E2 Investor Visa Minimum Investment Amount
As an immigration lawyer for investors and entrepreneurs, many of my clients are interested in the E2 investor visa.
For this visa, the question that I get asked the most is: What is the E2 Investor Visa Minimum Investment Amount?
In this article, I’ll provide a complete answer to this question.
The short answer is:
- There is no minimum investment amount set by the US government regulations to get an E2 visa.
- The US immigration regulations state that the E2 investment must be substantial.
- To meet this requirement, we typically recommend that your investment should be $100,000 or more;
- While investments for less than this amount can still qualify, your investment should not be less than $50,000.
There are many other factors that should be considered as well, such as:
- The the type of business you are investing in; and
- Whether you are applying for a change of status or applying for an E2 visa at a Consulate abroad;
Now that we’ve discussed the short answer, I’ll explain what this all means in more detail.
1. What is the E2 visa?
2. What is the minimum investment amount for an E2 visa?
3. How do immigration officers determine how much you must invest?
- Proportionality Test
4. What are the other factors that determine how much you should invest?
- Change of Status vs. Visa Processing
5. Other requirements of the E2 visa
What is the E2 Visa?
The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals of certain countries to live and work in the USA by making an investment in a US business.
As an E2 investor, you can start a new business or purchase an existing business.
The E2 visa is typically granted for a period of 5 years and can be renewed as long as the E2 business continues to operate successfully.
With an E2 visa, your spouse and unmarried children under 21years old can also come to the US as your dependents.
What is the E2 Investor Visa Minimum Investment Amount?
The US immigration regulations do not specify a minimum investment amount that must be invested to get an E2 visa.
Instead, the regulations state that the investment must be substantial.
Substantial is the key word for the E2 investor visa.
The exact language used in the US immigration regulation [8 CFR Section 214.2(e)(2)(i)] is that the investor must have “invested or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, as distinct from a relatively small amount of capital in a marginal enterprise solely for the purpose of earning a living;”
Now that you know the rule, lets explore what it means to be a substantial investment.
What is Considered a Substantial Investment?
There is no specific dollar amount that qualifies as a substantial investment.
The Foreign Affairs Manual specifically states: “No set dollar figural constitutes a minimum amount of investment to be considered ‘substantial’ for E-2 visa purposes.” [9 FAM 402.9-6(D)]
Instead, investments are determined to be substantial or not substantial using the proportionality test.
The Proportionality Test
The E2 visa requires you to make a substantial investment because the government wants to make sure that the E2 business will be successful.
In order to ensure the success of your E2 business, the proportionality test is used:
The proportionality test [explained in 9 FAM 402.9-6(D)(c)] compares 2 numbers:
1. the amount of money you actually invest in your E2 business; and
2. the total value of the business;
If you are purchasing an existing business for your E2 visa: the value of the business is the purchase price (the fair market value)
If you are setting up a new business for your E2 visa: the value of the business is the total cost required to bring the business to the point of being operational
To determine if your investment is substantial or not, the immigration officer working on your case will calculate the proportion between how much you actually invested in the business to the total value of the business.
For businesses with a lower value, to be considered substantial, your investment should be a very high percentage of the total value of the business.
For businesses with a very high value, to be considered substantial, your investment may be a lower percentage of the total value of the business.
Unfortunately, there are no exact percentages used to determine what is substantial.
But experience has shown that if the total value of your business is $100,000 or less, your actual investment should be 100% of the value of the business, to be considered substantial.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the total value of your business is very high (for example $10,000,000), making an investment of $5,000,000 would very likely be considered substantial even though proportionately it is only 50% of the total value of the business.
If you have any questions on your particular business, and whether your investment will be considered substantial, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’d be happy to help analyze your investment.
Now, that we’ve discussed the proportionality test, lets look into some other factors important to understand the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount.
What are the Other Factors that Determine how Much You Should Invest?
While the proportionality test is one of the main factors used to determine if your investment is substantial, there are other very important factors to consider as well:
1. Is Your Investment Marginal?
2. Are you applying for a change of status, or are you applying for an E2 visa?
Is Your Investment Marginal?
In addition to your investment being substantial, to get your E2 visa approved your E2 business cannot be marginal.
“A marginal enterprise is an enterprise that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.” [9FAM402.9-6(E)]
To not be considered a marginal enterprise, your business must have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for you and your family.
What does the marginality requirement have to do with the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount?
You may be thinking to yourself, what does the marginality requirement have to do with the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount.
Here’s how the two concepts are related:
If an E2 investment is too low, the immigration official reviewing the case may deny the case by saying that the business does not have the ability to generate enough income to provide more than minimal living for you and your family.
Your E2 petition would likely then be denied for being a marginal enterprise.
What is the minimum amount I should Invest for my E2 visa to not be considered marginal?
There is no minimum amount you should invest, but the higher your investment, the stronger your chances are of proving that your investment is substantial and that your business is not a marginal enterprise.
The immigration official reviewing your case will look at all of the circumstances surrounding your case.
There is no one single factor that will guarantee that your investment will be considered substantial and that your business will not be considered a marginal enterprise.
With that said, in our experience, an investment of $100,000 or more has a good chance of qualifying for an E2 visa.
At my law firm, if you are applying for an E2 visa, we typically recommend that you invest at least $100,000 to give you a strong chance of getting the E2 application approved.
In addition to investing at least $100,000, you should make sure that your business is not considered a marginal enterprise by making sure that your business fits into one of the three categories below.
Three ways to prove that your business is not a marginal enterprise:
1. Showing that your business currently earns more than enough income to provide a minimal living for you and your family; or
2. Showing that your business will earn more than enough income to provide a minimal living for you and your family; or
- You can show by submitting a business plan with your E2 petition, showing your income projections for the future;
3. Showing that your business provides a “significant economic contribution.”
- You can prove this by showing that your business employs US workers
- There is no minimum amount of workers that you must hire.
- The more workers you hire, the stronger the chance that your business will not be considered a marginal enterprise.
Now that we’ve discussed the “substantial investment” requirement and the “marginal enterprise” requirement of the E2 visa, lets look at one more factor that affects the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount.
Are You Applying for an E2 Visa or Change of Status?
When you apply for an E2 visa, you have two main options for how to apply:
1. You can apply for an E2 visa; or
2. You can apply for a change of status to E2 status
For more information on the differences between these two options, you can read more on our main E2 visa page.
The main differences are:
1. To get an E2 visa, you will have to apply at a US Consulate abroad; this is called consular processing;
2. To do a change of status, your E2 petition will be filed with USCIS; this process can all be done in the United States;
3. By doing a change of status to E2, you are given E2 status (not an E2 visa);
Once you leave the US, you no longer have your E2 status
4. To do a change of status, you must currently be in the United States in legal status;
What does this have to do with the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount?
- If you are doing a change of status, your application is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- If you are applying for an E2 visa, you will be applying at a US Consulate abroad (most likely you will be applying at the US Consulate of your home country)
- Some US Consulates are very harsh on E2 visa petitions and deny cases for not having high enough investments.
- Unfortunately, at some US Embassies, there is a very strict approach taken on E2 visas, and the investment must be very high to get approved.
- It is very possible for an E2 investor to get denied for an E2 visa at the US Consulate of their home country and then get approved in the US by doing a change of status.
- For these reasons, the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount depends on whether you are doing a change of status or applying for an E2 visa.
- If you are doing a change of status, you may be able to get approved with a lower investment amount than if you were to apply for an E2 visa abroad.
The E2 Visa Requirements
Now that we’ve discussed the factors involved in figuring out the minimum investment amount to get an E2 visa, lets discuss the other requirements to get an E2 visa.
There are 8 main requirements to get an E2 visa:
1. You must be a national of a county with an E2 treaty with the United States;
2. You must make a substantial investment in a US company;
3. You must have the intent to depart the US once your E2 status ends;
4. Your E2 business enterprise cannot be marginal;
5. Your E2 business must be a bona-fide business;
6. Your E2 investment capital must have been lawfully earned/received;
7. You must be coming to the US to direct and develop the E2 business;
8. Your investment funds must be at-risk and irrevocably committed to the E2 business;
The E2 investor visa is a great way for investors and entrepreneurs to live and work in the United States by investing in a US business.
There is no set minimum investment amount to get approved for the E2 investor visa.
That said, experience has shown that you should aim to invest $100,000 or more to qualify for an E2 visa.
If you can’t invest at least $100,000, you should not invest less than $50,000.
There are three main factors that affect the E2 investor visa minimum investment amount:
1. The investment must be substantial based on the proportionality test;
2. The E2 business cannot be a marginal enterprise; and
3. The minimum investment amount can be higher or lower depending on whether you apply for an E2 visa at a US Consulate abroad or apply for a Change of Status through USCIS.
Thanks for reading and I hope to have provided you with a lot of useful information!
If you have any questions regarding anything we talked about, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I would be happy to answer your questions!
Ashoori Law is a full-service immigration law firm focused on helping business professionals and entrepreneurs get visas to the United States.
Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.