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Ask Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. Your Own...
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 105121
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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Hi, we are EU citizens with successful businesses (IT industry)

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we are EU citizens with successful businesses (IT industry) in the UK and in the Czech Republic and are currently in the process of deciding on a type of business that we would like to form in the near future. The new business in the US would ideally employ one or two people plus my husband and thru nonpermanent business visa we would like to relocate the whole family to NY area(me, my husband and our son). We believe that the E2 visa would be perfect for us since we satisfy the basic requirements.

But the main question we have is regarding the money that has to be invested in the US prior to applying for the visa. It is regularly stated that $100 000 would be enough but we wonder (in our situation we have an online business) to what extent the money has to be invested? If, for instance, we have an office lease signed, the money is in the bank account and we establish some partnership agreements which would be generating money for this new US business...would that suffice? I wonder to what extent this has to be evident for the immigration...? Is there a period for which the business has to be running before we apply for the visa?
Hello. Thank you for using our service. All I ask is that before you sign off, you rate me positively. If you are inclined to use the "poor service" or "bad service" options, please ask follow-up questions first and give me a chance. Sometimes the law doesn't have a good solution, but I will try hard to find it if it is available.

Actually, the more common amount is $200,000 or more for the E. Will you continue to run the businesses outside of the U.S.?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Guillermo,

sure I will do my best to give you a great ratings:) OK so then $200k...I read different scenarios all over the internet and even met a French guy who only invested 100k and got the visa, that's why I was talking about 100k.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

but yes, we will continue managing the other two businesses...

Then the better option is the L-1A, not the E-2. In both cases, the law does not state what the minimal amount is. It just says substantial investment. The average investment for an E-1 and E-2 that has a good chance of success is $200,000 or more. The average investment that has a good chance of success for an L-1A is $100,000 or more. The more the investment, the stronger the case. The less the investment, the weaker the case. Attorneys don't like to lose and have upset clients so they don't like taking on clients with small investments that have a high chance of failure. So that's where you get those averages from. The law doesn't talk about that, but attorneys do. Also, imagine that you have $50,000 invested in something and you are denied. Then you have to sell the business or take a loss, etc. So few attorneys take cases with small amounts under those I stated.

Can an investment be made with less and still be successful? Yes, but as I said, the chances of denial are high. So how can one make a smalled investment? Well, let me give in an example. In order to set up a restaurant in New York, because the cost of living is so high, salaries are high, etc., a $200,000 investment probably would not work and the business would most likely fail and as such, a visa would probably be denied.

But if you opened a restaurtant in a small town in let's say Kansas with a $50,000 investment, that might work because salaries are low and cost of living is low, etc.

So I hope you see the differences. Anyway, the investment, whatever it may be, has to be invested and at risk. It cannot be sitting in a bank account (at least not most of it, it is ok to have some as operating funds), and cannot be used to buy a house or buy and sell real estate. It must be an active investment like a restaurant, laundry mat, computer store, whatever is an active investment where you would be involved in the day to day operations. For an L-1A, the business does not have to be the same as the business outside of the U.S. So if you had a restaurant outside, you could have a laundry mat inside the U.S.

As far as what the investment should be in, commercial real estate, products, inventory, suppies, etc. So this becomes difficult if all you have is a few computers, a server and maybe a small office. Your going to have to think bigger, unfortunately. Here are some links below to the L-1A and E-1 and E-2:

The L-1A is better because the investment requirement is less and because it is easy to get a green card later through that category.

Please let me know if you have additional questions and please do not forget to rate my service to you (not the state of the law) as that is the only way that I can get credit for my assistance. Even after you rate the service, I can still answer additional questions for you without additional charge. If you do rate me positively, a bonus is always appreciated. If you would like to request me in the future, just go to Thank you!

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