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On an E-2 investor visa in the USA, I start or buy a business. Do I need to employ Americans, or can I operate as a sole trader?

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On an E-2 investor visa in the USA, I have to start or buy a business. Do I need to employ Americans, or can I operate as a sole trader as long as I am making a reasonable living?

Attorney Answers 3


It sounds like you are confusing the requirements for an EB-5 investor visa. You should hire an attorney to help you as the requirements are difficult
An E does not need to employ Americans

Neil I Fleischer (513) 977-4209 Note: Neil Fleischer is an attorney licensed in the State of Ohio The below answer is provided for informational use only. One should not act or refrain to act solely based on the information provided. No attorney/client relationship is created unless an Agreement is signed by the attorney and the client. Best regards, Neil Neil I Fleischer The Fleischer Law Firm, LLC 917 Main Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1314 Direct telephone: 513 977 4209 Enjoy our Blog at

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No. An E2 visa is for someone bringing enough investment to start a small business. An EB-5 requires investment of $1million or more.



Thank you for posting your question.

You are correct that as an E-2 investor, you are required to either start your own business or purchase an existing business (i.e. invest in the U.S.). One of the main requirements of qualifying for an E-2 visa is satisfying the 'marginality' requirement - i.e. that the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living. Therefore, you need to have employees - whether they are U.S. citizens, Lawful permanent residents, etc.

I hope the above addresses your question.

Should you have any other questions regarding E-2 visa requirements, please feel free to contact our office for a detailed consultation. Our consultation would include discussing the viability of prospective businesses that you may consider purchasing for E-2 investment purposes as well as addressing any questions/concerns you may have regarding the E-2 visa application process.

Good luck!

Thank you,
Nisha V. Fontaine, Esq.
Serotte Reich Wilson, LLP

Ph: 716-854-7525

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You will need to show that the investment is not marginal. In other words, that it is not so small that it is only generating enough income for you. That generally means that you will need to grow the business to the point where you are hiring people.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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