How Large Does An Investment Have To Be For an E-2 Visa

An E-2 Visa is a Visa that is available for entrepreneurs, investors and business owners who wish to live in the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of a business.  The business can be large or small and in order to qualify for the Visa, applicants must meet specific requirements.  The full set of requirements for an E-2 Visa are outlined in an article you can access by clicking here.

One of the requirements is that the Investment amount must be “substantial,” and the question often arises of “How much money has to be spent to qualify for the visa.”  The not so simple answer is that the U.S. Government does not have a predetermined amount that they consider substantial.  This means that there is no minimum and no maximum amount.

In order to assess whether the E-2 applicant has invested enough money, the government uses a proportionality test.  This test looks at the total amount that is required to start up a business and then applies the standard of “substantial” investment by looking at how much was spent in relation to the total expenditure needed to set up the business. As such, if your business is a service business (eg. a consulting business) the investment that is required will be much lower than if your business is a capital-intensive business (eg. car manufacturing plant).  I have received approvals for investments as low as $50,000 where only $13,000 was spent for equipment, furniture, lease and other items and cash of around $35,000 was deposited in a business bank account.  Needless to say though the more money spent the better.  Also, for businesses that have a low start-up amount, you are expected to spend 100% of the amount to set up the business.

A few things to consider regarding the investment amount:

  • Only a “small” reasonable amount of cash can be included in the investment amount and this is designated as working capital.  As such, you cannot just put hundreds of thousands of dollars in an account and expect an approval.
  • Expenditures should generally be money spent in the U.S..
  • You can generally only apply one month of rent/lease amounts that you have spent in your investment amount.
  • Intangible assets can be included in the investment amount as long as you can substantiate the value.
  • Investment amounts that are secured by assets from the business cannot be included in the investment amount.  The amounts must be at risk.
  • You should ensure that you keep records of all of your expenditures as the government will want to see them.

While a low investment amount of $50,000 can be approved, this amount does present difficulties and are risky petitions. This is especially the case if you are applying at a consulate that imposes a stricter standard regarding the investment amounts.  For example, some immigration practitioners and applicants have reported denials from petitions that insist that investment amounts should be over $200,000.  Investments under $50,000 are very difficult petitions to get approved.  I have seen approvals for as low as $35,000 (with USCIS but not ever with a Consulate) but you would have to have a compelling case to get an approval.

Like most Immigration law, the E-2 regulations are complicated and you must demonstrate to immigration officials that you have met all of the legal elements including a substantial investment amount.  In addition, the documentation requirements for an E-2 Visa are quite extensive and a legal brief must be written linking all of the elements of the Statute to your case.

If you are considering an E-2 Visa, contact Scott Legal, P.C..  For more information on this and other immigration Visas click here.  You can also call us at 212-223-2964 or email us at iscott@legalservicesincorporated.com.

Click here for PDF version.

Also, click here for your free White Paper that summarizes the top 10 Immigration Questions and Answers.

 

 

21 Comments

  1. Khalid Mehmood October 9, 2013 7:14 pm

    Please tell me about e2 visa .

    Reply
    • IanScott October 9, 2013 7:15 pm

      Happy to go over the requirements during a consultation. For the general requirements, you can click on the link in the first part of this post. Please email us if you would like to set up a consult. Regards,

      Reply
  2. David Vela August 16, 2015 9:57 pm

    Good morning
    I am looking into apply for e2 visa by from Australia, investing $200k in real estate, buying properties in bad condition, renovate them and sell them
    Would this be considered a suitable investment to obtain an e2 visa?
    I look forward to hearing from you David

    Reply
    • IanScott August 17, 2015 1:48 am

      Thank you for contacting us. Real estate is always difficult as the government often thinks it is passive. Whether it is a “business” or not depends on the facts and circumstances. We worked on a real estate E-2 visa where the applicant owned 40 properties and that was a good number to prove that it was a business rather than a passive investment. Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to further explore this.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  3. Migena Ergun October 16, 2015 5:39 am

    Good morning,

    I live in Turkey but my parents live in USA and they are US citizens. Now I’m under F3 process but it will take min 6 years more to be approved. I want to come next year in USA with E2 visa. I think to invest smth like 75.000$ in a Turkish style restaurant. Do you think I have a chance to take the E2 visa? Can I apply for E2 visa beeing under F3 process?

    thank you

    Reply
  4. Ahmed January 22, 2016 6:33 pm

    Good Morning,
    I am looking to establish a trucking business in the US. I will hire and operate the trucks to major shippers on long term contracts. My question is, can I lease the trucks, for example, an operating lease contract? Would that be considered an investment?

    Kind Regards,

    Reply
  5. Nik April 13, 2016 7:28 am

    Swedish citizen with the intention to set up an internet startup (IT industry business) in US with a funding of approximately $100.000~150.000 available.

    Would there be any other options available which could possible lead to a US citizenship, regardless of the venture outcome?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • IanScott April 13, 2016 1:09 pm

      Thank you for contacting us. You may be eligible for an E-2 visa. Please contact us to set up a consultation and we can assess your case. We look froward to hearing from you.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  6. sheryar khan April 15, 2016 12:22 pm

    I’m from pakistan. And i got b1/b2 visa and i m in usa now i want to settle here by setting up my bussiness. I got 60000$ to 90000$. I just want a small business. So plz contact me i’m waiting for your reply.

    Reply
    • IanScott April 15, 2016 1:42 pm

      Thank you very much for contacting us. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S..

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and we would be happy to send you a link so that we can set up an appointment.

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  7. Mohammad Mizanur Rahman April 30, 2016 8:51 pm

    Hi, I am now in USA with B1B2 vissa. I have permission to stay at USA for 6 months. Now I am willing to start a business in Saipan ( Northern Marianne Island) with my friends who has a corporation business license and he is USA citizen. He wants me to add as a partner. So.. how can I be a partner with him and invest money in saipan. how much money do I need to add with him and change e2 vissa status.

    Reply
    • IanScott May 1, 2016 2:27 pm

      Thank you very much for contacting us and we welcome the opportunity to help you with your legal needs.

      At your earliest convenience, we would be happy to offer you a consultation with one of our lawyers. If after the consultation you decide to hire us to work on your matter and your billing is greater than $2,500, our $250 one hour consultation fee will be waived and the amount will be applied towards your future bill. (As such, the consultation would be free).

      While some legal questions appear straight forward, most do not have a yes or no answer and a proper answer requires a review of the facts and circumstances as well as an application of legal knowledge. Moreover, almost all questions require follow up and additional analysis that is best done during a consultation.

      We look forward to working with you and please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation. For your ease of reference, I have included information below to set up a consultation.

      Please find attached our credit card link to make your $250 consultation payment for a one hour consultation. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Once we receive the payment, we can schedule and confirm your appointment. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/scottlegalservices/operating

      Reply
  8. Beatrice Bianchi Fasani May 27, 2016 12:11 pm

    hello, I am planning on applying for an E2 visa through opening my own law firm (this is actually how i found your website..i was google researching and your story on how you opened your own firm came up!). my h1b application was not selected so the E2 looks to me as the only option i have. However, i am wondering if the fact that i don’t have a degree in Italy (my home country) and that I attended college + law school here in the US, would make it hard for me to prove that i will be coming back to Italy after the investment. Is proving your intent to come back to your home country a requirement for the visa? how long does the E2 visa process take?

    thank you!!

    Reply
  9. Marilia May 31, 2016 2:56 am

    Hello, I am Brazilian and also have Italian citizenship. I would like to know if I am eligible to E2 visa. I Yes, would a persoal stylist / shopper business be an option? I should be able to invest around USD 75k. I wish to live in Orlando, and since you até based in NY I would like to know if that is a problem to work with you.
    Thank you for your reply.

    Reply
  10. Jefferson Janzen September 27, 2016 11:13 pm

    Hello I am planning to apply an E-2 visa, opening a company with 50% mine capital and 50% my partners both German nationally. must we apply separate petitions? Thanks

    Reply
    • IanScott September 28, 2016 1:24 pm

      Hello and thank you very much for contacting us. For two investors who each own 50% you would apply at the same time and we would pull together one binder of supporting documentation but there would be two separate petitions (DS-160 forms) filed. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S.. I have attached our E-2 visa brochure here that describes our services and fees. We can help you with the E-2 visa, your business plan and your business entity set-up.

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and I have attached the link to set up a consultation below.

      https://secure.lawpay.com/pages/scottlegalservices/operating

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Reply
  11. imran othi November 6, 2016 7:37 pm

    Hey,
    I am in USA now i have B1 B2 visa , i want make turcking company and want buy about 3 big turcks, please you tell me can i change the visa stauts in E2.
    Now i am NEW JERSY .Please tell to me how need time for this complete proccces ,
    Thank,s
    With Reagrds,
    Imran Othi

    Reply

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