E2 visa faq

This is a general explanation of certain aspects of the law regarding E2 visas. Each case poses its own set of issues, and before you make your decision to invest in an E2 enterprise, it is recommended that you speak to an immigration expert.

Is there a minimum amount that I must invest to qualify for an E2 visa?
The law does not require a minimum investment amount. However, the investment amount must be substantial, making certain that the amount must be at a level that would ensure, to a reasonable extent, that the investment business is not speculative and would soon be a successful enterprise as a result of the exercise of sound business and financial judgment. Although the law does not specify an amount that would meet this threshold, there are several factors that will be considered in determining whether an investment is substantial. Namely, the investment amount must be:

  • Substantial in a proportional sense (in relation to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise, or creating the type of enterprise under consideration)
  • Sufficient to ensure the investor's financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise; and
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.

What does it mean for an investment to be more than marginal?
Generally, the investment enterprise's income must be more than what is necessary to provide a living for the investor and his or her family. Without regard to whether the investment was substantial, the E2 visa applicant must not be investing in an enterprise solely for the purpose of earning a living. The following will be considered:

  • The investment is not marginal if the business income exceeds what is necessary to support the investor and his or her family.
  • If the business income does not meet the above test, the economic impact of the business may be considered. The business must have the capacity to make a significant economic contribution. The projected future capacity of the business should generally be realizable within 5 years from the date the investor starts normal business articulates.

Am I permitted to invest in an equal partnership?
The law requires an investor to have controlling interest in the investment enterprise. If the investor has an equal share of the investment in a joint venture or an equal partnership of 2 parties, the investor is considered to have controlling interest as long as the partners each retain full management rights and responsibilities. In this "negative control" arrangement, each of the 2 parties has equal responsibilities and the capacity to make decisions that are binding on the other party. It should be noted that the U.S. Department of State has determined that equal partnership with more than 2 partners does not give any of the parties control based on ownership.

What is considered an investment?
An investment for purposes of an E2 visa is the placing of funds or other captial assets at risk (in the commercial sense) in the hope of generating a financial return. The funds must be subject to partial or total loss of business fortunes reverse. "At risk" funds are generally funds in which personal assets are involved, such as personal funds, other unencumbered assets, or a mortgage with the investor's personal residence used as collateral. The funds must also be irrevocably committed to the investment.