What is E2 Visa Business?

The E2 visa is a popular option for those looking to immigrate to the United States by investing in and operating a business. Known formally as the Treaty Investor Visa, the E2 allows foreign nationals from countries that have relevant treaties with the U.S. to enter the country for an initial period of two years (extendable indefinitely) to develop and direct a business in which they have invested a substantial amount.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of the opportunities the E2 visa business offers, read on for a helpful introduction covering what exactly qualifies as an E2 business. How to write a compliant E2 visa business plan, find an existing business to acquire, work with brokers, and key statistics and requirements to be aware of.

Defining an E2 Visa Business Qualifying Company

The E2 visa business program was created to stimulate economic growth in the U.S. by encouraging foreign entrepreneurs to invest their capital and resources here. But qualifying for the visa requires more than just starting up any old business. 

The endeavor needs to meet several criteria:

  • It must be a real, operating commercial enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify.
  • The business must have at least 50% equity invested by nationals from the treaty country.
  • A substantial amount of capital must be committed – ranging from $100,000 to $200,000 minimum in most cases.
  • The investor must come to the U.S. and take an active managerial or developmental role in the enterprise.
  • The business activity must have the potential to generate significantly more income than just to provide a living for the investor.

When assessing eligibility, USCIS focuses heavily on the actual quantity and quality of the investment. Simply inserting a nominal sum to gain residency rights will not suffice. The capital invested should be substantial and at real risk in the commercial undertaking.

Writing an E2 Visa Business Plan

A well-drafted business plan is crucial for securing E2 investor visa approval. This comprehensive plan should articulate and demonstrate that your endeavor meets all applicable requirements.

Related: E2 Visa Business Plan Template and Framework

An effective E2 business plan generally contains the following key components:

Executive Summary

Provide a high-level overview of your proposed business, its product/services, objectives, ownership structure, required capital, and growth projections.

Company Description

Detail important specifics like company ownership, management, location, facilities, equipment, number of employees, payroll, etc.

Market Analysis

Research your industry, geographic area, target demographics, competition levels, and so on. Analyze how they relate to predicted demand.


Fully describe what your company will provide, highlighting value, differentiation, competitive advantages, and revenue models.

Marketing Plan

Map out promotional strategies, distribution channels, customer acquisition tactics, and so forth.

Operations Plan

Specify day-to-day processes, technological infrastructure, legal compliance procedures, supply chains, and related matters.

Management Team

Provide backgrounds on key personnel demonstrating you have a qualified team to operate successfully.

Financial Plan

Supply capitalization requirements, income statements, balance sheets, expense budgets, profit/loss projections, and other key indicators.

Immigration Plan

Detail specifically how E-2 criteria will be continually met, including equity shares, job creation, injection/use of capital, and sustained direction of operations.

Exit Strategy

Discuss potential future paths like selling to a partner or U.S. buyer to realize a return on investment and maintain compliance at that stage.

Having an experienced business plan writer develop this crucial document can ensure you put forward the most compelling E2 case possible to visa reviewers. Costs range from $1,500 on the low end to $5,000+ for more complex plans.

Acquiring an Existing U.S. Business

Although certainly an option, starting an E2 business from complete scratch can be complicated and success rates tend to be lower. Many investors opt instead to purchase an established and already profitable American enterprise.

Taking over an existing business minimizes risk substantially by leveraging the firm’s proven track record. It also may require less capital investment upfront if much of the infrastructure is in place. Personnel, supply chains, revenue streams, and distribution channels should all be maintained post-acquisition as well.

A major advantage too is that buying a business eliminates the need to go through startup growing pains. The operation generates jobs for U.S. workers from day one and positive cash flow from previous owners’ efforts. This checks important E2 boxes like those detailed above in the immigration plan section.

Related: Which business is best for e2 visa

Utilizing an E2 Visa Business Broker

Immigrant investors seeking to buy a U.S. business suited for the E2 visa business can benefit greatly from working with a skilled business broker. These professionals maintain listings of various establishments already on the market by owners looking to sell.

Brokers can streamline the entire process of selecting, evaluating, and purchasing an appropriate target firm. Their industry connections and deal-making experience are invaluable resources. Most charge around 5-10% commission upon successful completion of a transaction.

Key brokers specializing in E2 visa business sales include:

  • Visa Business Plans
  • Liberty Capital Group
  • Sunbelt Network
  • BizBuySell
  • Latam Services

It’s important to vet broker options thoroughly before selecting one to represent your interests. Relevant things to assess are years in business, number of closed deals, types of listings carried, client reviews/testimonials, certifications maintained, and overall professionalism exhibited.

E2 Visa Program Statistics & Requirements

Getting into some hard data, let’s overview a few key statistics related to the E2 investor visa program:

  • In 2022, over 11,000 E2 visas were issued to treaty country citizens and their spouses/children
  • Top participant countries include Turkey, South Korea, Japan, France, Italy, the UK, Argentina
  • Minimum investment amount is typically $100k; averages ~$200k
  • This can include the purchase of existing business or startup funding
  • Business must generate significant income/livelihood beyond just investor
  • Majority ownership & active management by visa holders is mandatory
  • Spouses may apply for employment authorization
  • No annual cap on E2 visas issued; renew indefinitely if terms met

So in summary, the E2 visa business provides exciting possibilities for qualifying foreign investors and their families. Overcoming the challenges of arranging the necessary capital and finding a suitable business opportunity opens the door to long-term residency. 

Just be certain to comply with all ongoing program regulations once approved. Engaging experienced advisors can help navigate any issues around investment sources, entrepreneurs visa requirements, and avoid jeopardizing one’s status.