On occasion I get questions from potential business investors about how much money they are required to invest in order to receive an E-2 visa. First off, we are not talking about the EB-5 immigrant visa which leads to permanent resident status in the US. There is a clear amount for that visa ($1,000,000 or potentially $500,000 if investing in a Targeted Employment Area). What we’re talking about here is the E-2 nonimmigrant visa. The E-2 doesn’t lead to a green card in and of itself the way the EB-5 does. It can, however, be renewed in perpetuity if certain conditions are met. Renewal of the E-2 is for another article though. Back to the question at hand, “How much for an E-2 visa?”
The E-2 visa doesn’t have a clear dollar amount fixed to the investment requirement. The Immigration and Nationality Act states that the investment must be “substantial” but doesn’t give a specific dollar amount. The US State Department, the agency which issues the E-2 visa, says that there is no bright line test to determine if an investment is substantial. It then goes on to say that “The lower the cost of the business the higher a percentage of investment is required.” The State Department uses a sliding scale approach to determine if the investment is substantial enough for an E-2 visa to be issued. They provide an example of a 100% investment in a business valued at $100,000 or less as being substantial and also an investment of $10 million in a $100 million business as being substantial.
Most investors are not putting in $10 million for E-2 visas. Most are probably closer to the $100,000. Anecdotally, we have seen 100% investments in the tens of thousands of dollars range get approved for E-2 visas as well. We have also read of some US consulates requiring more than $100,000 in order to be considered a substantial investment.
There are several factors that go into approving an E-2 visa and the amount of the investment is only one component. An experience immigration attorney should be able to guide you through the various factors and explain the risks associated with investments of less than $100,000. Call (404) 593-0434 to schedule a consultation with attorney Rahim Dhanani.