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Best E-2 Visa Business Investments in 2022

Posted on August 4, 2022
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By Heather Beliles, M. Ed.

Foreign investors and entrepreneurs alike frequently seek opportunities to invest in United States businesses. Investors are constantly analyzing the market to find the best E-2 visa business investments.

When foreign nationals obtain employment-based E-2 visas, they can live and work in the U.S. while directing their business of choice. Oftentimes, investors buy businesses and franchises, however many entrepreneurs also find great success with their own startup companies.

The best E-2 business investments usually coincide with the lowest capital requirements, which oftentimes result in quicker returns on investment. It goes without mentioning, E-2 visa applicants must develop and/or direct a business within their field of expertise, but in the interest of answering the question, this article contains many profitable enterprise opportunities. They range from in-person services like home and automotive repair, to online products and services like translations and web design.

The best E-2 visa business investments include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Buying a franchise or other existing businesses
  • Restaurants and cafés
  • Consulting firms
  • Home and property-related services
  • Automobile services
  • Translation services
  • Computer business
  • IT services
  • Web design services
  • App design services
  • Photography

Franchises

Franchises typically have products or services ready for immediate use, which is what makes them great for E-2 visa business investments. Franchisees have the ability to use a proven business model, and that is beneficial to foreign investors as business owners, as well as in their E-2 visa application. Considering this type of opportunity cuts out a considerable amount of guesswork when it comes to cost projections. In turn, prospective investors will know how much their investment should be, in order to be considered substantial.

Franchises include:

  • Convenience stores
  • Restaurants
  • Kiosks in shopping malls
  • Retail shops
  • Bakeries
  • Cafés
  • Pubs

Consulting Businesses

Foreign investors choose this type of investment not only because of their professional experience in consulting, but also because of the low start-up costs. The cost of establishing a consulting business is generally much lower than other types of businesses, this means generating a quicker profit. Provided the applicant’s business plan and visa application contains reasonable projections of growth, a consultation business can be a fantastic avenue for obtaining an E-2 visa.

Consulting businesses include:

  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Software development
  • Architecture
  • Graphic design
  • Web design

Buy an Existing Business

Acquiring a business that is already in existence holds similar benefits to buying a franchise. The largest benefit to the prospective investor is when the business is already operational and generating income. This is great, because at this point, the business is ready for new ownership. Especially when the business already has employees. This brings another benefit in that operating costs and investment requirements are easily calculated since there is most likely a financial history. 

Oftentimes, current customers are loyal to the brand, product or service, so this also reduces the need for additional marketing and advertising. There are several different types of business one can find to purchase, so it is recommended the foreign investor search for a business that fits his or her professional expertise.

Home and Car Services

Offering services that simplify people’s lives is a great business in which to invest. The demand for home and car-related services is high, depending on the geographic location, and has excellent potential for profits. Such enterprises are likely to see rapid growth and are inclined to last for many years.  

Home and car services include:

  • Home repair (interior and exterior)
  • Home remodeling
  • Pool maintenance
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Housekeeping
  • Gardening
  • Auto detailing
  • Auto painting
  • Locksmith
  • Automotive repair shop

Translation Services

Needless to say, the United States is a hub for worldwide business, and is the home to a lot of  people fluent in multiple languages. For this reason, offering a translation service is invaluable to clients, both small-scale and large-scale alike. This is another type of business which requires a much lower amount of start-up funds. Additionally, such services can even be conducted online and remotely. 

Translation services include:

  • Medical
  • Finance and banking
  • Fiction and nonfiction books
  • Audio/visual
  • Website
  • Statements of Purpose - for jobs and graduate schools
  • Published articles

Other E-2 Businesses

The following list includes quite a few enterprises foreign investors either establish or acquire, for the purposes of obtaining an E-2 visa in the United States.:

  • Cabinetry
  • Catering company
  • Wedding photographer
  • Construction 
  • Computer services
  • Graphic design
  • App design
  • Web design
  • Internet marketing
  • Distribution business
  • Fashion designing
  • Film Maker
  • Gyms
  • Plumbing business
  • Real estate
  • Electrical company
  • Legal referral Business
  • Online retail
  • Advertising and Public Relations services
  • Trucking company
  • Printing services
  • Import/Export company
  • Wine and Spirits distribution
  • Athletic leagues

Conclusion of Best E-2 Visa Business Investments

Foreign investors have a couple different options when considering E-2 visa business investing opportunities. They can either purchase an existing business (or buy a franchise), or they can start their own company. 

There are many benefits to acquiring an already operational business, like the presence of a financial history and the ability to know how much of an investment would be needed. Especially when such investments must be substantial. This also enables the investor to gauge the return on their investment (ROI), which indicates whether the returns would meet the E-2 visa proportionality requirements. 

Whether it be a convenience store, mall kiosk, a bakery, or a web design company the investor acquires, he or she simply has to demonstrate their credentials – and their capability to direct such franchise or business. 

While purchasing a business benefits some investors, others find it to be of more interest to invest in a business they themselves establish. Such enterprises include home remodeling, gardening, housekeeping, house painting, plumbing, electrical, carpet cleaning, auto repair, and mobile auto detailing. 

It should be noted that the businesses do not have to be in-person services. There are products and services that can be offered and sold online. These types of services include translation services, online retail, web design, graphics design, mobile app design, and legal services.

  • Franchises 
  • Business acquisition
  • Consulting business
  • Home and car Services
  • Translation services
  • Other businesses or services in which the investor is a professional expert

Frequently Asked Questions About Best E-2 Visa Business Investments (FAQs)

I am going to buy a business in the United States. How can I protect my investment if I do not get approved for an E-2 visa?

This is a great reason to foreign investors to have their investment held in an escrow account, while simultaneously making their acquisition contingent on receiving their E-2 visa. 

Is it better to purchase an existing business or start my own?

In general, it is preferable to acquire an existing business, especially when obtaining an E-2 visa through the United States consulate - from abroad.

Will I be required to hire employees for my E-2 business?

Yes, as the E-2 enterprise must demonstrate how it is bringing value to the economy. If the business owner does not hire employees, their business will not be considered non-marginal.

Which type of business should I choose for my E-2 visa?

Any business enterprise that meets the following criteria should be considered for an E-2 business:

  • The enterprise must be lawful and bona fide
  • The enterprise must be for profit
  • The business owner must pay their employees 
  • The business must have customers
  • The business must bring more than enough profit to just merely make a living for the owner
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