What Does “Substantial Investment” Mean When Applying for an Investor Visa?


If you live in a treaty country and are doing business in the United States as the controlling party of an investment, you need an E-2 investor visa. With this visa, you can stay in the United States to conduct your business, but you need to renew the visa every five years without any limitations as to how often you can do this. So if your business means staying in the United States for more than ten years, that is fine as long as you follow the rules and requirements for extending your E-2 visa.

Within the parameters of E-2 investor visas is what is known as “substantial” investment status. Depending on the business itself, the investment may or may not be considered substantial. This specification is often determined case by case and there are many differing opinions on how to figure out whether or not an investment is substantial.

Usually, the company or business’s total value is evaluated to determine if the investment amounts are significant enough to be considered substantial. For obvious reasons, the greater the investment amount, the better the chance of getting approval for substantial investment status. There are some specialists who believe that any amount as low as $25,000 (mostly for service industries) can get substantial investment approval while others claim that an amount as high as $200,000 has a better chance of approval.

Generally speaking, an E-2 investment that is considered profitable—meaning the total value is in direct contrast to the percentage of the investment—will get substantial investment status. The common formula used for this is as follows: twenty-five percent for a business’s total value that exceeds $3,000,000; fifty percent for a total business value that falls between $500,000 and $3,000,000; and seventy-five percent for a business’s total value that is less than $500,000.

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