What is the Minimum E2 Visa Investment Amount for Your Business
What is the minimum E2 visa investment amount required? The answer, I’m afraid, is there is no minimum E2 visa investment amount. However, if you’re considering investing in the US in order to get an E2 visa, read on to determine an investment amount that makes sense for you and has a high likelihood of approval.
The FAM (the guide for the US consular officers who are adjudicating the E2 visas) mandates that the E2 visa investment amount must be “substantial.” To figure substantiality, the officers need to answer these questions in the affirmative:
- Is the invested amount “sufficient to ensure the … investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation” of the business; and
- Is the invested amount enough to “support the likelihood that the … investor will successfully develop and direct” the business?
Looking at question number one, we can see that a small investment amount will not work. Yes, I’m talking to you, investor who is starting a service-based business and wants to invest $10,000. It’s not going to be approved. Ever. The officer wants to see that you are financially committed to this business. They will not view a $10,000 investment (or even a $30,000 investment) as enough to make sure that you are going to come to a different country (in many times a different continent) and be fully committed to a business.
In other words, if you are spending less for a new life and a new business in the US than you would for a used Toyota, it’s not a substantial investment. Period.
The officer also must feel positive that your investment will ensure the business’s success. Put yourself in the officer’s shoes. Would you look at the amount invested and feel confident that this is enough to get a successful business off the ground?
In addition to the two questions listed above, the officers are required to review the investment using a “proportionality test.” This test is described in the FAM as a “sort of inverted sliding scale. The lower the cost of the business the higher a percentage of investment is required.”
In the case of an investor buying an existing business from another owner, the cost of the business will typically be the purchase price, as long as that price is reasonably related to the fair market value. So, don’t think that your cousin will sell you a car dealership in Manhattan for $50,000 and it will be approved. It won’t.
If you wish to start your own business, the cost of the business is determined to be the amount that is needed to get the business to the “point of being operational.” This means that the officer wants to know that you have invested enough so that, upon E2 visa approval, you can come to the US and begin working in the business immediately. No additional costs or investments need to be made in order to open the business.
So, as you may imagine, the nature of your business and the location of the business will make a huge difference in this proportionality test. The following is the information you should prepare and send to your E2 lawyer to review in order to determine the E2 visa investment amount needed for your business:
- The asking price of the business (if you are buying an existing business)
- The city and state of the proposed business (if you are starting a new business)
- Do you need inventory in order to run your business?
- What is the cost to you for the inventory you need to run the business?
- If you don’t need inventory, what do you need?
- Office furniture?
- Legal assistance (aside from the visa)?
- Intellectual property?
- Anything else?
- What is the approximate cost of the things you need aside from inventory?
With this information, you will have a good idea of what the costs will be to start your business – and how you can show that the investment amount answers the officer’s questions:
- Did this person invest an amount that is proportionately appropriate for his/her business?
- Did this person invest an amount that shows financial commitment to the business?
- Did this person invest an amount that ensures that the business will be successful?
If the officer reviewing your case can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you’ve invested a substantial E2 visa investment amount!
It would be a pleasure to review your list and determine the right E2 visa investment amount for your business. Shoot me an email, and let’s discuss. Arupert@rupertlawgroup.com