“Significant Revenue” and “Significant Investment” are important terms when it comes to American authorities’ decisions to grant certain visas, particularly visas that allow the creation, development, or take-over of a business.
Category E visas are designed for entrepreneurs and include the idea of “Significant” in terms of sales revenue or invested funds.
It is not enough to simply want to start a business in the United States. You must demonstrate to the appropriate authorities that your business plan is solid, viable, and would have a significant impact on the American economy, particularly employment.
If for example, you plan to establish a business or take over a pre-existing company (click here to learn more about the E-2 Treaty Investor visa), you will be asked to prove that you intend to make an irrevocable and substantial commitment. Realistically, forget about any plans for which the only major expense is your salary. You will need to make a substantial investment in the American economy, by doing things such as hiring employees, paying rent, buying goods…
We often mention the word “substantial,” but do not refer to a clearly defined sum of money. The reason for this is simple: the documents outlining these visas’ requirements do not list any specific numbers. They use the word “Significant,” meaning “a substantial amount” to describe cost.
This is purposefully vague, in order to favor overall quality of a plan rather than setting a strict number that could inhibit good projects from being developed.
If you have the chance to speak with immigration professionals or people who have personally gone through this process, you will get answers anywhere from $40,000 to $150,000. The range is large because each plan is different. Of course, the more you invest, the less you will have to do to justify the soundness of your plan. But it is definitely possible to obtain a class-E visa with $40,000.
This depends on several factors. Some will be in your hands, such as how well-prepared your business plan is and your ensuing conversations during your consular interview. Other factors will be out of your control and will depend on the judgment of the consular officers you meet with.
A project in which you propose to launch a business in a rural area with little industry, and in which the implementation costs are low, might make sense with a limited starting budget. On the other hand, choosing an office building in the middle of Manhattan and hiring high-profile employees would not likely be approved on a $40,000 budget. Therefore, start by creating a clear and thorough business plan to help you clearly explain your project and how the amount you plan to invest will allow you to launch your business, hire employees and be successful…
If you are more interested in an E-1 Treaty Trader visa you will still need to deal with the idea of a “substantial amount” but in this case it is relative to the revenues generated by your company in the US. Similarly, you will need to prove that your company generates enough revenue to justify its presence in the United States. For both cases, the actual amount will depend on the work you do.