Common Mistakes in the E-2 Visa Process and How to Avoid Them

June 3, 2024

The E-2 visa is a popular option for investors looking to enter and operate a business in the United States. However, the application process can be complex, and mistakes can lead to delays or denials. Understanding and avoiding these common pitfalls can greatly enhance your chances of a successful application. This guide outlines the most frequent mistakes applicants make in the E-2 visa process and provides tips on how to avoid them.

1. Insufficient Investment

Mistake: Not investing enough capital into the U.S. business.

Explanation: The E-2 visa requires a substantial investment in the U.S. enterprise. The term “substantial” is not explicitly defined, but it generally means that the investment should be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business.

How to Avoid: Ensure that your investment is substantial relative to the total cost of purchasing or creating the business. Typically, this means investing at least $100,000, though the amount can vary based on the nature of the business.

2. Lack of a Detailed Business Plan

Mistake: Failing to provide a comprehensive business plan.

Explanation: A detailed business plan is crucial for demonstrating the viability and profitability of the business.

How to Avoid: Your business plan should include financial projections, a detailed market analysis, a marketing strategy, and a description of the business’s organizational structure. It should also clearly outline how your investment will contribute to the business’s success.

3. Inadequate Documentation

Mistake: Submitting incomplete or insufficient documentation.

Explanation: The E-2 visa application requires extensive documentation to prove the legitimacy of the investment and the business.

How to Avoid: Prepare a comprehensive set of documents, including evidence of the source of your investment funds, proof of investment, legal formation documents, lease agreements, and any other relevant business contracts.

4. Poorly Demonstrated Intent to Depart

Mistake: Failing to demonstrate non-immigrant intent.

Explanation: E-2 visa applicants must prove that they intend to depart the U.S. when their E-2 status ends.

How to Avoid: While dual intent is not explicitly allowed under the E-2 visa, you should be prepared to show strong ties to your home country, such as property ownership, family ties, or ongoing business interests outside the U.S.

5. Inadequate Job Creation Plan

Mistake: Not demonstrating how the business will create jobs for U.S. workers.

Explanation: One of the E-2 visa requirements is that the business must not be marginal. It should generate more than just enough income to support you and your family.

How to Avoid: Include in your business plan a clear outline of job creation, detailing the number of jobs your business will create for U.S. workers and the timeline for these hires.

6. Misunderstanding the Nature of the Investment

Mistake: Investing in a passive business.

Explanation: The E-2 visa requires the investor to be actively involved in the management of the business. Passive investments, such as real estate or stock holdings, do not qualify.

How to Avoid: Ensure that your investment is in an active, operational business in which you play a key managerial role.

7. Ignoring Legal Advice

Mistake: Proceeding without professional legal assistance.

Explanation: The E-2 visa application process is complex, and the likelihood of making errors increases without expert guidance.

How to Avoid: Engage an experienced immigration attorney who can help navigate the requirements, prepare your documentation, and avoid common pitfalls.


The E-2 visa process requires careful preparation and attention to detail. By understanding and avoiding these common mistakes, you can improve your chances of a successful application. If you need assistance with your E-2 visa application, our law firm specializes in immigration services and can guide you through every step of the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What qualifies as a substantial investment for the E-2 visa? While there is no fixed amount, a substantial investment typically depends on the nature of the business.

Q2: Can I apply for an E-2 visa if I plan to invest in real estate? No, passive investments such as real estate do not qualify. The investment must be in an active business where you play a key managerial role.

Q3: How long does the E-2 visa application process take? The processing time can vary, but it typically takes several months. Consulting with an immigration attorney can help expedite the process.

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