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E-2 Visa Investment Requirements: Domestic vs. Foreign Expenditures

By May 23, 2024E-2 Visa
Foreign investment and an entrepreneur

Understanding the geographical requirements for investments under the E-2 visa can be crucial for entrepreneurs aiming to establish or expand their business in the U.S. While the flexibility of the E-2 visa is one of its most attractive features, knowing where your investment dollars should be spent can significantly impact the approval process.

Geographical Considerations for E-2 Visa Investments

The E-2 treaty investor visa requires that a “substantial” amount of capital be invested in a U.S. business. While some components of the investment can originate from outside the U.S., the majority of the investment should typically be made within the United States.

  1. Foreign Affairs Manual Guidance According to the Foreign Affairs Manual, which guides consular officers in adjudicating E-2 visa applications, items purchased or costs incurred outside of the U.S. can still count towards the investment. For instance, machinery or inventory purchased overseas and shipped to the U.S. can be included in the total investment calculation.
  2. Consular Preferences Despite the allowances mentioned in the manual, in practice, consular officers often prefer seeing the bulk of the investment made domestically. This preference helps to ensure that the investment directly benefits the U.S. economy, which is a core intent of the E-2 visa program.

Best Practices for E-2 Visa Applicants

Given the scrutiny that foreign investments can attract, it is generally recommended that at least 80% of the investment be made in the United States. This approach not only aligns with consular expectations but also minimizes the risk of complications during the visa application process. This is just an estimate and there is no set rule on this.

Strategic Investment Planning

Applicants should carefully plan their investment to ensure that it meets both the letter and spirit of the law. This involves structuring the investment to highlight its impact on the U.S. economy and its role in the success of the business. Ensuring that significant expenditures, such as leasing property, buying equipment, and hiring staff, are made within the U.S. can strengthen the application.

For entrepreneurs seeking an E-2 visa, aligning your investment with consular expectations is key. To navigate these requirements successfully, consider utilizing our resources or scheduling a consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys.

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