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E-2 Visa Minimum Investment: Invest, start, or buy a business

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the E-2 visa minimum investment amount and the different ways you can meet the investment requirement, whether you’re investing in an existing business, starting a business, or buying a business.
Woman working on laptop.

While there isn’t a minimum investment amount for the E-2 visa, there are certain requirements you need to meet. Whether you’re looking to invest in an existing business, start a new venture, or buy an established business, proving your investment is essential.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the E-2 visa minimum investment amount and the ways you can meet the E2 visa requirements through investing, starting, or buying a business.

What is an E2 visa?

Business woman smiling at the camera

The E2 visa, also known as the “treaty investor visa”, allows people of certain countries to stay in the U.S. if they invest a substantial amount of money in a business. The E2 visa requirements are quite broad, making it a flexible option for foreign investors and entrepreneurs looking to move to the U.S.

Before considering the E2 visa, it’s important to ensure that you’re a citizen of one of the E-2 treaty countries. Not all countries have the right treaties in place, so it’s crucial you check your E2 visa eligibility first! 

Now, let’s dive into the details about the E2 visa requirements for the investment you’ll need to make.

What is the E-2 visa minimum investment?

Hundred dollar bill.

One of the most common questions people have about the E2 visa is: 

“How much money do I need to invest?”

Seems like there would be a straightforward answer, but there isn’t. The government doesn’t actually quantify the E-2 visa minimum investment, so there isn’t an official number. 

However, generally the investment should be at least $100,000 or more

Now, USCIS does define what is considered to be an investment, or “substantial capital” for this E2 visa requirement. 

When we talk about “substantial capital,” we’re basically looking at an amount of money that is:

  • Significant in relation to the overall cost of either buying an existing business or setting up a new one
  • Substantial enough to prove that you’re seriously committed to making the business thrive
  • Supportive of growing the business, ensuring that it will succeed, and positively impacting the U.S. economy

Ultimately, your E2 visa investment amount needs to be significant enough to make an impact on the U.S. economy and create some jobs. 

Manifest Tip: If the business costs less, the E2 visa investment amount, in proportion, needs to be higher to be considered “substantial.”

Different ways to meet the E-2 visa investment requirement 

Investing in an existing business

Colleagues discussing documents in the office

Investing in an existing business is one way to meet the E2 visa minimum investment. The key here is showing that your investment is substantial and will contribute to the growth of the business.

The existing business you plan to invest in must be an active, operating, for-profit business. Unfortunately, you can’t invest in a non-profit to meet the E2 visa requirements.

Manifest Tip: You must be investing in an active business. Passive investments like real estate investments typically don’t qualify for the E2 visa.

Now, you may be wondering how much money you need to invest in the existing business in order to qualify. As we mentioned previously, there is no official E-2 visa minimum investment amount. However, USCIS will compare how much money you invested in relation to the business type, size, and industry standards.

Consider a $100,000 investment for a startup, which may be substantial if it covers the entire business cost. Now consider a $10 million investment in a $100 million business. This would likely meet the E2 minimum investment amount with its high dollar value – even if it represents only a portion of the total cost.

Starting a business

Business woman working with files on laptop

Whether you’re already a business owner in your home country, or an aspiring entrepreneur, starting a business in the U.S. is another way to meet the E2 visa minimum investment.

With your E2 visa application, you will need to develop and submit a detailed business plan, clearly outlining your business. It should also detail how your investment amount will contribute to the success of the business. You should specify if you plan to start a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. One of the E2 visa requirements is that the business has a legal structure in place.

To meet the E2 visa requirements, you need to show that your business can produce more than enough income to support you and your immediate family, and contribute to the U.S. economy. The main thing USCIS is looking for here is that your business will create opportunities for others in the U.S. More specifically, you need to prove that you can grow the business within five years to support additional employees.

Manifest Tip: When you first get approved for an E2 visa, you can stay in the U.S. for up to two years. If you want to stay longer, you’ll need to renew your visa and continue meeting the E2 visa requirements.

Buying a business

Two businessmen shaking hands and smiling

If you aren’t looking to invest in an existing business, and you don’t want to take on the risk of starting one, buying an existing business is a popular option for the E2 visa.

One advantage of buying an existing business is that you can very easily calculate the E2 minimum investment amount. Simply put, it’s the purchase price of the business.

For example, say you want to buy a landscaping company that is $200,000. The E2 investment amount would be $200,000 – perhaps more if you include additional costs such as legal fees and insurance.

Another advantage of buying an existing business, is that the purchase of the business can be contingent on whether you actually get approval for the E2 visa. For the example above, you could place the $200,000 in an escrow account, in which the funds would be wired to the seller after the E2 visa has been approved. 

Not only does this approach meet the E2 visa requirements, it can also be lower risk compared to starting a new business. Launching a new venture requires you to invest the amount of money before applying for the E2 visa.

How to find businesses for sale

So, perhaps that last option for meeting the E2 minimum investment got your attention. You may be wondering, “How do I find businesses for sale?”

There are a couple places you look for buying a business, such as:

  1. Business brokerage websites: These are dedicated platforms where you can find businesses for sale. Check out BizBuySell, Loopnet, BusinessBroker, and BusinessesForSale.
  2. Online marketplaces: Flippa, Empire Flippers, Acquire
  3. Franchise websites: Franchise websites like Franchise Direct can help you find established franchises for sale.
  4. Business brokers: Connecting with business brokers who help sell businesses is another way to find businesses for sale. They also may have knowledge of unlisted business

Need help finding a business for sale? Manifest Law has a network of brokers and business owners looking to raise capital from outside investors. We will be happy to make some introductions for you!

Additional E2 visa requirements

Business plan

Woman is yellow sweater working on laptop

Let’s start with the E2 visa business plan you will need to include with your application. A comprehensive business plan should include the following:

  • Details the nature of your business and its legal structure
  • Explains how your investment will help grow the business
  • Outlines how the business will contribute to the U.S. economy

We highly recommend working with a professional or an experienced E2 visa lawyer to prepare your E2 visa business plan. Manifest Law can help you craft a business plan specifically for the E-2 visa!

Job creation

"For hire" sign.

One of the main E2 visa requirements for your investment is job creation. While there isn’t a specific number of jobs required, the more you could show, the better! You need to at least show that your business will be able to support additional employees – not just you and your family. 

For your E2 visa application, providing a detailed plan that projects how many employees you plan to support and hire in the next five years can be helpful.

Remember: When you decide to renew your E2 visa, you will need to show concrete proof that your investment helped create jobs.

Source of funds

Person holding 100 dollar bills

USCIS will ask about the source of the money you use for your E2 visa investment. Whether it’s your personal savings, a generous gift from a relative, or even a commercial loan, the key here is showing that the money is yours and it’s coming from a legitimate source.

It’s worth noting that the funds don’t have to come from outside the U.S. However, they must be from legal sources, as any association with illegal activities is absolutely prohibited.

Evidence of your E-2 visa minimum investment amount

When applying for an E-2 visa, it’s important to give solid evidence of the funds you plan to invest. The goal is to show that the funds are legitimate, readily available, and committed to the business.

Here’s a list of some evidence you can submit to prove your funds for the E-2 visa:

  • Financial statements
  • Bank statements
  • Inheritance documents
  • Gift letter
  • Loan agreement
  • Investment contracts
  • Documentation of sale or ownership of a business
  • Escrow documents
  • Pay records
  • Bank transfer records
  • Stock purchase agreement

Remember, USCIS is looking for clear and trustworthy documents that trace your funds to a legitimate source.

How Manifest Law can help

Hiring an E2 visa lawyer can help ensure you submit all of the required documents for your E2 visa case.

Here at Manifest Law, we only work with experienced E2 visa lawyers. We offer flexible payment plans stretching up to 6 months and a visa-approved or money-back guarantee (terms apply). If you aren’t sure if you meet the E2 visa requirements, check out our E2 visa guide. You can also speak with our team directly, and get started with a free visa strategy session.

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