What Are E2 Visa Businesses?

If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business in America, you may have your eye on an E2 visa. This can be a great way for you to launch your business and bring your family to America. But what type of business should you start for your new enterprise in the United States?

There are a number of different businesses that can work well for an E2 visa investment. Read on to learn more about this visa and what sort of business you should start.

What Is an E2 Visa?

Before we dive into the details about what an E2 business is, let’s talk some about the E2 visa. The E2 visa is designed to help investors launch businesses in the United States. It’s a temporary visa, so in order for it to stay valid, you’ll have to run a successful business

In particular, the E2 visa is geared towards entrepreneurs who are willing and able to invest a “substantial amount of capital” in their new venture. As we’ll discuss more in a moment, there is no minimum required investment in order for you to get your visa approved. Rather, it’s a matter of demonstrating to the government that you have the resources you need to make your business successful.

Basic Requirements

There are three basic requirements you must meet in order to qualify for an E2 visa. First of all, you must come from a country that maintains a treaty of trade and navigation with the United States. You can find a list of these countries and details about their agreements on the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Beyond the country of origin requirement, you must also have invested or be in the process of investing a significant amount of money in your business in the United States. This money must be irrevocably committed to your business before you apply for your visa. And finally, you must be coming to the United States for the sole purpose of starting your business.

Investment Requirements for an E2 Visa

In addition to the basic requirements, there are a few other criteria you must meet with your investment. The amount you must invest in order for your application to get approved will depend on the type and scale of your business. Smaller, simpler businesses will require smaller investments; larger and more complex businesses will need more money to get approved. 

While there is no official minimum investment requirement, most experts recommend you have at least $100,000 to put towards your business. This money must be considered “at risk,” meaning it’s already committed to your business. You can’t simply direct that money towards another venture if your visa application gets denied. 

Business Requirements 

There are also a few requirements your E2 visa business must meet in order to get approved. First and foremost, the government wants to ensure that your business is a legitimate, money-making enterprise. You can’t have a business in name only that doesn’t sell any specific products or services, no matter how much money you invest in it.

Your business must also meet the non-marginal requirement – in other words, it must be large enough to support you and any family you may have. You can’t run a side hustle that only brings in a few hundred dollars a month and get approved for an E2 visa. The government also requires that your business have at least one employee in your business to ensure that it’s contributing to your community as well.

Ownership and Control Requirements

Because you have to have such a large investment to get your E2 visa approved, you may be considering going into business with one or more partners. This can be a great option to share both the work and the investment requirements for your new venture. But it’s important to note that the government requires that you maintain ownership and control of at least 50 percent of the business. 

There are a few workarounds that can allow a minority shareholder who runs the day-to-day operations of the business to get approved for an E2 visa. But these negotiations get complicated and can make your application process more difficult. If possible, plan to put up at least half of the money needed for your business if you plan to work with a partner.


Many entrepreneurs starting E2 businesses opt to open restaurants. Many Americans enjoy experiencing cuisines from different cultures and traveling through food. The food you grew up eating could be a commodity that could earn you a lot of money in the United States.

That being said, the restaurant industry can be a difficult one to survive in, and it’s important to give yourself plenty of emergency fund money when you’re planning your business expenses. Prepare for long hours and times when your business simply doesn’t bring in as much money. Focus on great customer service, a strong menu of delicious food, and an atmosphere that will make people want to come back for more.

Construction Companies 

Another popular E2 business industry is the construction sector, and it’s easy to see why. You can make a lot of money building homes and businesses or even renovating existing buildings. You get to work an active job, and you get to be a part of improving your new community. 

The major challenge with launching a construction business is that you’ll need more funding upfront. You’ll have to buy heavy equipment and materials, as well as getting all the licenses and insurance your region requires. You also need to plan to invest money in branding and marketing so you can establish a strong customer base.

Home Improvement Businesses 

If you’re like the idea of improving your community, but you don’t want to work outdoors in all weather, a home improvement business can be a fantastic option. You could open an interior decorating business, a cleaning service, or even a painting company. These businesses can all be very profitable without the backbreaking labor requirements that come with construction companies.

If you plan to go into any of these businesses, you should plan on dedicating a large portion of your investment money to marketing and branding. You’ll need to start building a reputation in your area and growing a strong customer base. You may also need to get some variety of licenses or insurance, depending on regulations in your area.

Personal Care Services

If you like working with people, you may consider setting up some sort of personal care business. This could include anything from a day spa or a nail salon to a hair salon, a barbershop, or a medical clinic. You can help people to feel better, whether by relieving their stress or by helping them treat medical issues.

Of course, if you open a medical clinic, you’ll need to be licensed in your specific area of practice in the United States. With all of these businesses, you should dedicate a large portion of your budget to creating a beautiful, welcoming, and relaxing space. Part of your appeal, especially in the cases of spas, nail salons, and hair salons, will be in providing a positive experience for your customers.

Retail Stores

One fantastic option for your E2 business is to open a retail store. The beauty of retail is that you can sell whatever you’re passionate about or there’s a market for in your region. This could include clothes, books, home goods, crafting supplies, art, specialty food, tools, and much, much more.

If you plan to open a retail store, be sure you do a lot of research to make sure your market will support the products you’re selling. You’ll need to find a location that’s central, visible, affordable, and in a reputable area of town. You’ll also need to establish a relationship with vendors who will supply the inventory you’ll be stocking in your business.

Hospitality Businesses 

You might also want to consider opening a business in the hospitality and tourism market. If you want to show people the wonders of your new city, you could open a touring business. You could also help people see the world through a travel agency or welcome new visitors to town with a hotel or bed and breakfast. 

Of course, the majority of your budget for a hotel or bed and breakfast will need to go to making your space feel welcoming and luxurious. If you open a touring business or a travel agency, you may need to focus more on branding and advertising. You may also need to get a travel agent license, depending on the area you’re working in.

Outdoor Maintenance 

Another great option for opening an E2 business is starting an outdoor maintenance company. If you want the opportunity to express your artistic side, you could start a landscaping business. Or if you’d like to keep the work simple and straightforward, you might opt for a standard lawn care company. 

No matter what sort of business you start, you’ll need to invest a good amount of money upfront in getting the right equipment. Zero-turn mowers, quality weed eaters and leaf blowers, and hedge trimmers will all be a necessity in your business. It’s also a good idea to focus on marketing since you’ll need to start growing your reputation in your area.

Education and Tutoring

Maybe you’re the sort who loves shaping the minds of tomorrow and guiding the next generation. There are some fantastic opportunities to start a business in the education and tutoring industry. If you speak more than one language, you could find some especially fantastic opportunities in the tutoring world.

More and more parents these days want their children to learn another language from an early age. You could tutor them in the language or languages you speak, along with the other fields you have expertise in. If private tutoring doesn’t appeal to you, you could start an after-school program or even launch a private school.

Child Care 

If you like spending time around children, but you don’t want to take on their education, you might consider starting a childcare business. On the private spectrum, many parents are looking for nannies to help carry some of the responsibilities of child care. However, keep in mind that in order to meet E2 visa requirements, you’ll need to have employees associated with your business.

You could also opt to run a daycare or after-school care program for children whose parents work. You’ll need to invest a lot of your money in a safe, well-decorated building, as well as plenty of toys. You might also need to get insurance, certifications, or inspections done, depending on the regulations in your area. 

Pet Care 

Animal lovers might consider starting a pet care business for their E2 venture. Mobile grooming businesses have become more popular as people try to find ways to schedule pet care into their busy lives. You could also run a dog walking business, a dog spa and boarding center, or even a vet clinic if you have the proper qualifications.

All of these businesses, including the dog walking business, will need to meet the non-marginal requirement, so be sure you plan to hire employees. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to invest your money in different places. A dog walking business will require a smaller amount of capital; a dog spa will represent a larger investment.

Start Your E2 Business the Right Way

An E2 business can be a great way to make your American dream a reality. Remember that your business must meet the non-marginal requirement and that you should have at least $100,000 in funding. And no matter what sort of business you’re starting, you must be in the process of investing your money in your business at the time that you apply for your visa.

If you’d like to find the best way to start your E2 visa, check out the rest of our site at Advanced Franchising Solutions. Our proven method will save you time, help you avoid frustration, and streamline your franchise search. Get a free franchise education today, and start owning your own business instead of your job owning you.