What is Substantial Capital for E-2? Ask a San Francisco Visa Lawyer

The E-2 treaty trader and investment visa provides an excellent opportunity for individuals from trade treaty countries to come to the United States to develop and manage operations of a business or enterprise. According to the terms of the E-2 visa, the applicant comes to the United States to work in an operation in which he or she had made a “substantial” investment.

In comparing the investment requirements under the E-2 visa with the minimum investment requirements of an EB-5, an experienced San Francisco E-2 visa lawyer notes that the investment requirements under the E-2 visa are significantly lower. 

While there are several provisions that must be met in order to qualify for an E-2 visa, perhaps one of the most important is the “substantial” amount of capital that must be invested in the business or enterprise.

E-2 visa lawyer from San Francisco explains “substantial” investment:
  • There is no specific amount defined in the requirements for the E-2 visa, but it must be enough to ensure success of the investor’s business or enterprise.
  • Substantial investment is based on the proportionality test, which compares the total amount invested with the cost of establishing a viable enterprise or the amount of capital needed to purchase an already-existing enterprise.
  • In general, the amount will range from $100,000-$150,000; however, this number may be less depending on the situation, and can certainly be more depending on the enterprise.
  • The investment must be more than just purposeful to the investor; it must be proven that the enterprise will help the U.S. economy by creating jobs or through other means.
  • The investor must maintain control of the funds.
  • The investor must show that he or she is in the process of making a substantial investment or the trading company must already be in existence.

Under the E-2 visa, it is also important to note that if the business or enterprise is not doing well, the investor can lose his or her right to remain in the United States. As the crux of the E-2 investment visa, the requirement of a “substantial” investment or amount of capital is important for any potential E-2 visa applicant to understand.
Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney