What is the E2 Visa Investment Amount?

Author: Jason Coles

Updated On:

Updated On:

One of the most frequently posed questions prospective clients ask me as a prominent and highly sought-after immigration business plan writer is, “What is the E2 Visa Investment Amount?”.

It is a great question since there is widespread awareness that E2 visa investments must be substantial in nature, but how much is considered substantial, and what is the minimum you can invest?

I answer these questions and a whole lot more with real-world examples of different investment amounts and types of businesses that have been approved for the E2 Treaty Investor Visa.

E2 visa minimum investment amounts

I have been writing E2 visa business plans since 2006, so, armed with over 17 years of experience in crafting over 1,300 successful immigration business plans for foreign entrepreneurs; I will demystify this question and provide you with comprehensive insights that I have experienced firsthand, complete with illustrative examples of successfully approved E2 business plans I have written.

The E-2 visa regulations dictate that E2 Treaty Investor visa applicants must document a substantial infusion of personal funds into the E2 Enterprise. These funds cannot be merely transferred into a U.S. bank account to prove a substantial investment has been made, it must be “at risk” and dedicated to the development and growth of the U.S. enterprise.

Is There an E2 Visa Minimum Investment Amount?

The determination of a substantial investment revolves around the proportion of funds invested relative to the total cost of developing the business (or franchise) to reach operational status. Consequently, the regulations refrain from specifying a minimum investment amount, which is why so many people ask me this same question!

Since the E2 visa regulations do not outline a minimum investment amount, each investor’s case must be evaluated on its own merits and be supported by a comprehensive 5-year business plan.

The E2 visa investment amount is not a one-size-fits-all figure that is applicable to all E2 visa applicants. Instead, it hinges on the type of business or franchise the foreign entrepreneur is starting or purchasing.

Despite not stating what the minimum investment must be per the regulations, there are various things you may read online, and you can contact a U.S. immigration attorney, but please be mindful that no matter what you read or who you speak with, you are going to receive a variety of different answers and points of view.

Related: E2 Visa Countries: The Complete List of Eligible Nations

E2 Visa Minimum Investment Requirements

The majority of the E2 treaty investor visa business plans I write are a result of numerous immigration law firms across the U.S. referring those clients to me.

For more than 17 years, I have forged excellent professional relationships with these firms, and we have a great understanding of each other and work towards the common goal of presenting the most compelling and detailed information to enable clients to achieve E2 visa approval.

Having said that, not all immigration lawyers are the same or have the same view or interpretation of what makes a good E2 visa case.

By this, I mean some law firms that refer clients to me will not work with an E2 Treaty Investor unless they invest at least $100,000 – $150,000 into the U.S. business or franchise. On the other hand, there are also immigration lawyers who will gladly take on cases where the investment is under $100,000.

It is worth noting that there are cases where E2 visas are approved for less than $100,000, and I have successfully written numerous E2 visa business plans for such scenarios. You can see the type of businesses I have written them for further down this article.

There is no right or wrong way to approach the situation regarding whether I, as a professional immigration business plan writer with extensive experience or an immigration lawyer, decide to take on a case based on whether the investment hits a certain level. The key lies in how the case is presented, how professional, detailed, and realistic the business plan is, and the type of business or franchise being started or purchased.

In my capacity as an experienced immigration business plan writer, I have been involved in the successful approval of E2 visa cases with investments as low as $50,000.

I also work with clients who invest in the $50,000 – $90,000 range, and these cases have been equally successful. While I do not advocate investing as little as possible, the reality is that an investment of $100,000 or more often stands a better chance than E2 cases with investments below $100,000.

What has become more noticeable over the past five years is that there has been a higher E2 acceptance rate for investments in the $75,000 – $150,000 range. This contrasts with the situation prior to this, when obtaining E2 visa approval for an investment below $150,000 posed a greater challenge.

You might be wondering why, and it is because the business world has substantially changed over the past several years, and there are far more opportunities to start businesses with less money. I believe the U.S. State Department and USCIS understand this, and if you have a well-crafted and detailed immigration business plan, you stand a better chance of success with your case when the investment is not as high.

It is crucial to recognize that depending on the type of business or franchise you invest in, the amount considered “substantial” may vary significantly.

Successful E2 Visa Businesses

E2 visas are granted for various businesses and franchises, each with different investment requirements. Real examples of successfully approved E2 visa businesses that I have written business plans for include the following:

  • Home-Cooked Food Delivery Company
  • Kitchen Remodeling Franchise
  • Sign Manufacturing & Design Business
  • Mathnasium Franchise
  • Trucking Company
  • Men’s Designer E-Commerce Clothing Company
  • Real Estate Flipping and Property Management
  • Hookah Rental & Entertainment Business
    Outdoor Wilderness Adventure Company
  • Hair Salon
  • Used Car Dealership
  • Retail & Online Bakery Store
  • E-Commerce Beauty Products Company
  • Hotel Franchise
  • Smoothie & Fresh Pressed Juice Retail Store
  • Thai Food Restaurant
  • Home Daycare Business
  • Outsourced Recruiting Solutions
  • Residential & Commercial Painting Company
  • Venture Capital Advisory Firm
  • Gas Station & Convenience Store
  • Online Logistics Services Platform
  • Nail and Beauty Salon
  • Learning & Recruitment Services Firm
  • Fast Food Franchise
  • Subscription-based Meal Kit Company
  • Math & Educational Tutoring
  • Construction and Remodeling
  • Specialist Recruitment Firm
  • Boost Mobile Store
  • Auto Repair & Servicing
  • Pizza Restaurant Franchise
  • Skin Restoration Wellness Company
  • English Tea Room & Restaurant
  • Construction Equipment Rental Company
  • Mobile App Developer
  • Geotechnical Engineering Firm
  • Smartphone and Tablet Repair Store
  • After School Sports Programs, and many more.

Based on the sampling of companies noted above that I have written E2 visa business plans for, the level of investment required for each varies greatly.

What I have noticed over the years is that if you are starting a business in the consulting industry or something similar, such as a digital marketing agency, the investment level can often be lower versus starting a restaurant, fast-food franchise, coffee shop, retail store, or gas station.

Naturally, the investment amount required between these types of companies is completely different, and a consulting company can be started, launched, and grown for much less than a restaurant, gas station, fast food franchise, or retail store.

Likewise, a digital marketing and advertising agency or software firm can be started for much less than a real estate flipping and investment company.

Summarizing the Minimum Investment Requirements

The level of investment required for an E2 visa varies greatly based on the type of company or franchise you invest in. For instance, most restaurants require a minimum investment of $150,000. This is based on a small restaurant with minimal seating, focusing mostly on take-out rather than dine-in.

While I’ve written successful E2 visa business plans for restaurants in this investment range, most restaurant investments (independent single locations or franchised ones) for E2 visa purposes typically range from $150,000 – $750,000+.

On the other hand, a coffee shop/bakery or pizza takeout business, though still capital-intensive to set up since it requires remodeling, kitchen equipment, signage, and interior decor and furnishings, can be established with an investment in the $95,000 – $150,000 range.

Mobile app companies, software design firms, employment agencies, asset management firms, medical billing companies, interior designers, web/graphic design/marketing firms, and specialist consulting firms don’t necessitate as large an investment to set up and launch.

I have written successful E2 visa business plans for these businesses with investments in the $50,000 – $100,000+ range. However, it’s important to note that while a higher investment amount is generally favorable, over-investing in these companies should be avoided to prevent excess working capital, otherwise known as non-committed funds.

Irrevocably Committed Funds for the E2 Visa

In E2 cases where a business doesn’t require a substantial capital investment, the E2 treaty investor must demonstrate a significant amount of irrevocably committed funds to the E2 enterprise. This may involve financial commitments beyond ordinary business practices.

What I say to a lot of my clients is that what you would do in the normal course of setting up a business if you weren’t applying for an E2 Treaty Investor visa can be a lot different from what you are required to do because you are applying for an E2 visa. What does this mean?

Examples include prepaying office rent for an extended period or engaging a marketing and public relations firm before filing the E2 visa with a substantial upfront retainer. In essence, demonstrating a commitment beyond routine business practices enhances the chances of E2 visa success.

Most commercial premises you rent in the U.S., whether for an office, restaurant, or retail space, require you to pay the first and last month plus a security deposit usually equal to one or two months of rent.

If you rent office space for your consulting or similar business, your rent may only be $1,000 – $1,500 per month, so it can be beneficial to pay for 6 or 12 months of rent in advance to increase your irrevocably committed funds before applying for the E2 visa.

In summary, I am not advocating for the E2 visa investment amount to be less than $100,000 or even close to the $50,000-$75,000 range I have referenced above, but what I am saying is that with proper planning and knowing what you must do if your investment is on the lower side, you can still be successful in getting your E2 visa approved.

Having this knowledge upfront is important to the success of your case because I often speak with clients who are under the assumption that they can transfer $100,000 into their U.S. business bank account, pay for a few minimal business expenses, and then apply for the E2 Treaty Investor visa, and this is not the case.

Types of Businesses that have been approved for an E2 Visa

I have already summarized a selection of businesses that I have written business plans for that have been approved for an E2 visa, but I have also created a graphic below of 10 businesses that were approved for their E2, along with the specific amount each of them invested.

You will see the type of business and industry they are in and the total investment each of them made. These are real examples of more recent business plans I wrote, and as you will see, the smallest investment was $50,000, the highest was $500,000, and there are many others between these amounts.

If you have any questions about the minimum investment required for an E2 visa, please contact me.

Different E2 visa investment amounts

E2 Visa Resources

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Jason Coles

Jason Coles is the Founder of Foreign USA and its Chief Content Writer and Editor. Recognized as a prolific business plan writer by many prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. who refer his services to their clients regularly, Jason has written over 1,345 business plans across the past 17+ years for start-up companies and franchises looking to expand their footprint in the United States. Jason is considered a seasoned expert in his field. He creates detailed business plans for his clients that include five-year financial projections, market and industry analysis reports, demographic studies, organizational charts, job descriptions, employee hiring plans, and more.