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How to get started with an E-2 Visa?

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

If you are a foreign investor or entrepreneur and want to learn how you can live and work in the United States, then you are going to appreciate the information in this blog, because there is a visa that allows you to live and run your business right here in the US, and if you’re married your spouse can get a work permit and work here too!

What is an E-2visa?

The E-2 visa is an investor visa that allows people from countries that have a treaty with the United States to live and run a business in the United States. Countries like Canada, Mexico, Italy, Jamaica, China and Cameroon are countries that are eligible for an E-2 visa. If you are a foreign investor or entrepreneur from one of those countries, then with a substantial investment you can start a business from right here in the United States. To find out if your country is one of the countries that has a treaty with the U.S. you can visit the state department website.

The First Step in the E-2 Visa process is to determine what type of Business you actually want to start or invest in.

Are you a consultant? A coach? Are you thinking of opening a restaurant, food truck, coffee shop, or E-commerce business? You need to determine what type of business you want to start so that you can plan accordingly and create your business plan. If you do not know what type of business you want to start that is ok. You can work with brokers or consultants who can guide you towards finding other businesses that you can actually invest in. With the E-2 visa you can start your own business, invest in an existing business, or consider buying into a franchise.

Start the Business.

Once you have determined what type of business you want to start, you have to establish and create your business entity. So you have to register your business, either an LLC or a Corporation and get your EIN which is free from the IRS website. Also be sure to determine if your type of business requires a business license in the state where you will be running your business.

Once you have set up your business the next step is to open up a bank account. The reason that you have to open up a bank account, is not only because you need a business bank account for operating your business. You are going to have to transfer a substantial amount of investment into this account. This is a very important step in the E-2 visa process.

Most people applying for an E-2 visa are applying from outside of the U.S., however there are also people who do apply for this visa within the United States.

When transferring your funds into your new business bank account, you will be required to prove how this was funded. Did you sell real estate, was a it a loan, a gift, etc. It is important to have documentation of how you received the funds for your investment.

Once you have funded your account you want to use that money to invest into your business, invest into your business operation. Maybe that’s getting office space, put up a website, hire staff, equipment, inventory or a warehouse, whatever it is that you need for your business, because you want to be able to show that you put your investment at risk towards building your actual business. When applying for your E-2 visa its important to show that you have actually invested into the U.S. business. It is also very important to show that your particular business will be able to generate a substantial amount of revenue. Many people have their visa’s denied because the business is considered marginal, so it is important to show that this will be an active and profitable business, and this all should be outlined in your business plan.

Document your expenses and get a business plan.

All of these expenses should be documented, because they will be included as part of your E-2 visa application. Also included in your E-2 visa application is your Business Plan. Now this is important because you have to provide an overview of your business and business projections over the next five years. Your business plan should include a company summary, your 5 year projected profit and loss statements, employee hiring plan, detailed market analysis, marketing plan, job descriptions, industry analysis and so forth. If you do not know how to create a business plan, there are companies that help people create one, and there are consultants who specifically help individuals who are applying for investor visas.

Once you have all your documents together you want to be sure that your applications are within the guidelines for the specific embassy that you will be submitting your application.

Buying an existing business.

What if I want to buy an existing business? Well you want to make sure that you research the company and look into their financials. If you will be buying an existing business, you want to be sure that you are purchasing a business that is active and will generate a substantial amount of income that will be able to support you and your family in the United States. If you are thinking about partnering with an existing business, be sure to do your due diligence and own at least 51 percent of the business.

Franchises are also a good option for individuals looking to purchase existing businesses because everything is already established and set up. There are existing guidelines and marketing and industry analysis. When you buy into a franchise, chances are you will have a lot of information on the business, such as a Business plan that you will be able to submit with your E-2 visa application.

When you are thinking of starting your business, really consider whether you are going to enjoy doing this business long term, consider the start up cost for starting your business, will you be able to scale and grow your business, and will it be overall profitable for you. On average people people invest anywhere from 50-100K minimum for their Business when applying for the E-2 visa. Keep in mind that amount will depend on the type of business you decide to start.

If you have any questions regarding the E-2 visa you can set up a consultation to learn more about the process and requirements. Visit


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