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What is the Immigration Officer Looking for in the E2 Visa Business Plan?


Navigating the Key Questions for a Successful E2 Visa Application

The E2 visa is an attractive option for entrepreneurs and investors who want to start or expand their businesses in the United States. However, the application process can be complex, and the business plan submitted alongside your E2 visa application plays a crucial role in determining its success. In this article, we will explore the four main questions that the immigration officer is looking to answer when reviewing your E2 visa business plan, as outlined in the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).

Immigration officer

1. Is the Investment Substantial? (9 FAM 402-6(D))

The first question that the immigration officer will be looking for in your E2 visa business plan is whether the investment is substantial. According to the FAM, a substantial investment is one that is enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The investment should also be proportional to the total cost of either purchasing an established business or creating a new one.

There is no minimum dollar amount required for an E2 visa, but the investment should be significant relative to the business’s overall cost. To address this question effectively, your business plan should clearly outline the investment amount, how the funds will be used, and how the investment will contribute to the enterprise’s success.

2. Is it a Real and Operating Commercial Enterprise? (9 FAM 402-6(C))

The immigration officer will also assess whether the business is a real and operating commercial enterprise. This means that the enterprise must be an active, for-profit business that engages in lawful activities. Passive investments, such as purchasing stocks or real estate for personal use, do not qualify for E2 visas.

In your business plan, you should provide detailed information about the business’s products or services, along with evidence of its current operations or plans for future operations. This can include financial statements, contracts, leases, or marketing materials that demonstrate the business’s viability and ongoing commercial activity.

3. Is the Enterprise More Than a Marginal One Solely for Earning a Living? (9 FAM 402-6(E))

Another crucial factor the immigration officer will consider is whether the business is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living. A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and their family.

To address this concern, your business plan should include detailed financial projections for at least five years, demonstrating that the enterprise will generate sufficient revenue to support you and your family while also contributing to the U.S. economy. This can be shown through the creation of jobs, increasing exports or imports, or providing services that are in demand.

4. Is the Applicant in a Position to Develop and Direct the Enterprise? (9 FAM 402-6(F))

Finally, the immigration officer will evaluate whether the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise. This means that you must have the necessary skills, experience, and qualifications to successfully manage the business. Additionally, you must have at least 50% ownership or hold a controlling interest in the enterprise to demonstrate your ability to direct its operations.

In your business plan, you should outline your background, qualifications, and relevant experience, as well as any key personnel who will be involved in the business. This information should illustrate your capacity to develop and direct the enterprise effectively.

Ensuring a Comprehensive E2 Visa Business Plan

By addressing these four key questions in your E2 visa business plan, you can increase your chances of a successful application. Remember that your business plan must provide clear, well-researched, and persuasive answers to each question, supported

by relevant documentation and evidence. This will help demonstrate to the immigration officer that your enterprise is a viable, beneficial addition to the U.S. economy and that you are well-equipped to manage it successfully.

Additional Tips for a Strong E2 Visa Business Plan

In addition to addressing the four main questions outlined above, consider the following tips to further strengthen your E2 visa business plan:

  1. Be thorough and organized: Ensure that your business plan is well-structured, easy to follow, and includes all the relevant information. Use headings and subheadings to guide the reader through the document, and provide a table of contents for easy navigation.
  2. Use clear and concise language: Avoid using overly complex language or industry-specific jargon. Instead, use clear and concise language to convey your points effectively, ensuring that the immigration officer can understand your business plan without difficulty.
  3. Provide supporting evidence: Wherever possible, include supporting documentation and evidence to back up your claims. This can include financial statements, market research, contracts, or any other materials that demonstrate the viability of your enterprise and your ability to develop and direct it.
  4. Emphasize job creation: One of the primary goals of the E2 visa program is to create jobs for U.S. workers. Be sure to highlight how your enterprise will contribute to job creation, either directly or indirectly, and provide specific numbers where possible.
  5. Seek professional assistance: If you are unsure about any aspect of your E2 visa business plan or the application process, consider seeking the advice of an experienced immigration attorney or a professional business plan writer. Their expertise can help ensure that your business plan is comprehensive and well-prepared, increasing your chances of a successful application.

In conclusion, a well-prepared E2 visa business plan is crucial for demonstrating the viability and potential of your enterprise to the immigration officer. By addressing the four key questions outlined in the FAM and following the additional tips provided, you can create a strong and persuasive business plan that improves your chances of obtaining an E2 visa and fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams in the United States.

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Sylvain Perret

Sylvain Perret is a business professional who has been living in the United States since 2010. Along with his wife Daphnee, he has established several businesses in the country, including Integrity International Brokers, an agency based in Orlando where he works as a business broker, real estate broker, business consultant, and business plan writer. Over the years, he has helped numerous clients from around the world achieve success in their projects to create or take over a company in the United States with an E2 visa. He is highly knowledgeable about U.S. immigration issues and is the author of the book "S'expatrier aux USA grâce aux visas d'entrepreneurs", which is soon to be translated into English. Sylvain is also a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) by the International Business Brokers Association and is regularly consulted on issues related to this field. At the age of 50, Sylvain chose to enhance his expertise in finance and strategy by pursuing a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He successfully graduated in May 2023, adding a valuable finishing touch to his knowledge. He is active on LinkedIn and Twitter, where he shares his insights and experiences with a wider audience.


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