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How much do I need to invest for an E-2 visa?

E-2 Cost and Investment Amount

The E-2 visa allows individuals or companies of certain nationalities to invest in a U.S. enterprise and qualify for an E-2 visa. Since the requirements are broad, the E-2 tends to be overlooked and underutilized. In this article, we’ll dispel the mystery behind the E-2 so you can take advantage of this unique opportunity to live and work in the U.S., or hire certain foreign workers.

E-2 Visa Requirements & Overview

  • Individuals can qualify for an E-2 visa if they satisfy the following requirements:
  • They must be national of an E-2 treaty country
  • The U.S. business must be at least 50% owned by individuals from the same E-2 treaty country. If the U.S. investment is made by a company, the company must be owned 50% or more by treaty nationals.
  • They or their company must invest (or be actively involved in investing) a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. What is substantial depends on the capital required to launch the particular business, and we will explore this topic more below.
  • The first E-2 visa issued for a U.S. company must be for someone with an owner, executive, manager, or essential worker role. After the first E-2, additional workers can qualify if they are from the same country. Also, keep in mind that the first E-2 application must include registration at a U.S. embassy.

In general, an individual or corporate investor should be prepared to provide the following documentation in the E-2 visa application:

  • Evidence that they have relevant experience related to their proposed role at the E-2 business.
  • Evidence that their investment is legal. Often this includes documentation of every account and entity through which the funds passed.
  • Evidence that the U.S. company will use the investment funds to grow the business. This can include proof of the business’s operations in the U.S., such as client contracts, job postings, employment records, or lease agreements for a U.S. office.
  • A comprehensive business plan for the U.S. company.
  • Additional evidence as determined by their immigration lawyer.

Examples of E-2 Visa Holders

 

Daniel is an entrepreneur from the United Kingdom. Daniel attended a U.S. accelerator program while in the U.S. on ESTA. Now he needs a work visa to continue to grow his new company. Daniel considered the O-1 visa, but determined it wasn’t the best visa for his family members since it does not provide work authorization for spouses. Since the E-2 will allow his spouse to work in the U.S. and Daniel was already planning to invest in his company, it seems like the perfect fit. Daniel meets the first two requirements because he is a national of an E-2 treaty country (the U.K.) and owns more than 50% of the company. He can satisfy the third requirement with a substantial investment in the U.S. company.

Lia is a business executive from Israel. A few years ago, some of her former colleagues (who are Israeli citizens) moved to the U.S. to start a new company. Now they’ve offered her a job at the U.S. entity. Since Lia is a national of an E-2 treaty country (Israel) and Israeli nationals own more than 50% of the company, she can qualify for the E-2 either as an investor with a substantial investment in the company or as an employee as a manager, executive or essential worker.

E-2 Investment Amount: What is a Substantial Investment?

There is no minimum investment amount for the E-2 visa, but that does not mean a small investment will lead to an E-2 approval. Some E-2 applicants have been successful with an investment as low as $80-100k USD, but many E-2 investments are higher.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that an E-2 investment must 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
  • 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, proportionally, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
  • E2 investments cannot be marginal, the investment must generate more income than what is necessary to support an individual E2 investor. In other words, the investment must be substantial based on the type of business. For instance, an investment in a small consulting firm would likely be less than an investment in a medical research center because of the differences in operating costs.

The best way to determine the minimum E-2 visa investment for your business is to get legal advice from an experienced immigration attorney. Get expert help on your E-2 visa today.

Other Costs for the E-2 Visa

In addition to your investment, there are some other costs you may incur throughout the E-2 application process, including:

  • DS-160 fee: $160. This fee must be paid before you attend your visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
  • Consular filing fees: Varies. These fees apply to individuals who file an E-2 visa from outside the U.S. Each consulate charges a different fee for an E-2 visa. For example, someone filing an E-2 from Australia pays $3,574.00 while someone from Germany pays $0.00.
  • USCIS filing fees: $460 for visas filed from inside the U.S. An additional $2500 for visas filed inside the U.S. with premium processing. However, most immigration attorneys advise against filing an E-2 through USCIS. Individuals who apply at a consulate or embassy—rather than through USCIS—tend to obtain lengthier validity dates. In addition, they avoid needing to apply twice, since even those who apply through USCIS still have to go to an embassy or consulate later.
  • Attorney fees: Varies. As you consult various immigration service providers, consider the cost and what is included. Contact Legalpad to learn about our full-service immigration packages for E-2s and other visas.
  • Travel costs: Varies. You will need to travel to a U.S. consulate or embassy to get your visa stamp and then travel to the U.S. Consider the cost of travel.

Can My E-2 Investment Cover Immigration Costs?

In many situations, part of your investment can be used to pay for your E-2 visa. For example, if you invested $200k in your startup before applying for the E-2, your company could use some of your investment to cover your visa costs. Before you attempt to use your investment for immigration costs, consult with your immigration attorney.

Benefits of the E-2 Visa

The E-2 is one of the most flexible and advantageous U.S. work visas. Some of the benefits of the E-2 include:

  • Live and work in the U.S. for two to five years initially, and extend your status indefinitely.
  • Allow your spouse to live and work in the U.S.—work authorization for spouses is not included with all work visas, so this may be a considerable advantage if you have a spouse who wants to work in the U.S.
  • Bring any children under 21 with you to live and attend school in the U.S.
  • Work for any U.S. business you want to invest in, as long as you and the business meet E-2 qualifications.
  • Avoid strict requirements associated with other visas, such as minimum wage requirements and degree requirements.
  • Explore the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Still wondering if you qualify for the E-2? The only way to answer this question for your unique case is to consult with a U.S. immigration team with a track record of success with the E-2 investor visa. Tell us a little about your background, and we’ll reach out to set up a free consultation.

 

About the author:

Annie Blay

Content Marketing Specialist

Before joining the marketing team, Annie helped over 60 Legalpad clients navigate U.S. immigration on the client services team.