The E-2 visa is for foreign investors to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested a substantial amount of capital. Part of the requirement for the E-2 visa is that the company creates jobs for US workers and not just a livelihood for the investor. We discuss the E-2 visa requirement to hire employees here.
Do I have to Hire Employees to get an E-2 Visa?
The short answer is, Yes. A qualifying E-2 investment must have the present or future capacity to create jobs for US workers. This does not necessarily mean the enterprise has employees on day one. When the investment is an existing enterprise, the enterprise will typically already have employees on the payroll. When the investment is a new enterprise, the enterprise will not typically have employees on the payroll but will show the future capacity to hire employees.
When do I have to Hire Employees for an E-2 visa?
If you are investing in a new enterprise, there is no requirement to have employees right away. Depending on the enterprise, you may not even hire an employee until year two or three of operations. However, your E-2 visa application must be supported by a detailed immigration business plan that shows hiring projections over the next five years. When it comes time to renew your E-2 visa you will need to show that you have hired US workers. Existing companies will typically already have employees on the payroll.
How Many Employees do I Have to Hire?
There is no specific number of employees to meet the requirements for an E-2 visa. The general requirement is that the enterprise provides more than a livelihood for the investor and creates jobs for US workers. In our experience, you should target at least three (3) full-time employees to meet the minimum requirements for the E-2 visa. This can be done over time and does not need to be immediate. At the time of renewing the visa, you would need to show at least three (3) full-time W-2 workers on the payroll.
Do Independent Contractors Count as Employees for an E-2 visa?
In general, you should aim to hire employees on payroll (W-2). In very limited situations, companies may use independent contractors to meet this requirement. The best practice is to hire full-time W-2 employees to meet the three (3) employee requirements.
E Visas for Traders & Investors
Additional Outside Resources
We Can Help!
The US immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 30+ years of experience helping people to invest and do business in the United States under E-2 visa status. Read some of our hundreds of 5-star client reviews! Contact us today for an assessment of your legal situation.