The E2 Visa: Investment Requirements

Depending on your financials, the E2 Visa offers many immigrants entry into the US every year. This is the business visa or the foreign treaty investor visa. There are many perks to the E2 visa, including its’ straightforward application and processes.

What is the E2 Visa

The E2 visa was created for those investing in US businesses or startups. But, these applicants intend to live in the US while managing their investment. Such visa holders are also called treaty investors.

E2 Visa Eligibility

An applicant for the E2 Visa must show the following for approval:

  1. be a national of a country that the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. The U.S. Department of State maintains an updated list of qualifying countries, here.
  2. have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States.
  3. be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. You can establish this by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or some other corporate device.

The rules as listed above seem rather straightforward but there is more to understand if this is the route you intend to go. What is a significant amount of capital? What does a bona fide enterprise mean? Our Guide to the E2 Visa Requirements and Application is for those seeking additional information specific to the E2 Visa and its particular requirements.

The E2 Visa Petition Process

As an E2 visa applicant, treaty investors may petition for a visa on their own behalf. If you are not the sole owner of the enterprise or organization, an E2 employee must have the same country of citizenship as the employer. To stay in the US, the visa holder has to remain essential to the business. This a managerial or supervisory capacity, usually. There are a few exceptions to a manager role. Staying essential is key. A treaty investor may come into the US on any non-immigrant visa, and, when in the US, file a request to change status to an E2 visa.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”) website has all the details and descriptions of this process.

Investment Amount for an Existing Business

When an investor applying for an E-2 visa based on the purchase of an existing business, the investment amount is the business purchase price. Financing can be an option in some cases. The amount of financing allowed is at the discretion of the adjudicating Consular Officer.

Visa regulations are not specific. However, a rough guideline is that financing should not be more than 25-30% of the total purchase price for an investment of between $100,000 and $500,000. This amount refers to financing secured by the business assets.

The greater the purchase price of the business, the greater the percentage of secured financing permitted. For example, for a motel business that costs $1 million, around 50% financing would probably be acceptable.

Investment Amount for a New Business

When an investor is developing a new business, the investment amount is the amount of capital necessary to establish the new business to the point of being operational. The costs involved in developing a new business are as varied as there are different types of business.

From the perspective of an E2 applicant, there are drawbacks to starting the new business. One can’t file until certain business expenses are done. Simply depositing funds in a business account is insufficient. This will not demonstrate that funds have been adequately and irrevocably committed to the business.

A new restaurant needs a lease, equipment, furnishings, etc. A lawn care company needs a vehicle and lawn care supplies. Filing is stopped until these purchases are made.

How Do I Figure Out the Right Dollar Amount?

There are charts and graphs all over the internet trying to perfectly explain the investment required. But, this isn’t a simple calculation, as noted above. Figuring out the total necessary is hard. Making sure you are not wasting your own time and money is our concern.

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