Are you contemplating establishing, acquiring, or managing a business in the United States? As an entrepreneur or investor from a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S., you might be considering an E-2 visa. This non-immigrant visa requires a substantial investment in a bona fide U.S. enterprise. Let me guide you through the advantages and disadvantages of this visa to help you decide if it’s the right fit for you. If you are still unsure after reading my article, you can schedule a consultation with me to discuss your options in detail.

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When E-2 Visa is For You

The E-2 visa offers a unique opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs like you. Let’s explore the advantages of the E-2 visa, which could make it an ideal choice for your entrepreneurial aspirations in the U.S. Here are the key E-2 visa benefits that highlight why this visa might be the perfect fit for you.

Investment Opportunities

The E-2 visa is designed for entrepreneurs and investors who wish to establish or acquire a business in the U.S. This opens up a world of investment opportunities, allowing you to actively participate in the U.S. economy. If you are unsure whether you want to expand your existing business to the U.S. or buy an existing business, then with an E-2 visa you have several options.


E-2 visas are not limited to specific industries, giving you the flexibility to choose the type of business you want to run. Whether it’s a tech startup, a restaurant, or a consultancy firm, your options are diverse. If your business or investment strategy requires flexibility, then you most certainly will benefit from the flexibility of the E-2 visa.

Renewable Indefinitely

E-2 visas are initially granted for a period of up to five years (or less based on the country of nationality), but they are renewable indefinitely as long as your business remains viable and meets the visa requirements. This provides a sense of stability for your long-term business ventures and is ideal for investors who are looking for long-term investments in the U.S.

Learn about the E-2 Visa Extension process.

Spouse and Qualifying Dependents

Under the E-2 visa, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. as dependents. This allows your whole family to benefit from the educational and cultural opportunities in the U.S. Spouses of principal E-2 visa holders are also permitted to work in the U.S. during the validity of the E-2 status. This benefit of the E-2 visa makes it an ideal option if you would like your family to join you in the U.S.

No Cap

Unlike some other visa categories, there is no annual cap on the number of E-2 visas issued. This means that you can apply for the visa at any time during the year, streamlining the application process. This visa is perfect for those who don’t want to wait several years to start a business in the U.S.

Check out the E-2 visa documents evidence to file checklist.

When E-2 Visa is NOT For You

In this section, we’ll delve into the potential drawbacks and obstacles associated with the E-2 visa. Understanding these cons will help you make an informed decision about whether this visa aligns with your long-term business and personal goals. Let’s examine the factors that might make the E-2 visa less suitable for your situation.

Nationality Requirement

E-2 visas are only available to individuals from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. This limits the pool of eligible applicants to citizens of specific countries and if you don’t fall within the nationality requirement, then this visa is not for you.

Business Ownership Requirement

To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must either own at least 50% of the business or have operational control through a managerial position. This requirement might be a barrier for those seeking partial ownership or a more passive investment role, which would make qualifying for the E-2 visa extremely difficult.

Non-Immigrant Status

E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas, meaning they do not provide a direct path to permanent residency (green card). This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any E-2 to green card options though. However, this might be a drawback for you if you are seeking a more permanent status in the U.S. directly with the E-2 visa. Alternatively, there are other methods to secure permanent residency in the U.S. like the L-2 visa, and EB-5 green card.

Investment Risk

Investing a substantial amount of capital in a new business venture always carries a degree of risk. If your business fails, it could jeopardize your E-2 visa status. If you are uncomfortable with putting your capital at risk, then this visa might not be for you. Learn about the E-2 visa application cost, fees and investment amount. 

Take the Next Steps

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The E-2 visa can be a great opportunity for investors who want to manage and grow a business in the United States. However, it's important to carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, and take into account individual circumstances before deciding to pursue this visa option. The best way to know is to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!

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