Growing number of small businesses are being denied renewal of their E-2 Visas

Categories: Immigration Lawyer Blog San Diego

A recent NY Times article discussed how a Maine restaurant was forced to shut down because USCIS denied the owners a renewal of their E-2 Treaty Investor status.


Dean and Laura Franks, a British couple who opened the restaurant in 2000, found that after nine years of running their business, they could not renew their visa, forcing them to shutter the restaurant and leave the country.

The Franks are among thousands of people who enter the United States each year on E-2 visas, which allow citizens from countries with which the United States has certain trade treaties to invest in businesses and work here. The visas generally are renewed every two years, but there is no limit on how many times they can be renewed. Still, they are not intended as a path to permanent residency or citizenship.

But now, immigration advocates say they are hearing more and more accounts of renewal applications being turned down. It has been an enigmatic process for the Franks, uprooting their lives even though they have paid all their taxes, own the restaurant and its adjacent rental house, and have no debts except a mortgage on their home in Arundel, about 35 miles away.

In denying their case, USCIS stated that their restaurant had become a become a marginal business, meaning that the business enterprise “does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living” for the visa holder and his family. Many immigration attorneys view the marginality test of the E-2 visa as a subjective test because it is difficult to ascertain what is considered minimal living.

The full story of the Franks can be found here: Maine Business Is Shut Without a Renewed Visa

The E2 Investor Visa allows an individual of a treaty country to enter and work inside of the United States based on an investment he or she will be controlling, while inside the United States.

Feldman Feldman & Associates helps investors around the world immigrate to the U.S. with E-2 treaty investor visas and assists businesses with the renewals of their E-2 visas.