When it comes to the E-2 Visa, the million-dollar question is how much capital applicants should invest. Primarily since the investment guidelines for this visa category does not set an amount the U.S. Government will consider sufficient. In the past, investments as low as $25,000 have qualified, which makes it hard to understand why more substantial investments are often not enough. It is a problem of perspective. It is not about the money – it is about the business. Read on to learn all you need to know about fulfilling the investment requirement of the E-2 Visa.

The E-2 Visa is an enticing gateway to establishing a business in the United States, but one of the most perplexing questions applicants faces is: how much should they invest? Unlike many visa categories with clearly defined investment thresholds, the E-2 Visa program operates on a case-by-case basis. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the business itself. This article will guide you through the intricacies of meeting the E-2 Visa investment requirement.

Defining “Substantial”

The cornerstone of the E-2 Visa program is that there’s no predefined minimum investment amount. Instead, eligibility hinges on a case-specific evaluation. Every business is unique, and therefore, each business has different financial needs. What’s considered a sufficient investment depends on two primary factors:

  1. The Nature of Your Business: If you plan to launch a new business in the United States, your E-2 investment must cover all expenses necessary to ensure the business’s successful operation, from establishing its presence in the market to becoming an operational entity within a reasonable timeframe.
  2. Purchasing an Existing Business: When buying an existing business, investing an amount equal to the fair market value is more likely to be considered substantial. However, the nature and prospects of the company play a crucial role in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluation.

The Challenge of Low Start-up Amounts

While some businesses require lower initial investments, when it comes to the E-2 Visa, minimal start-up expenses can diminish your chances of approval. The key distinction is that only actual expenses related to the E-2 business are counted towards the investment.

Starting a business on a shoestring budget might work for many entrepreneurs but could prove insufficient for foreign investors seeking an E-2 visa. Smaller investments can be more challenging to prove as adequate to ensure the business becomes operational and provides employment for U.S. workers. In this context, a more substantial investment increases the likelihood of securing the E-2 Visa. Consider these strategies:

  1. Assemble a Strong Team: Early involvement of employees and co-founders can help meet the substantiality requirement.
  2. Prepay Expenses: Paying lease fees and suppliers upfront can demonstrate a substantial financial commitment.
  3. Include Intellectual Property: Incorporating intellectual property assets in your investment amount can bolster your case.

USCIS’s Ultimate Evaluation

The United States Consular officers and USCIS maintain significant discretion in the approval or denial of E-2 Visas. Some consulates may be more stringent in assessing the substantiality of an investment. While instances exist where investors were granted E-2 Visas with investments as low as $25,000, it’s important to acknowledge that the U.S. government ultimately decides if your investment meets the requirements.

However, don’t be disheartened. There are steps you can take to enhance your prospects of meeting the E-2 Visa investment requirement. The first and most crucial step is to engage an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the complex application process.

Jurado & Associates, P.A. is here to support you. Contact us today at (305) 921-0976 or reach out via email to [email protected] or WhatsApp at +1 (305) 921-0976 to learn more about our services and schedule an initial consultation with one of our E-2 Visa experts.