The US has a special type of visa known as E-2 visa, which allows a foreign national of a treaty country to be admitted and do business in the US. The primary purpose of the visa is to stimulate the US economy by encouraging more investments that would create jobs and hire US workers.

There are a number of rules that govern an E-2 visa application. To qualify for one, the applicant must be a national of a one of the countries with which the US maintains a trade and navigation treaty; must have invested or in the process of investing a “substantial” amount in a bona fide enterprise in the US; and be only looking to enter the country to develop and direct that enterprise.

Mandatory documents that you will need to bring prior to your visa interview include a valid passport, Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160), photograph, Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application (Form DS-156E), and the application fee payment receipt.

Do you need a business plan for an E-2 visa application?

A business plan is not an official E-2 visa requirement, but it is highly recommended that you have one prepared as part of the additional documents the embassy or consulate will look for.

According to the US Department of State, you should expect that the consular officer will request additional documentation to determine your eligibility. It stated that it is impossible to determine the exact documentation needed, but business plans are part of the Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9’s document checklist. So you’d do well to have one on hand.

A business plan will help you prove that you have the necessary skills and resources to operate a bona fide business in the US that has a high likelihood of success and the capability to provide jobs to American citizens.

What you should include in your E-2 business plan

The US government offered no mandatory rules in writing an E-2 visa business plan, except that it has to be “thorough” and has “financial projections for next 5 years”. A comprehensive business plan should contain the following key sections:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Analysis
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Market Analysis
  5. Competitive Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Financial Plan

Writing the Executive Summary

The executive summary is the first section that the consular officer will see in your business plan, so it is advisable to make this section exciting, professional, and comprehensive. This section provides the reader with an overview of your business and should contain the highlights of your business plan presented in a concise format.

Your executive summary of an E-2 business plan should be able to let the reader know in a single page what your company does, what separates it from your competitors, who your customers are, how much is your investment, the number and type of jobs you can provide, and the growth prospects of your business.

Writing the Company Analysis

The Company Analysis section provides a more detailed description of your business, including the product or service it provides, and the market opportunity. A thorough Company Analysis should also include the company history, its mission and vision, business model, value proposition, and further plans for expansion.

For E-2-focused business plans, it is highly advisable to include a section detailing how your direct handling of the business in the US will help it maximize revenue and profit potential. In addition, you should also describe your employment plans, particularly the quality and number of jobs you’re planning to offer to the local community.

Market Research

The Industry, Market, and Competitive Analyses are part of the market research section, which is responsible for providing the consular officer with a detailed overview of your market in the US. For an E-2 application, the primary purpose of this section is to prove that your business has the potential to succeed in the US based on industry and market trends and indicators.

In the Industry Analysis section, you’d need to first pinpoint the industry your business belongs in. Afterwards, you should research trends and statistics that can prove that the industry is growing. If your industry has been on a slide in the past few years, you must be able to identify credible signs of a reversal in the near future. 

The Market Analysis section provides a detailed account of the type and size of market your business will serve. A number of free tools are available online, which you can use to do research, such as the Statistical Atlas for the precise number of individuals in a locality and the American FactFinder for the estimated number of businesses in a state.

The Competitive Analysis is performed to provide an overview of your main competition. It also offers you the opportunity to build credibility for yourself by showing your company’s competitive advantage.

Creating the Marketing Plan

Your company’s Marketing Plan should tell the consular officer how you plan on getting US customers to buy your product or service. You should include in this section your main promotional strategy and the advertising and sales tactics that you’re planning to employ to achieve your goals.

Writing Operational Plan

The consular officer will want to know how your business will operate in the US. You’d want to provide in this section a detailed description of your management team, including a list of your professional and advisory support group. You’d also want to include a list of your immediate key hires, which would further drive the point that you’re planning to provide jobs for locals.

Financial Planning

Probably the most important section of an E-2 business plan, the Financial Plan section offers the reader a realistic view of your company’s viability and an estimate of its financial future. Your E-2 visa business plan should contain a detailed financial plan with a five-year profit and loss projection, cash flow projection, projected balance sheet, and breakeven analysis.

Where to find help writing an E-2 visa business plan

Individual writers and companies dedicated to crafting business plans tailored for E-2 visa applications have sprouted all over the world to provide E-2 visa applicants with expert help regarding their business plan requirements. Their rates vary, but expect a standard business plan to cost upwards of $1,500.

Suppose you’re short on cash, we suggest drafting your plan on your own and then commissioning a business plan writer afterwards to polish it for you. Remember to follow the steps we’ve laid out above. 

If you need professional help in writing your E-2 Visa business plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We have successfully completed more than 3,000 business plan projects for companies in sundry industries and look forward to working on your business plan project.

Author Details
Ishan Jetley is the founder and managing director of Go Business Plans. Ishan has helped fund more than 400 businesses. He has helped businesses raise $150 million in business working capital, inventory and commercial property loans.