As a non-immigrant visa, an E-2 visa is different from the green cards obtained through investment (EB-5). An E-2 visa generally requires less amount of investment money and has an unlimited number of extensions while the investment continues. To qualify for an E-1, applicants must fulfill the following elements.

There is no limit on the types of business for an E-2 visa. Applicants are eligible to invest in various businesses such as gas stations, florist shops, dry cleaning shops and deli shops. However, such investments must be active. An active investment means investing in a business where products or services are created. Thus, simple purchases of real estate or money deposits into a bank account are considered passive investments and thus, not accepted as active investments. Signing a business sale contract is not qualified as an active investment because such a contract may be canceled or defaulted later. However, if funds for the investment are transferred into an escrow account of a lawyer or the title of a business is transferred, the investment may be more easily accepted as an active investment.

The applicant’s investment for an E-2 visa must be substantial. Although this is not defined in dollar terms, it is known that the more money you invest, the higher chance you have of an approval of an investor visa. The substantial amount of investment money is determined by various factors such as the business, area of business and purchasing price. The investor must be the source of the invested money.

The applicant’s investment for an E-2 visa must not be a marginal investment. This means the investment should not be the means to earn income to support the applicant or his or her family. By submitting reliable business plans for the next 5 years, applicants can demonstrate the capacity of his or her investing business to employ U.S. workers and generate more than enough income to support the applicant and his or her family.

The fact that the applicant invested in a certain business is not enough for the E-2 approval. To qualify for an E-2 investor visa, the applicant must actively participate in the business and develop the business. The applicant must take a major role to advance and direct operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested.