Technological evolution facilitated the operational and managerial aspects of running a successful company. No matter where the company is established, the provision of goods or services can be extended to a wider customer base not restricted to a particular location. 

Are online businesses eligible for E-2 classification? Read on to find out.  

E2 Treaty Investor Visa – Explaining the Concept  

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification is restricted to nationals of treaty countries. A “treaty country” is a country: 

  • With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation 
  • With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or  
  • Which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows foreign nationals from eligible E-2 countries to enter the United States upon the investment of a “substantial amount of capital” in a bona fide enterprise. 

Additionally, E-2 applicants must “be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.” 

 To meet this requirement, they must either show at least 50% ownership of the proposed enterprise or demonstrate to have control of the business operations “through a managerial position or other corporate device.” 

The term “bona fide enterprise” refers to a “real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit” that meets all “applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.” 

Can You Get an E-2 Visa with an Online Business? – The Verdict  

When compared to other work-based visas, the E-2 classification offers superior flexibility. Treaty investors can opt for starting a new business from scratch, purchasing an existing company, or even investing in a franchise.  

As long as the proposed enterprise is not a passive investment and fully meets the requirements established by USCIS, it can qualify as a feasible option for E-2 investors. Depending on how an online business is structured, it may qualify for E-2 eligibility.  

However, some challenges might jeopardize the eligibility of some online businesses for E-2 classification. First, marginal businesses are prohibited. If a business can only support the applicant and his or her family, it is a marginal enterprise and will not be accepted by USCIS. 

It does not mean that the company must have employees in place during application, but USCIS requires applicants to show plans to hire US employees to advance the online business. 

Another challenge is to meet the “substantial” investment requirement. USCIS has no fixed cap on the minimum amount of investment considered eligible for E-2 classification. Considering online businesses have lower start-up costs, it might be a hassle for applicants to meet the “substantial” threshold. 

For example, it is perfectly possible to start an online business with less than $50,000. In such cases, applicants need a strategy to find ways to apply more capital in equipment, software, or professional services and bulk up the investment amount. 

If you want to apply for an E-2 visa to own an online business enterprise in the United States, consult with an experienced immigration attorney to find a solution tailored to your case. 

Do You Want to Get an E-2 Visa with an Online Business? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

Waste no time with uncertainty. Contact Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.