Steps For Applying for a Canada E2 visa

More and more Canadian citizens are venturing into the United States to establish businesses. To do so, they require a Canada E2 visa. This visa is particularly appealing to Canadians as it allows them to bring their spouse and children under 21. Here, we prepare a straightforward guide to walk you through the E2 visa application process in Canada.

The E2 visa for Canadian Citizens

The E2 visa or the Treaty Investor visa offers a special opportunity for citizens of treaty countries like Canada. It’s designed for those who want to invest in and manage a business in the United States. This nonimmigrant visa category is ideal for entrepreneurs and investors, providing Canadians with specific privileges during the application process.

The E2 visa’s appeal to Canadians is due to its flexibility and potential for business success in the United States. Aside from having the ability to actively manage and develop their own businesses, E2 visa holders can enjoy benefits such as including their immediate family members in their journey, renewing their visas indefinitely, and exploring potential pathways to permanent residency.

Eligibility Requirements for the Canada E2 Visa

The E2 visa requirements for Canadian entrepreneurs include:

  1. Canadian citizenship

In order to qualify for the E2 visa, Canadian citizenship is a prerequisite. This means you must hold Canadian citizenship, whether acquired by birth or through naturalization.

  1. Treaty country eligibility

Canadians are fortunate to qualify for the E2 visa due to the existing commerce and navigation treaty between Canada and the United States. This treaty provides a legal framework that allows Canadians to apply for and potentially receive the E2 visa.

  1. Control of funds

At the time of application, you must demonstrate that you have control over the investment funds and have committed them to the US business or commercial enterprise. This emphasizes the seriousness and genuine intent of your investment.

  1. Bona fide enterprise

Your investment must be directed toward a legitimate enterprise, specifically, a functioning business engaged in producing goods or services for profit. It should be a legitimate, operational business venture. Additionally, the business should be non-marginal, meaning it should generate sufficient profit to cover business expenses and basic living costs for you and your dependents.

  1. Intent to develop and direct

As a Canada E2 visa applicant, you must clearly intend to enter the United States to actively participate in developing and managing the commercial enterprise or business. If you are not the principal investor but hold a supervisory, highly skilled, or executive position, you may still be eligible for an E2 visa, provided the business meets the specific E2 Investment requirements for such a circumstance.

  1. Substantial investment

This requirement entails making a significant financial commitment to a US business or commercial enterprise. Although no set minimum investment amount is specified by the US government, the investment must be substantial enough to ensure the business can operate successfully. The exact amount can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as the business’s type, industry, and unique requirements.

Canada E2 visa

What are examples of suitable and active commercial enterprises for Canada E2 visa?

canada e2 visa application

When applying for an E2 visa, you should consider various business options that meet the visa’s requirements. The E2 visa program allows Canadian applicants to choose from a range of active commercial enterprises, including the ability to purchase an existing business, start a new one from scratch, or invest in a franchise. Here are examples of such enterprises:

  1. Purchase an existing business.

Canada E2 visa applicants can buy an established business that is currently operating. This option provides immediate ownership and a ready-made business structure. Examples of suitable businesses for purchase include:

  • Restaurants

  • Retail stores

  • Service businesses (e.g., salons, repair shops)

  • Manufacturing companies

  • Medical or dental practices

  1. Start a new business.

Canadian entrepreneurs who want to create a business from the ground up can choose to start a new enterprise. This option offers the flexibility to develop a business tailored to your vision. Examples of suitable new businesses for the E2 visa include:

  • New restaurants or cafes

  • Boutique shops or specialty stores

  • Tech startups

  • Educational centers

  • Consulting firms

  1. Buy a franchise.

Another attractive option for Canada E2 visa applicants is investing in a franchise. Franchises are established businesses with a proven history of success, which tends to make them a relatively lower-risk option. Suitable franchise opportunities can include:

  • Fast-food franchises

  • Hotel or hospitality franchises

  • Fitness center franchises

  • Home improvement franchises

  • Residential and commercial cleaning franchises

Required Documents for the Canada E2 Visa

You will need to provide specific documents to support your application when applying for an E2 visa in Canada. These documents are essential to demonstrate your eligibility and intention to invest in and manage a business in the United States. While each case may have unique requirements, here is a general list of the key documents needed:

  1. Valid passport: Ensure you possess a valid Canadian passport with a minimum of six months of validity extending beyond your intended stay in the United States.

  2. Form DS-160: The completed Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You can fill out this form online.

  3. Business plan: A comprehensive business plan outlining the nature of the business, your role and responsibilities, and financial projections for the business. Our affiliate company,, can assist you with this essential requirement.

  4. Business investment documents: Documents proving your substantial investment in a US business, which may include:

  • Business purchase agreement or lease agreement

  • Bank statements showing the source of your investment funds

  • Business financial records and tax documents

  • Contracts or agreements related to the investment

  • Business Plan: A comprehensive business plan outlining the nature of the business, your role and responsibilities, and financial projections for the business

  1. Formation, ownership, and control documents: Evidence that you have established and own and control the US business, such as:

  • Stock certificates.

  • Operating agreements.

  • Organizational charts showing your position

  • Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization

  1. Source of funds documents: To demonstrate the source of your investment funds, you should provide bank statements spanning at least one to two years, tax returns to establish income history, and documents related to asset sales, gifts, or inheritances, if applicable.

  2. Qualifications documents: Provide qualifications documents, which typically include your educational and professional credentials, such as degrees, certifications, and work experience relevant to managing the business.

  3. Appointment confirmation: You should have a copy of your appointment confirmation for your visa interview at the US embassy or consulate.

  4. Additional documents: Depending on your specific case, you may be required to provide additional documents. These may include personal financial statements, dependents’ passports and birth certificates (if you plan to bring dependents), business licenses, or letters of support from business partners.

Diverse Franchise Industry Eligible For E2 Visa In Finger Tips.

How can I apply for a Canada E2 visa?

To apply for an E2 visa, you must do the following:

  1. Compile necessary documentation: Assemble all required documents for your E2 visa application.

  2. Complete the DS-160 online application: Fill out the Online Visa Application Form DS-160 and ensure you upload a suitable photo as part of the application process.

  3. Generate the DS-160 confirmation page: After successfully completing the DS-160 application, print out the confirmation page that includes a barcode. This printed confirmation page will need to be submitted along with your visa application.

  4. Submit Form DS-156E: If applicable to your application, complete and submit Form DS-156E. It’s important to note that this form is necessary for dependent family members.

  5. Process Visa Application Fee Payment: Create a user profile and then make the visa application fee payment for both yourself and any family members who are applying with you. Your application cannot be considered until payment has been verified. The application fee per DS-160 form is $205.

  6. Schedule an interview: Utilize the services provided by the information and appointment service provider’s website to schedule an interview appointment at the US Consulate.

  7. Attend the US Consulate interview: Honor your scheduled appointment at the US Consulate, appearing in person as required. Ensure you thoroughly review the list of prohibited items and avoid bringing them to the interview.

  8. Visa issuance and document return: If your visa application is approved, your passport, along with the visa and related documents, will be returned to you through the Canada Post Courier service.

Where can I apply for a Canada E2 visa?

The primary location for applying for an E2 visa in Canada is the US Consulate General in Toronto. If you’re a first-time applicant or need to renew your E2 visa company’s registration, you’ll submit your application and documents electronically via email ([email protected]), and the Consulate will later guide you on scheduling an appointment.

Employees and dependents of registered companies can schedule visa interviews in several cities, including Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Toronto.

Processing Times for Canada E2 Visa

Processing times typically range from 7 to 10 business days following the interview. However, processing times can vary. Therefore, it is recommended to apply well before your intended travel dates and avoid making firm travel plans until your passport with the visa has been received.


Pursuing an E2 visa as a Canadian entrepreneur offers an exciting avenue for investment and business growth in the United States. E2VisaFranchises is here to help you navigate the complexities of the E2 visa program, especially when considering franchise opportunities. Consult with us today, and let’s embark on this journey together!

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