E-2 Visa: Canada to U.S.A.

E-2 Visa: Canada to U.S.A.


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Canadians can apply for an E-2 visa from the consulate office in their country that is situated at the U.S. embassy. Every applicant has to prove that they are a Canadian national by producing a copy of their national identity card.

Canadians qualify for E-2 visa because the country maintains a business treaty with the U.S. Once granted the E-2 visa, a Canadian investor is expected to relocate to the U.S. and establish a business that will employ at least 2 U.S. nationals. By doing so, the Canadian investor contributes to the country’s economic expansion through the creation of jobs.

Get a valid passport from immigrations office

The Canadian applicant is expected to be in possession of a valid passport. For a passport to be valid, it must be valid for not less than 6 months after the expiry of their visa. Besides that, a passport is important because it bears the visa stamp issued by the Canadian consulate office.  It would therefore be impossible to open and run your business outside of Canada without your passport and appropriate visa.

Canadians applying for an E-2 visa are required to fill out form Ds-160 appropriately. This is actually a major prerequisite for Canadian potential investors. Most prefer to download the form directly from the consulate’s website.

It is also necessary for a Canadian applicant to pay the visa application fee. The fee is charged to all applicants in all countries that apply for an E-2 visa. Moreover, you cannot get your money back upon failing to get the visa from the Canadian office, because the fee is not refundable.

Update Your CV

Every Canadian must present an updated CV that contains all the details about their skills and experience. It is therefore important to rewrite your CV so that it reflects the skills that match with the business that you intend to establish in the U.S.

The CV should be complemented by a cover letter and a portfolio to prove that you have the skills that you are referring to. You can also attach recommendation letters or copies of certificates and awards. This will go a long way towards negotiating for the approval of your E-2 visa application. The CV must also explain the active roles that will be performed by the Canadian investor in the business.

Create Jobs for Fellow Countrymen

A Canadian investor is not barred from employing fellow Canadians while in the U.S.  You can actually hire as many Canadians as you care to. All the Canadian E-2 business owner must do is to write a letter to potential employees from his country so that they can use it to apply for their own E-2 visa.

The letter written by the Canadian employer to their potential Canadian workers must indicate the fields they will be working in. This is because they can not just be allocated duties at random. The employees must be deployed in fields that correspond to their skills as indicated in their individual CVs.

The Canadian Must Own a Business

The Canadian E-2 applicant must become an owner of a business that is based in the U.S. so that their E-2 visa request can be granted. In fact, the Canadian should identify and have a contract for purchase of the business before applying for the E-2 visa. The Canadian consulate is normally quick to approve applications that have been made by persons that have already invested in the U.S.

There Are Multiple Business Options for Canadians

A Canadian can own an business in the U.S. by purchasing a pre-existing business that is for sale. Be sure to perform your due diligence and understand why the owner is selling.

Canadians who do not wish to buy an established business venture can opt for a startup businesses. Such applicants need to draft a comprehensive business plan that has profit projections for at least 5 years. The owner of a startup venture must lease the premises and land that will house this business. The payments made for such leases can be used to prove that the Canadian applicant has already invested in the U.S.

The Canadian investor can also opt to purchase a new or resale franchise. Franchises already have a business plan in place as well as marketing, supply chain and customer demographic data prepared. It is the easiest way to open a business that will meet E-2 visa qualifications.

For a Canadian applicant to qualify as an investor in the US, they must own 50% or more of the U.S. based business. 


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Lawyers Can Be Brought In

The process of owning a business in the U.S. is a daunting task.  It is therefore advisable to involve a reputable lawyer so that they can help you with all the necessary paperwork. When you designate a lawyer to handle the visa application process, you are improving your chances of getting your E-2 visa approved, because an attorney will be well versed in immigration laws and be able to guide you through the process.

In order for any lawyer to be allowed to handle the application process for a Canadian investor, the Canadian E-2 applicant must fill form G-28.The form must contain the lawyer’s email address and other contact details.

Just Not Any Business Will Do

A Canadian investor can establish any kind of a business in the U.S. as long as it does not involve trading in illegal items. All you have to do is ensure that the business is registered and conforms to taxation laws of U.S. because the consulate officials will scrutinize this requirement.

But the business cannot be idle because such an enterprise will not benefit the U.S. in any way. This means that you can not open a business and close it down a few months down the line because you will be expected to have made profits as well as employing Americans.

Canadian Investment Must Be Substantial

A Canadian E-2 applicant must make a substantial investment to be granted the E-2 visa. There are no set rules as to the minimum investment required to qualify for an E-2 Visa, but typically investments of at least a $100,000 are considered substantial.

The substantiality of a Canadian investment is evaluated by gauging the amount of cash that was spent by the applicant to assume the ownership of an American based business. For startup businesses, their substantiality is evaluated by considering the amount that has been spent by the Canadian applicant in terms of rolling out the entire business including the cost of structures that have been leased by the investor.

Canadian Venture Must Be Profitable

For a Canadian to qualify for E-2 visa, the business enterprise must be profitable. The profitability of a Canadian investor is assessed by reading through the financial records of the enterprise to determine whether the establishment is financially healthy.

A stable business must be able to support the lifestyle of the Canadian investor and those of his/her dependents, as well as employ a minimum of 2 U.S. nationals.

How to Get Funding For the Business

There are various ways that a Canadian investor can obtain funds for investing in the U.S. The most obvious source is personal savings. Most people find it difficult to raise a substantial amount and thus resort to borrowing from their Canadian friends and families.

The last option entails borrowing a loan from a bank to finance your project. While this option is allowed for Canadians, it has its limitations because the Canadian investor must limit the borrowing from the banks to 30% of the total business investment.

Canadian Joint Ventures

Canadians are allowed to participate in joint ventures in the U.S. In fact, a Canadian E-2 investor can partner with a U.S. national but not with an alien in the U.S. and in any case, the Canadian must own at least 50% of the shares.

Partnering with fellow Canadians means that each party has to apply for an independent E-2 visa. Moreover, a Canadian joint venture in the U.S. makes it easier for the partners to build a substantial investment and hence increase the profitability of the business. A Canadian can combine efforts with their spouse, adult children or friends.

Americans Must Work For a Canadian

A Canadian E-2 investor must reserve 2 positions for U.S. nationals.  In the case of a startup business, the Canadian investor must state exactly when they intend to hire the 2 Americans which should be within the first two years of the project’s inception. The Americans must be employed on a full-time basis by the business.

Spouse and Children Can Work and Study in the US

If your spouse is not partnering with you in the U.S. based venture, they are allowed to migrate with you. In such a case, your spouse and children below the age of 21 will have to apply for dependent visas. Your spouse will be allowed to live and work in the U.S. while your children will be studying in the U.S. based schools. However, your children will have to apply for their independent visas at the age of 21.

Applying For Visa of Your Spouse and Kids

Applying for the visa of your spouse and kids should be easy provided that your visa as a Canadian investor in the U.S. has been approved. This is because their visas are dependent on your E-2 visa. All you need is a copy of your marriage certificate to prove that you are legally married to your partner. It is therefore recommended that you legalize your union with your Canadian spouse so that they can be allowed to come with you to the U.S.

On the issue of children, they have to be Canadian nationals as evidenced by their birth certificates. It does not matter whether the Canadian kids were born out of wedlock or adopted because all that matters is that the Canadian investor is their guardian. On the other hand, any children that will be born during your family’s stay in the U.S. will be recognized as U.S. citizens.