What is a Marginal Business in the E-2 Visa Context

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is critical in permitting foreign investors to operate enterprises in the United States, both in terms of immigration and investment. One term that often comes up in this context is a “Marginal Business.” But what does it mean, and why is it significant in the E-2 Visa process? This blog post aims to demystify the concept of a marginal business, outlining its definition, importance, and impact on E-2 Visa eligibility.

Definition of a Marginal Business in E-2 Context

In the setting of an E-2 Visa, a “marginal business” is an enterprise that can’t make more than enough money for the treaty investor and their family to have a basic standard of living. Essentially, it’s a business that’s merely surviving and not thriving.

Why Is It Important?

The designation of a business as marginal or non-marginal plays a critical role in determining the eligibility for an E-2 Visa. The United States government assesses the potential of the business to grow and provide more than just subsistence for the investor.

Assessment Criteria

  1. Financial Projections: A business must demonstrate the potential to produce significant economic contributions in the future.
  2. Business Plan: A well-thought-out business plan, showing future growth and expansion, is vital.
  3. Employment Opportunities: A non-marginal business is expected to create jobs for U.S. workers.

Avoiding the Marginal Business Label

Investors who want an E-2 visa must plan and show their business in a strategic way to avoid being called “marginal.” Here are some steps:

  • Show Growth Potential: Provide evidence of expansion, new products, or market growth.
  • Invest Adequate Capital: The amount of money spent on capital must be a big part of the total cost of the business.
  • Create Job Opportunities: Demonstrate that the business will employ U.S. citizens.


Understanding the concept of a marginal business in the E-2 Visa context is vital for foreign investors looking to establish a foothold in the U.S. market. A marginal business can jeopardize the chances of securing an E-2 Visa, making it essential to approach with a strong business plan, growth projections, and a clear intention to contribute to the U.S. economy.

For personalized consultation and more insights into the E-2 Visa process, consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced legal expert.