Investor Visa Minimum Investment Amount

For E-1 Visa, E-2 Visa and EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

How much money do I need to invest in order to get an investor visa in the US?
What is investor visa minimum investment amount in the United States?

If you have thought about investing in the United States to obtain an investor visa and you are wondering what is investor visa minimum investment amount, we have the answer for this:

It all depends on the type of visa or program, and the business in which you want to invest.

The following article seeks to explain – with examples – everything you need to know about investor visas in the United States. Therefore, you could make the right decision when investing.

Investor Visas

US Immigration has two visa classifications: 1) immigrant visas, and 2) non-immigrant visas. In one hand, immigrant visas are made so that, once approved, you become a permanent resident. In the other hand, non-immigrant visas have a temporary nature, and eventually they could grant you permanent residence.

Believe it or not, a large number of applicants for investor visas do not intend to become permanent residents. They actually take advantage of the temporary nature of certain visas to achieve their business objectives and eventually return to their countries. For others instead, they decide to invest their resources in the country to obtain a permanent residence, and move in with their families. Depending on the case, the mechanisms may vary, as well as the amount of investment and the requirements of US Immigration.

There are three main ways available for foreigner investors to come to the United States. Two of them are classified as non-immigrant visas and only one is for those who wish to immigrate and become permanent residence. This means that only one of the three visas for investors can grant permanent residence or “green card” straight.

E-1 Visa

As stated on the website of the US Immigration Department:

The E-1 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.  Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

As you can see, the statement mentions ” a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation “. This means that only citizens of countries that have bilateral trade agreements with the United States can apply for this visa.

See U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

Note that the US Immigration requires a visa business plan when submitting the E-1 application.

E-2 Visa

As stated on the website of the US Immigration Department:

The E-2 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.  Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

Like the E-1 visa, the statement shows: ” a treaty country “. This means that only citizens of countries that are part of a bilateral trade agreement with the United States may apply for this visa. It is also mentions: ” investing a substantial amount of capital”, which is not so clear. But then, what is investor visa minimum investment amount?

See U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

As with the E-1 visa, the Immigration Department requires all investors to provide a detailed business plan when submitting the application.

What is investor visa minimum investment amount? E-1 Visa & E-2 Visa

The Immigration Department does not specify how much money has to be invested in neither of these two visas. But, as in any type of business, the amount will be determined by several factors shown below:

  • Type of business, such as: restaurant, bar, shop, consulting firm, factory, among others.
  • Industry in which the business is going to be developed, for example: food and beverage, textiles, footwear, telecommunications, and many others.
  • Market where the business will serve or target: Country, region, state, city, area, demography, among others.
  • Cash required: for operating expenses and / or working capital.

Some examples of E-2 visa investments

There are several types of businesses that you could open up in the United States. The one you choose will determined by the amount of investment, your personal skills and personal preferences. Now, to illustrate in detail each of the investment variants mentioned above, I will use some examples.

Let’s pretend that you would like to open up a new restaurant. To do so, you must invest in kitchen equipment, remodeling, furniture, permits, licenses, working capital, inventory, among others. Depending on the number of seats, the investment will vary, and will require a significant number of employees.

If you instead choose to open a small coffee bar, it is very likely that the investment will be much smaller as well as the monthly expenses of the business.

Now, let’s pretend that you will open a marketing consulting services business. It is very likely that the initial investment to open this business will be relatively low compared to a restaurant or coffee bar. This is because you do not need to invest in kitchen equipment, tables, utensils, deep remodeling, and the permits are less rigorous. In this case, the investment amount is small but the monthly expenses could be very high, since highly qualified professional must be hire and that represents high salaries.

In the following tables I will make a comparison of the two business, so you can see the difference between the investment amounts and the monthly expenses.

Initial Investment Comparative Table – Full Service Restaurant and a Marketing Consulting Firm

CONCEPTRESTAURANTCONSULTING
Rent Deposit$20,000 (2,000 sq ft)$7,500 (500 sql ft)
Architect$15,000$0
Remodeling$30,000$0
Software$2,500$3,500
Permits and Licenses$4,000$500
Computer y Hardware$1,500$4,500
Operating Capital$65,000 (2 months)$98,000 (2 months)
Inventory$5,000$0
Short-Term Assets$20,000$5,000
Long-Term Assets$80,000$0
TOTAL INITIAL INVESTMENT$243,000$119,000

As you can see, the estimated total initial investment for the full service restaurant is greater than the marketing consulting company firm.

Yearly Expenses Comparative Table – Full Service Restaurant and a Marketing Consulting Firm

CONCEPTRESTAURANTCONSULTING
Payroll$198,000$396,000
Marketing & Ads$30,000$60,000
Depretiation$8,000$0
Rent$80,000$30,000
Utilities$30,000$12,000
Payroll Taxes$29,700$59,400
Software$3,000$12,000
Professional Services$5,000$5,000
Other$12,000$18,000
ANUAL EXPENSES$395,700$592,400

With regard to annual expenses, the marketing consulting services firm must hire specialized personnel to offer its services, which will significantly increase payroll expenses and payroll taxes.

This was just an example comparison to show that the minimum amount of investment could not be imposed or fixed for E-2 visas. It cannot be imposed due the number of variants that are at stake depending on the business, the industry and the market.

At Visa Business Plans, we have advised thousands E-2 investor visa applicants. We have witnessed investors who have been approved with investments as low as $80,000. With this, I am not setting a minimum amount, it is only for example purpose only based on our experience.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

As stated on the Website of the Department of Homeland Security :

Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

The EB-5 allows investors to obtain permanent residence or “green card” after meeting the following two requirements:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

Note that when applying for this program or visa, the investor is required to provide a detailed business plan.

What is investor visa minimum investment amount? E-5 Visa

If you want to apply for a permanent residence through the EB-5 Program before November 21, 2019, the investment amounts are as follows:

  • The standard minimum investment amount: $1 million.
  • The minimum investment amount in a TEA: $500,000.

Note that “TEA” are areas where unemployment rates are higher than National average.

As of November 21, 2019, for inflation, the minimum investment amounts will be increased as follows:

  • The standard minimum investment amount: $1.8 million.
  • The minimum investment in a TEA amount: $900,000.

Note that future adjustments will also be tied to inflation and occur every 5 years.

Conclusions

As I indicated at the beginning of the article, the amount of investment to obtain an investor visa will depend on the type of business and what the visa will be used. If it is an E-1 or E-2 visa, the amount will depend on the business. In the case of EB-5, the minimum investment amounts have been set by the Government.

Remember that, before investing in the United States, make sure you have the support of experts immigration business plan writers. The Department of Homeland Security requires a business plan to show its officials key details of the investment. With this, they can make the right decision.

At Visa Business Plan – by PlanExitoso – we have proven experience of more than 16 years working hand to hand with our clients. Above all, we can help you throughout the entire application visa process and beyond.

Contact us and we will help you clear any doubt.

If you want to read this article in Spanish, click here.