OK. 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. The reason I ask where you plan to invest is because 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 $150,000 is all you have and you still want to be successful, you may have to open the business in some smaller town in Miami. This is because a $150,000 or so investment would have a much better chance of succeeding in such a location. A $150,000 investment is not, bad, it just could be better.
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, if you will continue to run that business (reactivate it, etc.) , you can invest $120,000 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:
The L-1A has the benefit that once you have it, even though it is limited to a maximum of 7 years, after a couple of years, when you have proven that the investment is solid, that the company has put to work a number of U.S. workers, etc., it is relatively easy to get a green card. Here is a link:
The E-2, on the other hand, has no limit as to how many times it can be renewed, but the company would need to grow to have an investment of $1,000,000 or more ($500,000 or more in a rural or high unemployment area as designated by the U.S. government) AND the company must create jobs for at least 10 U.S. workers. Here is a link:
So the L-1A is the better visa but only if you will put a good number of U.S. workers to work. The E-2 is good if your company will not generate lots of employment at the beginning, but the investment will eventually reach a high amount with 10 U.S. workers employed. 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 to you. 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 http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-guillermosenmartin/ and make sure you type: FOR GUILLERMO on the subject line. Thank you!