Many investors and business people set their sights on expanding or opening an enterprise in the United States but quickly find that an E2 visa* is required to do so. Unfortunately, the investor visa isn’t available to everyone, and the investment amount reads somewhat vague. Below you’ll find information regarding the requirements for the visa, what types of businesses are permitted under it, and the E2 visa minimum investment explained in more detail.
The E2 Visa Requirements
Before discussing the amount required to gain an E2 visa, it’s important to outline the requirements so that you’re prepared for the process. The most important requirement is the investor must be a citizen of a country where the United States has a treaty of navigation and commerce. You will be asked to prove you’re a citizen of such a county by providing a current passport from a nation that holds treaty investor status.
Beyond the citizenship requirement, there are other criteria that determine eligibility:
- Must be coming to the United States to direct or develop a company by investing enough to be considered a principal investor.
- The investment made isn’t solely for the investor to live off of, meaning that the business cannot exist solely for the investor to afford to live in the U.S.
- The company must be legitimate and operate as such, meaning the business must offer tangible goods or services.
- A substantial investment must be made in the business, this is tied to the first requirement. We’ll discuss the amount an investment should be in more detail in a later section of this article.
To read more about the requirements of the E2 visa, we strongly encourage you to read this article as it will provide greater details regarding the criteria investors must fulfill:
Investor Visa Business Eligibility
Part of the eligibility for an E2 visa is outlining the business you plan on providing investment for or opening yourself. The companies that can be established or invested in are any that are legitimate and lawful with the intention of hiring U.S. citizens to work for them. Many investors become confused regarding what is held as a legitimate business in the eyes of the E2 application reviewers, but it essentially means any company that provides tangible goods and services. This doesn’t exclude stock and bond types of investment as that would only support the investor’s ability to live in the U.S. rather than creating jobs and wealth.
The marker for a legitimate business that is eligible for an E2 visa being tangible goods and services leaves a very wide array of potential industries to found or expand into the United States, such as:
- Consulting firm
- Coffee shop
- Catering company
- Fitness center
- Import/export business
- Gas station
- Event planning
- Cleaning company
- Auto repair shop
- A bar
- Retail shop
- Trucking company
- Plumbing company
As you can see from this shortlist of businesses eligible for the E2 visa, there is a large range of types of companies one can invest in or open. To learn more about business eligibility under the investor visa, we strongly encourage you to read here:
E2 Visa Investment Amount
People interested in the E2 visa tend to have questions regarding the amount to invest so that their application is approved. The requirements only state a “substantial investment” must be made and there is no legal minimum investment, further complicating it. The guiding principle to keep in mind here is that the amount an investor commits to the business must be either enough to purchase it or enough to demonstrate their dedication to seeing the business succeed.
Another way the amount is reviewed is whether or not the investment is at risk, which means the money cannot be sitting in a bank account or tied up in stocks. This helps prove that the investor is committed to the success of their enterprise. The amount to invest partially depends on the type of business chosen and anything less than USD 100,000 risks your visa application being rejected. When deciding on how much your investment should be, take into consideration the cost of establishing a viable enterprise and the cost of running it. That amount is what you should strive for during the visa process.
Generally, the amount invested should be compared to the cost or value of the business.
An Investor’s Path to E2 Visas
Deciding how much to invest in order to gain the E2 visa may seem like the difficult part, but the problem investors typically run into is not being a citizen of a country that holds the right treaty. There is a solution to that via the Citizenship by Investment programme in Grenada.
Obtaining Grenadian passport through their economic citizenship policy, you can gain citizenship and get an opportunity to apply for an E2 visa. We at Range Developments are the leading CBI developer in the Caribbean and have successfully guided our clients to gain citizenship in Grenada and, therefore, to get access to the E2 visa for themselves and their families.
If you’re an investor who holds citizenship in a non-treaty nation and wishes to expand or open a business in the United States through the E2 visa, we strongly encourage you to look at Grenada’s CBI programme.
* Terms and Conditions apply. Please contact a US immigration lawyer for further information.