What Is The E-2 Visa Minimum Investment Amount?

An E-2 visa enables people from certain countries to live in the U.S. by setting up or investing in a business.

One of the main benefits is there is no E-2 visa minimum investment amount. This makes it a more flexible and affordable option than an EB-5 visa, which requires a minimum investment of $800,000.

However, an E-2 is a non-immigrant visa. This means that it gives you the right to live and work in the U.S., but doesn’t grant you permanent residency or eligibility for citizenship.

It’s critical to understand the difference between an E-2 visa and other similar programs. This will ensure you make the right immigration decisions for you and your family.

This article explains everything you need to know about E-2 visas, including:

  • What an E-2 visa is
  • Who can apply for an E-2 visa
  • How much money you need to invest to apply for an E-2 visa
  • The differences between E-2 and EB-5 visas


⚠️ Check if your country participates in the E-2 treaty

You can only apply for an E-2 visa if your home country has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.
The E-2 treaty country list currently includes over 70 nations. Countries with an E-2 treaty include:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa)
South Korea
New Zealand
Poland Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)
Slovak Republic
Sri Lanka
Trinidad & Tobago
United Kingdom

What Is an E-2 Visa?

As mentioned above, the E-2 visa is an investment-based visa that allows you to live and work in the United States as a foreign entrepreneur. However, it does not grant you the right to do this permanently.

If you have an E-2 visa, you:

✔️ Can stay in the U.S. for two years
✔️ Can apply for a two-year extension as many times as you like
✔️ Must maintain an intent to depart the United States upon expiration or termination of the visa

What are the E-2 visa requirements?

There are three key aspects of meeting E-2 visa requirements:

💸 Making a substantial investment in a business
📈 Creating a business plan
💼 Actively managing a business

Let’s look at each one in detail.

💸 Making a substantial investment in a business

To get an E-2 visa, you need to invest in a U.S. business. There is no official minimum amount required for an E-2 visa investment. Instead, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires the investment to be considered “substantial” in proportion to the business.

A substantial investment is defined as enough to:

  • Purchase an existing business
  • Establish a new business
  • Prove the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the enterprise
  • Support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully direct and develop the business

The business you invest in should be capable of having a significant impact on the U.S. economy. In other words, it should have the present or future capacity to generate more than simply enough income to support you and your household.

The E-2 visa minimum investment amount varies depending on the business and industry. Despite there being no set threshold, E-2 immigration consultants recommend going no lower than $100,000. The higher the investment amount, the easier it is for the applicant to prove their financial commitment to the business.

Investors must prove that their E-2 visa investment is:

  • Substantial
  • Large enough to show the investor is committed to the business
  • At risk of financial loss if the business venture is unsuccessful

The evidence a treaty investor can provide to demonstrate compliance with this requirement includes:

  • Records of money orders and checks
  • Corresponding personal and business bank statements
  • An itemized list of goods and materials purchased for the corresponding financial accounting documentation of the investment enterprise
  • A lease agreement
  • A term sheet, letter of intent, or memorandum of understanding
  • A bill of sale
  • Escrow documents
  • Loan and mortgage agreements
  • A capitalization table
  • A valuation analysis of the business assets
  • Purchase agreements
  • A valuation analysis of stocks
  • The stock purchase agreements, alongside meeting minutes, stock ledger, stock certificate, and corresponding forms of payment for stock

📈 Creating a business plan

E-2 investors must also provide a comprehensive business plan to support their application. The goal is to demonstrate:

  • How your investment will be used
  • That it is sufficient to make the business operational
  • That it will enable the treaty investor to meet growth projections

The business plan must follow a particular format and be E-2 program-compliant. A detailed and well-prepared E-2 business plan will boost an investor’s chances of approval and reduce the chances of being issued a request for evidence (RFE) or a denial. It may be worth contacting a consulting firm to assist you with writing the business plan.

💼 Active participation in managerial duties

The E-2 program requires a treaty investor to be actively involved in the enterprise. However, the level of involvement required can vary depending on the management structure of the investment project.

Each treaty investor must show they will actively manage and work within the enterprise soon after entering the United States. Otherwise, the investment may be considered passive.

Who Can Make an E-2 Visa Investment?

As mentioned above, you can only invest in an E-2 program if your country has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.

There are no educational requirements for the E-2 visa. However, since the treaty investor will be partially or wholly responsible for directing and operating a business, they must demonstrate their capability to do so. An E-2 investor’s skills and experience must be relevant to the enterprise and enable them to successfully implement their business plan.

Who is an E-2 visa suitable for?

The E-2 visa might suit you if:

⚡️ You want to move to the U.S. fast: An E-2 application takes up to four months to be processed. This is much quicker than other visa types. This means you can begin living and working in the U.S. faster than you would via other routes.

💵 You have limited investment funds: Because the minimum investment amount is lower, the E-2 visa is a more realistic option than certain other programs for those with limited money to invest.

✈︎ You don’t intend to stay in the United States: An E-2 visa may be a good option if you don’t intend to stay in the U.S. on a permanent basis.

🧔 You’re an entrepreneur: E-2 is a good option for those who wish to enter the United States as a foreign entrepreneur and operate their own businesses. Moreover, you can decide what enterprise you want to invest in, as long as it:

  • Fulfills E-2 program requirements
  • Places the funds you invested at risk, should your E-2 enterprise be unsuccessful

⚠️ Financial and immigration risk

An E-2 visa and its benefits rely upon the performance of the investor’s business, so it’s crucial that you plan your business carefully. We recommend reducing your immigration and financial risk by working with an immigration law firm. They can assist with the company’s formation process.

How to Apply for an E-2 Visa

Investors already residing in the United States

If you live in the United States and want to apply for an E-2 visa, you must send USCIS:

  • Form I-129
  • Identity documentation
  • Evidence of lawful status
  • A Form I-539 for each dependent (including your spouse and any children under 21) included in the application process

An E-2 application typically takes approximately two to four months to process. However, if you apply from within the United States, you have the option of premium processing. This reduces processing time to approximately 15 days.

Investors filing from their home country or a foreign country

If you are applying for an E-2 visa from outside of the United States, you must do so through the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country. U.S. consulates do not have uniform instructions regarding E-2 visa applications.

In fact, the guidelines vary significantly across countries. For example, some consulates require a treaty investor to mail a hard copy of their application; others require submission through email. Because of these variations, E-2 visa applicants should visit their consulate’s website to familiarize themselves with the instructions before starting the application process.

All U.S. consulates require E-2 applicants to submit Form DS-160. Most consulates also require Form DS-156E.

Once the consulate receives the application and supporting documents, E-2 visa applicants can schedule an interview. If the interview is successful, the applicant will be granted an E-2 visa.

⚠️Get help from an immigration lawyer

E-2 forms can be complex and it’s important you get them right. We recommend asking an immigration lawyer to help you prepare these forms.

Is an E-2 Visa Worthwhile?

The E-2 visa offers one of the quickest and most affordable routes to live and work in the United States. The recommended investment is $100,000 or more.

It also grants a variety of benefits regarding dependent eligibility, period of stay, and travel requirements:

✔️ Your dependents don’t have to be of the same nationality as you. Family members will, in general, be granted the same period of stay as the treaty investor and be able to apply for extensions.

✔️ Your family can work and study in the United States. Children will be able to study in the United States, and spouses can obtain work authorization. Unlike the primary investor, who is restricted to working at the E-2 enterprise, spouses can work at any company.

✔️ You can leave the U.S. and return freely. The E2 visa allows holders to freely travel in and out of the United States without a limit on how long they can spend abroad.

⚠️ Be aware of your visa status

E2 visa holders are encouraged to keep a close watch on their visa status while traveling. Issues can arise if your visa expires while you are outside of the U.S.

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for an E-2 Visa?

Here’s what each E-2 visa form costs to file:

  • Form I-129: $460
  • Form I-539: $370
  • Form DS-160 $200 (one form must be filed for each family member)

A small fee is also charged when your visa is issued. This fee varies between consulates.

Additional costs often arise in the E-2 investment process. These could include:

  • Immigration law firm costs
  • Biometrics fees
  • Entity formation costs
  • The cost of a consulting firm to assist with the business plan

E-2 vs. EB-5: What’s the Difference?

Both EB-5 and E-2 visas are ways for foreign nationals to come and live in the U.S. by investing in a business. However, there are some significant differences between the two programs. Here’s a summary of them:

E-2 visaEB-5 visa
Immigration statusYou have the right to live and work in the U.S. for a two-year period.You can live or work in the U.S. permanently.
Minimum investment amountNone, although $100,000 is recommended.$1,050,000, or $800,000 for TEA projects.
Who can invest?People from a treaty country with the skills and experience to run a successful company.Anyone.
Business management requirementsYou must actively manage the business you invest in.You can hand over most managerial duties to others, for example, a regional center.
Job creation requirementNone, however, your investment must generate more money than you require to support your family.Your investment must create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens.
Suitable for…
  • Moving to the U.S. fast
  • Investing with limited funds
  • Living in the U.S. for the medium term
  • Starting and running a business
  • Living permanently in the U.S.
  • As a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
  • Starting and running a business.
Financial risk HighVaries
Immigration riskHighLow
Application processing time15 days to 4 monthsVaries; rural TEA investors have recently been approved for their initial Green Cards within 12 months
Travel restrictions N/AYou cannot spend more than six months abroad in a single trip during your conditional residency.
Work opportunitiesYou can only work for the company you invest in.You can work for any company.
TaxYou can reduce your worldwide income tax bill.You have to pay full U.S. tax on worldwide income.

An E-2 visa can be a stepping stone to an EB-5 visa

As mentioned above, an EB-5 visa grants permanent resident status—sometimes known as a Green Card. The E-2 visa can be used as a stepping stone towards an EB-5 visa. That’s because it allows you to:

  • Move to the U.S. quicker
  • Live in the U.S. before you apply for an EB-5 visa
  • Reside in U.S. during the EB-5 waiting period
  • Start a business that can later be used as an EB-5 investment

A Green Card, in turn, can eventually lead to citizenship.

Gain Permanent U.S. Resident Status With EB5AN

Do you want to immigrate with your family to the United States and are not sure whether to choose an EB-5 or E-2 visa? Or perhaps you’re already an E-2 investor and you want to gain permanent residency?

Either way, you should speak with EB5AN. As a leader in the EB-5 investment field, EB5AN has helped thousands of investors get started on the immigration process. Foreign nationals interested in the EB-5 program can take the next step by booking a call with EB5AN to learn more.