E-2 Visa: How Much Do I Need to Invest?

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows entrepreneurs and investors from certain countries to start or purchase a business in the United States. This visa is popular among foreign investors because it provides a pathway to live and work in the US with their family for up to five years, and it can be renewed indefinitely. However, to be eligible for an E-2 visa, there are several requirements that must be met, including the minimum investment requirement. 

The minimum investment required for an E-2 visa varies depending on the business. The US government does not provide a specific amount for the minimum investment, but it is generally understood that the investment must be “substantial.” The term “substantial” is subjective and open to interpretation, but it generally means that the investment should be large enough to ensure the success of the business and create jobs for US workers. 

To determine whether an investment is substantial, the US government uses what is known as the proportionality test. This test compares the amount of the investment to the total cost of purchasing or starting the business. The investment should represent a significant portion of the overall cost, ideally at least 50 percent or more. However, there is no set percentage that will ensure approval of an E-2 visa application. 

The US government also requires that the investment be at risk, which means that the investor must be committed to the success of the business and cannot have a guaranteed return on their investment. This requirement ensures that the investor is motivated to work hard and make the business successful, rather than just using it as a way to obtain a visa. 

In addition to the investment, the investor must also show that they have control of the business and that it is a legitimate enterprise. This means that the business must be actively engaged in commercial activities and must not be a passive investment, such as a real estate investment. The investor must also demonstrate that they have the skills and experience necessary to run the business. 

The minimum investment required for an E-2 visa can range from $40,000 to several million dollars, depending on the industry and the location of the business. For example, a small retail store may require a lower investment than a manufacturing plant or a technology startup. Additionally, the minimum investment required may be lower for businesses located in economically depressed areas, such as rural or high unemployment areas. 

In summary, the E-2 visa provides a great opportunity for foreign investors to start or purchase a business in the US and live and work in the country with their family. However, the minimum investment required for an E-2 visa can vary widely depending on the business and the location, and it must be “substantial” and at risk. It is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that your investment meets the requirements and increases your chances of obtaining an E-2 visa. 

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