7 Best Businesses for E2 Visas Application & Investment

Deciding which business is best for an E2 visa can be a hard task. This visa allows foreign nationals to live and work in the United States if they make a substantial investment in a U.S. business. 

With careful planning and consideration of options, you can identify an E2-qualifying business that aligns with your skills, interests and financial resources.

E2 Visa Basics

The E2 visa business program aims to strengthen the U.S. economy by attracting foreign investment. The E2 visa enables citizens of countries with appropriate treaties with the United States, like Canada, the UK, France, Germany and many more, to enter and work here.

To qualify for an E2 visa, you must invest a substantial amount in a U.S. business. There are no minimum investment amounts dictated by regulations, but the funds invested should be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business. So, how much to invest to get an E2 visa?

Many applicants invest anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 to improve their chances of E2 visa approval.

You must also enter the United States to “develop and direct” the enterprise. This means you have to possess the right skills, qualifications or work experience to operate the E2 business. Day-to-day oversight is required. Absentee ownership and purely passive investment do not qualify.

E2 Visa Business Plan Template

When applying for the E2 visa, you must submit a comprehensive E2 business plan. This plan should convey that the enterprise has a clear potential for financial success and could make a significant economic contribution. 

Most applicants work with an experienced immigration attorney to craft a strategic plan that checks all the boxes.

An E2 business plan template serves as a blueprint covering every aspect of the proposed enterprise. While each plan should be tailored to the specific business, common elements include:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management
  • Sales and marketing strategy
  • Funding requests
  • Financial projections
  • Supporting documents

Following a template ensures you present a well-researched and viable business worthy of E2 visa approval.

Top 7 Business Ideas for E2 Visas

If you’re wondering which business is best for E2 visa qualification, consider these prime options:

  1. Franchises Popular U.S. franchises often make reliable E2 visa businesses. Franchises have an established brand and proven business model, increasing the likelihood of success. They also provide training to help foreign investors prepare for day-to-day management. Top franchises like McDonald’s, UPS Store, Jiffy Lube and 7-Eleven are known for smooth E2 visa approvals.
  2. Restaurants
    Restaurants remain the go-to E2 visa businesses. They have built-in customer demand and often require less specialized skills to operate. Most types of restaurants can qualify, including fast food, casual dining, coffee shops and bars. Financial projections must still demonstrate the restaurant’s viability.
  3. Hotels or Motels Hotel and motel franchises frequently work for E2 classification, especially in prime tourism locations. Applicants should have hospitality experience or hire experienced managers. Properties must be sufficiently funded to compete in the lodging industry.
  4. Retail Stores Clothing boutiques, gift shops, convenience stores and other retail establishments make solid E2 enterprises in busy areas with significant foot traffic. Offering specialized products can help you stand out in the marketplace. Retail margins can be tight, so ample working capital is a must.
  5. Consulting Firms
    Management consulting firms consistently gain E2 approval. Applicants typically must possess recognized expertise in business, technology, engineering or other specialized fields. The qualifying employee may consult directly or build a team of consultants in America.
  6. Tech or Manufacturing Companies Innovative technologies, manufacturing techniques or patented products can provide a competitive edge for E2 classification. Applicants should have a strong business plan and the necessary credentials to oversee technical operations or production.
  7. Trading Companies Import/export companies are natural fits for E-2 status, giving entrepreneurs a way to leverage international connections. Knowledge of target export markets is a major advantage. Starting as an intermediary trading goods overseas can offer solid long-term prospects.

Best Businesses for E2 Visas Are Your Specialty

Rather than selecting a business at random, it pays to align your E2 venture with your background and interests. 

Leveraging your unique skills or technical knowledge can increase your odds of running a prosperous company in the USA.

If possible, draw on experience from previous ventures in your home country. For example, an applicant who owned a software company abroad would have an excellent basis for launching a U.S. tech startup.

Conduct in-depth market research to determine if the strength of a particular industry aligns with your goals. Identify growing sectors where consumer demand is high. Review niche categories with room for expansion. 

Seek guidance from SBA.gov, industry trade groups and local economic development councils.

Once you settle on a business sector, evaluate specific concepts within that field. For instance, experienced restaurateurs could choose between opening a pizza place, burger spot or noodle shop. 

Compare financial benchmarks. Weigh advantages and disadvantages. Then hone in on your top E2 business idea.

Meeting investment and job creation requirements

To qualify for the E-2 visa program, foreign nationals must invest substantial capital and other assets. While monetary thresholds may vary, most applicants commit $100,000 to $300,000 or more. Precise investment minimums depend on the nature and scale of the enterprise.

The goal is to demonstrate adequate funds to capitalize on U.S.A. operations and demonstrate the business will generate significant economic benefits. Under guidance from qualified immigration counsel, you can determine an appropriate investment level that aligns with industry standards.

Beyond pure dollar amounts, it helps to create American jobs. Hiring local workers strengthens the argument that the E2 business will make substantive contributions. 

Estimating initial staffing needs and presenting a sound hiring plan is a key element of the visa application.

Managing day-to-day enterprise oversight

To remain compliant with E-2 rules, the primary visa holder must maintain active managerial control over the U.S. business

You cannot seek outside employment or remain abroad for extended periods. Owning a company through passive investment does not qualify.

Hands-on oversight ensures the ongoing success of the American enterprise. This may entail corporate strategy, sales, marketing, operations, personnel training, inventory, quality control and more. Typically, the E2 investor directly manages core business functions rather than relying purely on others.

While demanding, running your own E2 company enables entrepreneurs and investors to obtain legal long-term residency in the United States along with their families. 

With the right business model and execution, the growth opportunities can be tremendous.

Seeking expert guidance every step of the way

Attempting to secure E2 classification without experienced legal guidance is extremely difficult. Business immigration rules are complex. Supporting documentation must demonstrate eligibility. 

Understanding specific evidentiary requirements to properly evaluate and prepare your visa application can determine your outcome.

Top E2 visa lawyers have extensive experience representing foreign investors across virtually every permissible business category. They stay up to date with trends in E2 approvals/denials nationwide. 

Seasoned lawyers draw on best practices that give clients an advantage in documenting both investment capital and operational capacity.

Professional assistance proves invaluable in finalizing your business plan, accumulating evidence, completing forms without errors, answering likely consular questions at your visa interview, and facilitating the next steps if additional requests arise.

Investing both time and resources into your E2 application is well worth the positive life changes possible upon securing approval. 

Discover more about successfully launching your company in the United States by connecting with a qualified business immigration lawyer.