Operational Role: The investor must have a controlling interest in the business and be responsible for its direction and success.
  • Active Participation: Demonstrating active participation can include roles such as CEO, manager, or other executive positions that involve making significant business decisions.

Examples of Acceptable Businesses

To illustrate, here are a few examples of businesses that align with the U.S. government’s criteria for an E-2 visa:

  1. Restaurant: A restaurant requires active management, involves significant initial investment, and has the potential to be profitable and sustainable.
  2. Retail Store: A boutique or retail store where the investor manages operations, inventory, marketing, and customer service.
  3. Consulting Firm: A consulting firm where the investor is actively involved in providing services, managing clients, and growing the business.

Final Thoughts

While the U.S. government does not specify the type of business an investor must engage in for an E-2 visa, they emphasize the need for the business to be legal, bona fide, sustainable, and profitable. Additionally, the investment must be active, requiring the investor’s hands-on involvement in the business. By focusing on these criteria and presenting a strong business plan, investors can enhance their chances of obtaining an E-2 visa and successfully establishing their 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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