November 19, 2018
E-2 Visa Minimum Investment Requirements
An E-2 treaty investor visa (E-2 Visa) allows entrance into the United States for entrepreneurs from other countries seeking to invest in expanding a current business or creating a new startup. U.S. law requires foreign entrepreneurs to invest a “substantial amount of capital” in their business enterprise to qualify for the v
An E-2 treaty investor visa (E-2 Visa) allows entrance into the United States for entrepreneurs from other countries seeking to invest in expanding a current business or creating a new startup. U.S. law requires foreign entrepreneurs to invest a “substantial amount of capital” in their business enterprise to qualify for the visa. The concept of “substantial capital” is hard to define, which causes many prospective investors to have difficulty understanding the E-2 Visa minimum investment requirements.
Regulations do not specify an actual dollar amount for a minimum investment. But, generally speaking, entrepreneurs should not expect to obtain an E-2 Visa for less than $50,000 to $150,000.
E-2 Visa Minimum Investment Guidelines
There are many factors consular officers use to determine whether an investment is “substantial” and what the E-2 minimum investment is for each individual entrepreneur. The factors considered include the following:
- Overall cost of the business;
- Type of business; and
- Likelihood of success of the business.
To obtain an E-2 Visa, applicants must prove that they have put their own capital on the line and that the money invested is at risk. Simply depositing money into an account does not constitute an investment. The capital invested must be put into use for business operations such as buying equipment, stocking shelves, leasing premises, or buying office supplies.
Proportionality Test Determines Whether Capital Investment is Substantial
Consular officers apply a proportionality test to determine whether the investment is substantial or not. They compare the amount of the initial investment to the total expenditure needed to purchase an existing business or establish a new enterprise. Therefore, the E-2 investment requirement will vary depending on the total cost of the investment.
For example, the capital required for a consulting firm will be significantly lower than capital required to open a restaurant. This means that the E-2 Visa minimum investment that would qualify as substantial in the consulting firm will ultimately be less than the money needed for the restaurant.
Higher Proportion of Capital Required for Low-Cost Businesses
While the up-front cost of a service-oriented business such as the consulting firm may be lower, the percentage of capital needed to qualify as substantial will be proportionally higher than the money invested in a high cost company.
Going back to the example of our consulting firm and a restaurant; if $70,000 is needed to operate the consulting firm, the consular officer would expect the E-2 Visa seeker to invest almost all, if not 100%, of the $70,000 in the consulting firm. In the case of a restaurant with a start-up amount of $200,000, the investment of $120,000 or only 60 percent of the total amount would satisfy the E-2 minimum investment requirement.
Likelihood of Success Can Determine the E-2 Visa Minimum Investment Amount
Finally, the E-2 minimum investment must be enough to ensure the likelihood of success of the business enterprise under the investor’s management. Entrepreneurs must show that they are dedicated to the growth and success of the enterprise. This condition can be established by providing a well-drafted business plan, reflecting the company’s projected growth and profit in the upcoming years.
Help Understanding E-2 Visa Investment Requirement
United States immigration regulations are confusing and complicated. To be successful in obtaining an E-2 Visa, prospective investors must meet all legal guidelines, including the E-2 minimum investment requirements. Demonstrating the existence of an investment strategy and business plan based on an entrepreneur’s respective business sector is crucial.
In order to get the best result from immigration officials regarding your E-2 Visa minimum investment requirement, you need an experience immigration attorney to help create a compelling and comprehensive business plan. Fran Prewitt of Prewitt Law Firm is that attorney. She understands the challenges facing foreign business owner in the United States and will help you understand all the complexities of the immigration process. Contact Prewitt Law Firm online or call (+1) 646.583.1206 to get started today.