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E2 Visa Helps Investor Non-U.S. Citizens Start Small Firms - Startup Business Bureau

E2 Visa Helps Investor Non-U.S. Citizens Start Small Firms

investor visa

E-2 visa helps many non-U.S. citizens start small firms:

A noncitizen of the U.S. can come to this country. And start a business under an E-2 treaty investor visa for an investment. And that business owner, as well as members of his or her family, can live here legally as long as the business is a going concern.

But meeting the requirements of the E-2 visa is not that easy.

First of all, the visa applicant must make a “substantial” investment in the planned business, according to the U.S. State Department, that is “sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.”

Denmark native Mia Pedersen went through the process in order to start up an ice cream store, Paradis, in the Montrose Shopping Park in 2009. (Source LATIMES.COM)

“You have to have your business almost 80% ready to go before you can apply,” said Pedersen.

And even a small business, such as a single ice cream shop. Has to prove it will provide some benefit to the local economy by creating jobs or by other means.

The US immigration states that:

“The investment enterprise may not be marginal. A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. “

You must show a progression and that your business can generate some profit and that you can have few employees

An E-2 visa can be renewed every two to five years, but every time it comes up for renewal the business owner may be called upon to show that his or her enterprise is providing economic benefits.


The E-2 is not the only visa that allows a person to come to the U.S. to start a business. But it is less expensive than the others. The amount of investment depends on the type of business that’s being started, and there’s no set rule.

By comparison, the EB-5 immigrant investor visa requires a minimum outlay of $500,000 and has far more rigid criteria regarding employee counts. But it provides a pathway to a green card and permanent residency.

The E-2, of which 25,500 were issued by the government in fiscal 2020. Is intended for what the State Department calls “temporary visitors.” And children of E-2 visa holders can’t stay in the country. Once they turn 21 unless they qualify for a different type of visa.

In the last two years, bills have been proposed to allow E-2 holders to eventually earn permanent residency.

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