The ABCs of Getting an E2 Visa to Invest in the USA and some interesting tips

Dell'Ariccia Sara, Riznyk Steven

A lot of people have been asking us what the actual procedures are for obtaining an E2 visa on a practical basis, so we created this article for you. To refresh your memory, the E2 is one of the three ways to enter the US as an investor (the other two are L1 and EB5).

As you recall, the E2 allows you to invest in a company in the USA and remain here for many years, as long as you have a “mental intent” to return to your country of origin at some unknown time in the future (i.e. when you retire, for example). You have to invest at least $100,000 USD in a new company you create, a company you buy, or a franchise.

Once you have decided which route you take (ie new or existing company), the first thing you have to do is to make the investment. You cannot apply for a visa without making the investment and showing the government that you are serious. However, as we also practice business law, we can share a little tip with you that will help you. There is always a chance a case can be denied. You don’t want to make an investment, be denied, and have your money stuck in America. When you sign a contract to purchase a company or for the office/location lease you can add what is called a “condition precedent” to protect you. A condition precedent is a simple clause that states you are entering a contract “subject to the approval of the E2 visa”. In this way, if you are denied, you do not lose your money.

If you are creating a new company, you need to have a location; you cannot run your company from your home.  As a result, you have to sign a (real estate) lease for commercial property. If you sign a lease and pre-pay your rent, all of that money can be applied towards your required investment of $100,000.

The second concern you will have to deal with is the business plan. You will require  a detailed business plan. If you have never created one, you can purchase a software to help you or we can create it for you. A good business plan should contain a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), a marketing an advertising plan, and 5 years of financial projections.

The rest of the information required for a case is quite straightforward, and there are two questionnaires that you have to answer; one asks about you and your family, while the other asks about your business. These questions are very straightforward and on the business side, simply copies of the lease, your Limited Liability company (LLC) or corporation documents, licenses, and of course receipts for the $100,000 investments.

Once all of the information is provided to us, we prepare the forms and a detailed legal brief that matches the requirements of the laws to the facts of your situation. We pair this information with all of the documentation and business plan that you have sent us and then the case is ready for submission. If you are in the United States on a B1 visa (we mean visitor for business), we can apply for a Change of Status. This means that you will be an E2 on approval and can remain here for as long as you have been granted, usually 1-2 years at first. When you intend to travel, you will have to visit the US embassy/consulate in your country in order to have the actual visa attached to your passport; this allows you to freely travel in and out of the United States.

If, on the other hand, you made your investment and then returned back to your home country and applied through the Embassy/Consulate, you would be granted a visa immediately if you prevail, and you can travel freely back and forth. Additionally, if you apply through your Embassy/Consulate, you will usually get a much longer stay without having to renew your visa as frequently.


It takes us 2-3 weeks to prepare a case, and it takes about 60 days to receive an approval in the US. If you want a faster approval, you have to pay an extra fee called Premium Processing and you can receive an answer in 15 calendar days.  This is what is involved in preparing an E2 case.


October 20, 2015


Avv. Sara Dell’Ariccia

Avv. Steven Riznyk