Starting up a New Business in the United States to Gain an E-2 Visa
E-2 visas allow an alien the chance to live and run a business in the United States as long as they bring in the cash to invest as well as provide the opportunity for employing American citizens. E-2 visa holders may find an avenue later on to switch over to an immigrant visa or permanent residence if the right opportunities arise.
For an E-2 to be granted either a new business must be started or an existing business purchased. Another option is to buy a majority share in an existing business.
Of the two main options available, starting up a new business from scratch is probably the most difficult for a number of reasons. It all depends on the experience an E-2 applicant has in their home country of running a similar type of business as the one they want to start up in the United States.
One of the difficulties in starting up a new business is that all funds needed to start the business actually have to be spent before the application is made for the visa, which brings a larger element of risk to the enterprise.
The amount of money that must be committed of course depends on the nature of the business. Some service related businesses, such as IT businesses, do not need as much money invested as those that require a lot of equipment and the purchase of a building or the lease for a building. A straight comparison would be the setting up of a restaurant and a web design business. For the restaurant, the applicant would have to show that they had already purchased the lease for the building and all the necessary furniture and equipment to get the restaurant into operation. For any start up business there would also have to be an appropriate amount of working capital to tide the business over until it started to turn a reasonable profit.
Full commitment of necessary funds isn’t the only requirement for the visa applicant. There must be a workable business plan drawn up with documentation to convince officials who will review the visa application that the business will be profitable. Independent confirmation must be provided which shows that the business would be profitable. The business would be expected to be viable enough to provide an acceptable income for the visa holder and his or her dependent family as well as provide employment for American citizens.
Any intending investor would stand a greater chance of success if they already had proven experience running a similar type of business in their own home country. Not only are they more likely able to draw up a realistic business plan for an intended new business in the US, they would be able to provide a more convincing case to consular officials reviewing the application.
One option for the E-2 visa investor is to purchase a franchise. Franchises are often sold with a good back up service and have a reputation for success. In the event that a franchise is chosen, the investor would have to show that they have signed the franchise agreement, paid the franchise fee and bought all necessary equipment to get the business up and running.