The law does not specify a minimum amount but requires the E2 Visa candidate to make a "substantial investment" for a particular business model. The expenditure must be enough to cover the company's structuring costs to the minimum point of being ready to start operations. The working capital required for the first months of operation until the company reaches the financial break-even point it is also part of the total investment.
In general, immigration lawyers recommend investing at least $100,000 to having a strong E2 Visa case. However, as the law does not specify a minimum amount, it is essential to consider whether the total investment is appropriate to ensure business success. For this reason, there are situations where the Visa can be approved with lower amounts or denied with higher amounts.
The enterprise cannot be marginal, having the present or future potential to generate sufficient profit for the investor and his family. Being a new business, the period for the generation of profit can occur in up to five years; however, it is necessary to show a solid projection demonstrating how it will be achieved.
Another crucial factor is the capacity to generate jobs, not necessarily in the first moment, but a suitable amount in a certain period. It is recommended at least 2-3 in the early years, depending on the business. The company must be a commercially active enterprise that generates profit, selling products or services. It is not allowed passive investments like stocks and income from rents and nor speculative, where the business is only on paper. Before applying for the E2 Visa, it is necessary to commit the funds.
1- Proven concept in the American market. If the investor wants to start a business from scratch in the US, even if he or she has experience in his home country, the chances of success are more uncertain. In this way, the immigration officer will probably look more closely at the business plan, qualifications and all other documents to be sure the enterprise has probable chances of success.
2- Training and continues support from the franchisor. The orientation from the franchisor increases the candidate's ability to operate and run the business satisfactorily because even if the franchisee does not have the experience they need, the training and support can be taken into consideration. Another positive aspect is when the candidate attends the interview with the immigration officer, being able to speak about the business with confidence and details.
3- Materials and tools provided by the franchisor. When applying for a visa, it is necessary to present some daily materials of the company, such as operating manuals, training, marketing material, etc. The quality, cost and time saving are usually better than when the candidate tries to create those.
4- Name recognition. Eventually, the chosen franchise is one that the immigration officer knows, which tends to be quite positive. He will be far more likely to believe in the success of the venture than one that the entrepreneur plans to open by himself.
The US Government takes typically 1-3 months to decide on the E2 Visa applications, depending on the workload of the branch examining the application and if the immigration officer requests additional documents. The time before applying for the E2 Visa varies greatly depending on each applicant. Especially considering the time to structure the business or acquire it, and to gather the necessary documentation. Some people do the entire process in less than 6 months while others take more time.
Before applying for E2 Visa, the applicant must commit the funds, either by buying an existing business or by setting up a new company to the point it is operating or almost ready to open. The use of escrow accounts subjected to the Visa approval is acceptable.
If the E2 Visa is denied, it is possible to correct what was not satisfactory and apply again. The law does not limit the number of requests for the same business. When it happens, the immigration officer needs to explain the reason, such as insufficient investment or spending, need to hire employees, etc.
The business may also be in operation before obtaining the E2 Visa. In this case, employees or an American partner must be managing the daily operation, until the applicant receives the Visa.
To reduce the financial risk, it is possible to negotiate a partial or full refund of the franchise fee, and sometimes other costs, if the E2 Visa is not approved.