Making Sense of the E-2 Visa Investment Guidelines
America remains the most attractive destination for investors, startups, and entrepreneurs across the globe. While the E-2 Visa is one of the best gateways into the U.S., the E-2 Visa Investment Guidelines can appear complex and discouraging to applicants unfamiliar with the U.S. visa regime.
The *Substantial* Investment Requirement of the E-2 Visa Investment GuidelinesUnlike other U.S. nonimmigrant investor visas, the E-2 visa does not stipulate a specific amount that must be invested to qualify. Instead, the official guidelines require that the investment be *substantial,* which is determined by what is known as the *proportionality test*: how much you have invested, or plan to invest, compared to the typical cost of starting the subject enterprise.
For example, if the enterprise that you wish to invest in typically costs $100,000 to start, and you plan to invest $90,000, your investment must meet the substantial investment test for the E-2 Visa.
Moreover, the substantial investment standard is different for E-2 Visa applicants who plan to open a new U.S. business rather than invest in a current one * if the new business needs more capital (as is usually the case), the requirement is proportionally less than it would be if the business already existed.
- If the business requires an investment of less than $500,000, you must invest 905% to 100% of the funds prior to filing your application for the E-2 Visa.
- For businesses requiring between $500,000 to $3 million to start, investing 70% of the cost should be enough.
- Finally, for businesses that cost more than $3 million, a 60% investment may be considered substantial for E-2 Visa purposes.
Furthermore, the E-2 Visa Investment Guidelines require that your investment be enough to demonstrate your commitment to the success of the business. That means you will need to draw up a detailed and credible business plan showing how the investment will help the business launch, grow, or develop, especially in terms of hiring U.S. employees.
Proving the Source of Your Investment FundsThe E-2 Visa Investment Guidelines stipulate that the investment funds must come from a legal, transparent source. Funds raised from gifts or an inheritance can qualify if they are in proper financial accounts that are in your name and that you control. You must prove that any income from which you are drawing the investment funds are from lawful business activity. Thus, you will be required to provide several documents * such as financial and bank statements, pay slips, gift letters, or proof of proceeds from commercial or real estate transactions * showing the source of your investment.
Hire Immigration Attorneys Who Understand the E-2 Visa Investment GuidelinesThe E-2 Visa guidelines cover many more factors than just the investment: other criteria include whether the applicant is a citizen of a treaty country and whether the business is a for-profit, bona fide enterprise. Parsing the fine details of the investment guidelines, let alone the other requirements, can take a lot of time and effort. Any missteps could delay or derail your application.