Start a Business In The US With the E-2 Visa!

A great purchase option for someone who is looking to start a business in the US… is the E-2 Visa.

The key advantages of the E-2 Visa is the infinite duration, the fact that your family can come with you and also work in the U.S., & the relatively small investment amount that is required.   In fact, your dream of becoming a business owner in the U.S. could become a reality by spending as little as $15,000. Another requirement is that each investor should ultimately plan on hiring US workers.

Here are the primary requirements

Requirement 1 – As a treaty investor, you must be coming to the United States to invest in a new or existing enterprise.

 The E-2 Investor Trader Visa is only to people from the countries that the U.S. has a Treaty with.  Many Western countries are on the list but there are also countries from Africa, Asia and the Middle East on the list.  Israel was just recently added to the list. If you are a U.K national, you must also be a resident of the British Isles in order to be eligible. USCIS (US Citizenship and immigration Services) defines an E-2 investment as the placing of certain capital, (including funds and other assets), at risk in the commercial sense with the end objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of purchasing a pre-existing business. establishing a new business venture. Regardless of which, you must demonstrate that the capital you are investing is substantial.

 Requirement 2Your investment must be in a bona fide enterprise and may not be marginal.

An investment that is considered ‘bona fide’, is an enterprise that is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces tangible services or goods for profit.  Such enterprise cannot be an idle investment held for ‘potential appreciation’, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to direct the enterprise.

You must invest funds that you have obtained from a lawful means.  While dollar for dollar accounting is not required, you must prove to the Government that you either saved the money, were given the money as a gift or legitimately earned the money.  There are various forms of proof that will satisfy this requirement including tax returns, bank statements, investment accounts & more.  For some countries, this can be problematic if records are not readily available or the country is subject to a high degree of corruption.  When I applied, I showed the government 10 years worth of tax returns, my current W-2, my 401K investment statements and my bank statements.

A marginal enterprise is considered one that will not generate more than enough income to make a significant economic contribution or provide a minimal living for you and your family.

Upon approval of an E-2 investment, the investor is permitted to work solely at the company he/she founded (or Purchased) and the company must administer the activities previously specified on the application at the time of submission. Of course there are instances where a business owner may want to expand or change the E-2 business. It is then, that the question arises of whether or not the investor must officially address this change in status, structure, etc.

If a business change is a major one, the investor should ask from the Consulate for an approval for this change in business activities. This process differs depending on the Consulate, but it involves emailing the Consulate directly find out what their individual criteria is. Some consulates just ask petitioners based on past requests, to send in evidence of the new business (eg. New activities, business plan, etc.) and based on that evidence they approve or deny the change.

The consulate could ask you to refile your E-2 application, but it depends on the changes that occurred or are occurring.  It must be said that this request is only needed if the business change is substantial.

For example, if you have an E-2 visa approved for a restaurant and then you expand your restaurant business to include a bar. It is unlikely that your business has changed enough to warrant a re-classification. However, if you were initially approved as a wedding photography business and you started an auto repair shop in the back, then this would clearly represent a substantial change in business.

Filing your change with the USCIS in the United States is also another possibility. This again, is only done when there has been a ‘substantive change’ in the business. A substantive change is defined by USCIS as follows:

“A fundamental change in the employing entity’s basic characteristics, such as a merger, acquisition, or sale of the division where the alien is employed.”  Is considered ‘Substantive change’.

When the USCIS deems the entity as having undergone ‘substantive change’ then filing of a new Form I-129 Application will become necessary. The Filing of Form I-129 with the USCIS facilitates the process of seeking and obtaining approval of a ‘substantive change’.  In this case the E-1/E-2 Classification Supplement, the fee of $325 as well as an appropriate explanation and supporting documentation must also be provided at the time of the filing.

A ‘substantive change’ in business activities is the key here. When looking at the new aspect(s) of your business, can you make a rational link from the new business to the current one.

If you can make this rational link, then request for amendment may not be required.

When drafting your business plan and describing your business and submitting your E-2 application, keep the above, key factors in mind.


For example, the primary business activity in your business plan may be: wedding photography, but then may also describe additional services, like; ‘wedding consultant’, ‘nutrition planning’ for weddings, etc.

The consideration of future possibilities when you submit your application, may eliminate the need to get additional approvals through those government channels.

We hope this article has empowered you to go forward with your E-2 Investment Visa. For legal questions concerning the E-2 Visa or any foreign investment or immigration issue, please contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Cancilla Esq. Visit us on our other website as well:

Sponsorship – Get A Green Card For A Family Member!

You might not have known this, but ‘Lawful Permanent Residents’ (LPR’s) or Green Card holders have the ability to sponsor foreign born members of their family. As most of us know, many benefits come with receiving permanent residency status, one of which is the ability to obtain employment authorization, (A work permit). There are a few hoops to jump through and it is not an instantaneous process by any means. But the offices of Jeffrey Cancilla can help you get the process started in the correct manner for expeditious and successful outcomes. It must be mentioned that this process applies only for immediate members of our families. There are however, alternatives for more distant family members.
Determining who you CAN file for:
It’s important to have a thorough and complete understanding of who can apply for this type of immigration, before you seek to sponsor a family member and especially before beginning ay paperwork.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may file an immediate relative petition for:
• Orphan adopted abroad (IR-3)
• Orphan to be adopted (IR-4)
• A Parent who is at least 21 (IR-5)
• Spouse (IR-1)
• Unmarried child under 21 (IR-2)

Proof must be provided and demonstrated, that you are in fact immediately related to the family member that you are filing for.
If you have been residing in another country, for at least six months and have permission from this host country to be there, then you can file an immigrant visa petition at a US embassy or consulate. There still may be other eligibility requirements as well, so it is best to consult a family green card lawyer to learn more about this option and to navigate the process and file documentation properly. Understand the Various Subcategories

Special priority is given to immediate family members and relatives by the USCIS, as a way to promote familial values and togetherness.
‘What is a ‘Preference Relative’?
Preference relatives are another category you can file under and can include; children of U.S. citizens above the age of 21, married children of U.S. citizens, spouses and/or children of green card holders, etc. There is usually a wait, but here are roughly 480,000 green cards available for this category.
Processing Times- Be Prepared. Be Patient:
Within the family based immigration category there are a number of steps.
First of all, the U.S. citizen or green card holder must file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (in the United States) using Form I-130. This form must be filed with the office that serves your particular area. Separate petitions must be filed for each relative or family member.
What do I need for the Petition?
Aside from providing proof of citizenship like a birth or naturalization certificate, you will also need to demonstrate a qualifying relationship with the beneficiary of the filing. Furthermore, you will need to prove financially that you can support that individual at a rate that exceeds the poverty line by 25%.
There is an average waiting period of six to twelve months for immediate relatives. Wait times will vary depending on USCIS caseloads and other factors.
Other Alternatives – Child Status Protection Act:
There are some instances where an age discrepancy will not allow you to qualify under the previously mentioned guidelines. If this is the case, you may want to check with the Child Status Protection Act. This is a mandate that can allow certain individuals to keep their classification of ‘child’ even after reaching 21. If a petition is filed by the U.S. citizen parent for ‘Alien Relative’, the beneficiary’s age freezes on the date of that filing. Similarly, if the permanent resident parent files a petition and they naturalize before the beneficiary reaches 21, their age freezes on the date that the petitioner naturalizes.
Understand and Respect Misuse of the Green Cards:
One must always be aware that possession of a green card must be treated with respect.

It can be subject to revocation at any time. Grounds for revocation include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Commission of a crime.
• Establishing a primary residence outside the U.S.
• Not informing the authorities of an address change.
Fees involved in obtaining a Relative Green Card:
There are several fees that one will incur when filing for a Relative Green card. Most of these involve processing and filing fees.
Fees will be due for the processing of an immigrant visa application, Petition for Alien Relative and there may be associated costs for medical exams and vaccinations.
For more information on how you can obtain a Family Member Green Card or any other immigration matter, please contact the offices of Jeffrey A. Cancilla Esq.

Visit or call 714-209-1267