From time-to-time, even savvy lenders come across issues they haven’t dealt with for a while, sometimes years. And they ask for assistance. Our client, Joan called the other day asking whether her prospect who is getting an E-2 visa is able to get an SBA loan.

How times have changed.

Way back in 2020 the SOP had all sorts of things to say about visas. No matter. We’ve all tossed our copies of SOP 50 10 5 K in the dust bin, and we can do the same with thoughts about visas. Now, what matters is Lawful Permanent Residency.

While we’re at it, let’s quit quibbling and say right off the bat that SBA doesn’t make loans to people. It makes loans to businesses. Businesses don’t have visas. And a business doesn’t have to be owned by a U.S. citizen to be eligible to apply for an SBA loan. If the owner of 51% of a business is lawfully in the United States and is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States, the business can apply for an SBA loan. (SOP 50 10 6 pg. 157)

A Lawful Permanent Resident can live and work in the U.S. indefinitely unless their status is revoked through an administrative hearing. As evidence of LPR status, lawful permanent residents are issued a Form 155 – aka the Green Card. So to make all this very short: If the business is owned and controlled by a Green Card holder, it can get an SBA loan.


Well, we know that Green Cards take a while to get. After all, they’re issued by the Federal government, not known for moving with celerity. The SOP allows for that, stating on page 158 that it can take up to a year to get a Green Card. And during that time a new legal migrant is issued an immigrant visa with a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stamp evidencing their LPR status for a full year from the date they entered the United States.

So if Joan’s prospect is at least 51% owned and controlled by a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent U.S. Resident, the business can apply for an SBA loan. Of course there are more details. If you have a similar prospect, I recommend reading SOP pages 157-160 in their entirety. And of course you can always come to us for assistance.

I love digging into the SOP to address issues like this. Keep your questions coming.

Richard Jeffrey
Senior Associate
Head Underwriter