Yes - I have a business I have been running for a number of years.
Shelley Scales Design Associates that I will continue to run and be profitable while I am in the US.
I am not sure what that means - but there will be start up costs and costs of personel and overhead to run the business - $55,000 at least, non to mention the cost of the labour and materials I will be buying and selling from the us to the us client.
The problem is that while the law only says, "substantial investment", for the E-2 visa they usually look for around $200,000 or more. This is because anything less is a weak case that could easily fail. And they will not approve a visa for a business that they think will easily fail and you would end up being out of status. If you go to a big city, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, etc., where most people want to live, the cost of living and doing business is much higher. If $55,000 is all you have and you still want to be successful, you may have to open the business in some small town in the middle of nowhere that has a very low cost of living and doing business, like maybe a small town in North or South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, etc. This is because a $55,000 or so investment would have a much better chance of succeeding in such a location and honestly, $55,000 even in a small town would most likely not work for an E-2, but may work for an L-1A.
Usually attorneys do not take cases of E visas for less than a $200,000 investment because they do not want to risk losing the case and having an upset client because the client has to have the money already invested and at risk and if it is denied, they have to try to sell the business or something to try to recoup their investment.
Here is a link to the E-2 if you want to read more:
Since you own a business outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year and will continue to run that business, you can invest $100,000 or more in a U.S. business (doesn't have to be the same business, but must be related by ownership) and you can try for an L-1A visa. Here is a link to that, but keep in mind that both businesses have to be run and should be successful. You can't just come to the U.S. and forget about the business outside and let it die:
Again, if you make the investment in a business in a small town, $55,000 might work, but there are no guarantees. And yes, you can have partners that can invest in the business, but the money that you personally invest in the business should be $100,000 or more.
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