Are you thinking of opening a business in the United States and getting an E-2 investor’s visa? Find out what types of businesses would qualify you as an investor.

The E-2 Visa program allows a person of a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce to come to the United States and invest in a U.S. business. Check here to see if your country of origin is one of them.

To qualify for the E-2 Visa program, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must be willing to invest a “substantial amount of capital” in a U.S. business. The capital to be invested will depend on the type of business you plan to open. Also, you must show that the capital does not come from unlawful activity.
  2. The investment must be put “at-risk,” meaning that you must be willing to spend your money before applying for the E-2 Visa program, so the funds would be considered as “committed.”
  3. The type of business you intend to conduct in the U.S. must be active and for profit. The E-2 company cannot be a not-for-profit organization.
  4. The investment enterprise may not be marginal, meaning that the business must generate more income, not just enough to ensure a minimal living for you and family.

What types of businesses would make you eligible for the E-2 visa program?

Any type of business that is legitimate, for-profit and intends to hire U.S. employees can potentially qualify you for the E-2 visa. We put together a list of types of business that might inspire you in your business brainstorming:

  1. Entertainment: yoga studio, spa center, fitness, sports facilities, beauty salons, entertainment and theme parks for children, or any other similar business.
  2. Food industry: restaurants, ice cream shops, bars, fast food restaurants, convenience stores or any other similar food industry related business.
  3. Consulting: IT companies, website design services, technology apps, marketing, fashion, software development, architecture and graphic design, etc.
  4. Franchises: it can be of any size from a small kiosk to a larger convenience store, fast food franchise, etc. The advantage of buying an already existing franchise is that it would save you a lot of time, energy and money when compared to establishing your own business. A franchise that is well-advertised will also save you marketing expenses if the brand of the franchise is well-known. In addition, you might benefit from training and expertise from the franchising company, which is a big advantage to have in a competitive market such as the United States.
  5. Real estate. Buying a property solely for the purpose of living in the U.S. or renting the property does not qualify you for an E-2 visa program. However, if you establish a management company that would be responsible for maintenance, construction, and repair of the properties might qualify you for the E-2 visa program.
  6. Law firms are also considered a type of business under the E-2 investor’s visa requirements. The business entity could be a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) or other type of business that is specific for law firms in the state you intend to establish it. It is common for foreign solo practitioners who are admitted attorneys to open a PLLC and apply for an E-2 investor’s visa. That gives the main investor the chance to hire skilled employees from the country of his nationality, such as lawyers, accountants, and other professionals.
  7. Construction and transport companies. This category includes taxi companies, trucking companies, small, medium and large construction companies and other enterprises in these fields.

There is no right or wrong business idea. You can use your imagination to create the business of your dreams. The law does not specify the type of business that would make you eligible for the E-2 investor’s visa. As long as the business is legitimate and lawful and you can prove the source of funds, you will be eligible for the E-2 investor’s program.

Vizdoaga Law Office is here to advise and develop your business idea with you. We provide legal assistance on how to create a business plan to fit the requirements for the E-2 investor’s visa, as well as provide you with an in-depth knowledge on how to make the investment in a manner to be considered substantial for the E-2 investor’s program purposes. Book a consultation with us and let’s get started on your business idea.

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