Over the years, we have helped many clients from many countries obtain E-2 treaty investor visa and status. For people from treaty countries (please refer to the treaty country list in the E-2 column of this website), E-2 is an extremely flexible and easy to obtain status as it allows the investor to stay in the US as long as the invested enterprise is running.
However, the question we are repeatedly asked is the amount of the investment as the regulation reqires that the investment has to be "substantial". Many of our clients construe "substantial" as contributing a big amount of money into the enterprise. This is a misunderstanding of the requirement. Rather, the requirement is actually whether the investment is proportionately substantial considering the nature of the investment. As such, if the nature of the business does not require big amount of monetary investment, e.g., personal service business, the "substantial" requirement does not mean big amount of monetary of investment. We have helped many of our clients obtain E-2 visas with investment ranging from $20,000.00 to $50,000.00.
Readers may not be interested in reading the actual legal definition of "substantial investment" for E-2. To summarize it in the "layman language", the test of "substantial investment" in E-2 application is (1) firstly, compare the invested amount against the total cost of purchasing or creating the business, (2) ask yourself if it is sufficient to ensure your commitment to the success of the business, and (3) what is the likelihood that with the investment amount you will successfully develp and direct the business.With this three-prong rule as a guideline, you should be able to tell what constitutes a "substantial investment" in the business investment you are contemplating.