Why Was My E2 Visa Denied?

Was your E2 Visa denied? Whether you’re submitting your E2 visa application for the first time, or you’re requesting a renewal, getting denied can be irritating and perplexing. USCIS evaluates each application individually; the reasons for denial will be different for each business. However, there are some important factors to keep in mind that could help you avoid denial of your E2 visa.

Common Reasons for Denial

The E2 visa allows investors from certain countries to start a business and live in the United States without obtaining permanent citizenship. One of the most attractive features of the E2 visa is that it requires a fairly low investment amount, as opposed to options like the EB-5, which necessitates as much as $1 million. E2 visas are approved for a two year period, but may be renewed indefinitely.

Having a smaller investment does not necessarily make the E2 visa easier to acquire. While no two cases are alike, investors should keep in mind the list of requirements, and understand that they could face rejection for any of the following reasons:

  • Your country is not a “treaty country.” E2 visas are only awarded to investors who reside in a treaty country or a country that has a commerce and navigation treaty with the United States. To see if your country falls into this category, you can view the list on USCIS’s website.
  • Your investment is not enough. While you don’t need to have millions of dollars invested, the USCIS wants investors to have a “substantial amount” of money in their business. The amount isn’t precisely defined, but USCIS provides a few general guidelines on their website. Essentially, there should be enough of an investment to ensure the business will be supported well enough to flourish.
  • You don’t own the business. If you don’t own at least half your business, you may have a difficult time convincing USCIS that you wish to enter the U.S. solely to build and develop that business. Those who don’t have 50% ownership may be able to show proof of their roles in the business through documentation of their operational or managerial control.
  • You can’t prove the business is real. To qualify for an E2 visa, you must have a “bona fide enterprise.” Businesses meeting this definition will be able to legally operate in the country of their origin and following all laws that pertain to them.
  • Your business is considered marginal. A marginal business is one that where you don’t make enough money to live off it. It may be hard to consider a business marginal if it hasn’t even been opened yet, but USCIS studies your plans to determine if your business can reach the capacity to make enough money. Investors who have already opened a business may not get their visas renewed if their tax returns deem their business as marginal.

Talk to an Immigration Attorney

Applying for an E2 visa can be complicated, and each case is viewed subjectively by USCIS. To ensure you have the best chance of getting your application approved, you may want to consider contacting an attorney. At Udall Shumway, PLC, we have extensive experience with the visa process for both individuals and businesses. Let us help you realize your dream of owning a business in the United States.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding E2 Visa Denied, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.