Buying a Gas Station to Qualify for an E2 Visa: A Case Study

In this post, I discuss the possibility of buying a gas station in America and using that investment to qualify for the E2 visa. To illustrate this, I’ll share a recent case of mine.

But first, why are gas station businesses so popular for foreign nationals? Let’s break it down.

e2 visa gas station why are they popular 

Why Gas Stations Are Popular for E2 Visa Applicants

Consistent Demand

Fuel is a necessity for vehicle owners, ensuring a steady stream of customers regardless of economic conditions. This constant demand makes gas stations a reliable business venture.

Diverse Revenue Streams

Besides fuel, gas stations often have convenience stores that sell snacks, beverages, and other items, bringing in extra income. This variety of revenue sources makes the business more resilient and profitable.

High Traffic Locations

Gas stations are usually in high-traffic locations, meaning there’s always a bunch of potential customers passing by. Their strategic locations contribute to consistent business.

Franchise Opportunities

Many gas stations are part of larger franchises, offering brand recognition, marketing support, and a proven business model. This can be particularly beneficial for first-time business owners.

Low Competition from Online Retail

Unlike other stores, you can’t fill up your tank or get a car wash online. This reduces competition from online retailers and ensures that gas stations remain essential physical locations.

e2 visa gas station my client's investment

Case Study: My Client’s Gas Station Investment

Alright, so my client wanted in on the action and decided to purchase a gas station. Here’s how it went down.

Client’s Case

My client signed an asset purchase agreement to buy 100% of an existing gas station’s assets and inventory for $264,500. He transferred the funds to the seller in three installments. He wasn’t buying the physical property but leasing it, with an agreement to get a commission on fuel sales.

When he bought the business, there were 4 employees. He planned to increase this to 6, not including his position.

Business Expansion Plans

The business aimed to keep its fuel and retail offerings while introducing a fast-food-inspired menu with burgers, fries, and wings. They also planned to use delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash to boost sales and profits.

Strategic Location

Strategically located at a major highway intersection in a high tourist area, the gas station had big plans to attract travelers with unique novelties and a ticket counter within the convenience store.

Projected Sales Growth

They expected to hit total sales of $3,840,800 in the first year and $7,717,989 by the end of the fifth year.

Employee Requirements

To run the business, they needed six employees plus the investor. Several of these employees were already hired and working.

Why My Client’s E2 Visa Application Succeeded

At-risk Investment

The E2 visa requires an at-risk investment, and since my client transferred all of the purchase funds to the seller before the interview, his investment was clearly at-risk.

Substantial Investment

The E2 visa looks at the investment in relation to the business cost. Since my client bought 100% of a business for over $200,000, this easily met the requirement.

Job Creation (Marginality)

The business must generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for the investor and their family. With plans to expand from 4 to 6 employees, we showed that the business was not marginal.


I was thrilled for my client’s success and grateful that I had the opportunity to help make his entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

I hope this case study gives you a better understanding of the E2 visa and its requirements. But remember, there are other factors to consider, so reach out to one of the amazing E2 visa lawyers out there to receive guidance that is tailored to your unique situation.

 Thanks for your time!

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Ben Frear, Esq.

Immigration Lawyer for Entrepreneurs

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