One of the primary requirements to qualify for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa is to invest a “substantial amount of capital” in a US-based enterprise. While many foreign investors use the required amount to form a company from scratch, it is also possible to purchase an existing business.
In this article, you will discover how to buy a business in Florida to obtain an E-2 visa.
How to Buy a Business in Florida to Obtain the E2 Visa – The Fundamentals
The basic criteria used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine the applicant’s eligibility for E-2 classification:
- The application must be a national of a treaty country, and
- The investment of a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US enterprise
Additionally, the applicant must demonstrate that his or her entry to the United States is solely focused on developing and directing the investment enterprise, which can be established by showing:
- At least 50% ownership in the proposed enterprise, or
- Possession of control of the business operation through a leadership role
Passive investment does not meet the USCIS requirements, as the investor’s capital must be placed “at risk” in a commercial enterprise to generate profit. Please note that the E-2 classification is restricted to nationals of specific countries. The term “treaty country” refers to countries:
- With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation,
- With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or
- Which have been deemed qualifying countries by legislation
This is an excellent idea for investors seeking to actively work in their E-2 businesses, especially those willing to take a company’s operations to the next level.
What is a Substantial Amount of Capital? – Understanding USCIS Requirements
The USCIS has no fixed cap on the minimum amount of investment required for E-2 classification. The criteria used to define what a “substantial” amount is can be fairly subjective, as USCIS requires the amount to be:
- “Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
- Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise, and
- Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial”
Applicants seeking to purchase an existing business must pay attention to this aspect. While purchasing certain companies might contribute to immediate approval, other cases often require a significant increase in the investment
For example, let’s say an E-2 applicant wants to invest $80,000 to buy a company in Florida. Depending on the business’s segment and location, the applicant will likely have to raise the amount invested.
On the other hand, if an applicant has a solid offer to purchase an existing Florida business for $170,000 with all equipment/inventory included in the transaction, USCIS will probably not require an additional investment.