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How much have you invested so far in the U.S. company? Will you be able to show where the additional funds not-UK company related came from?
I have invested around $50K in the US enterprise.
I can also show the additional funds aside from the UK company no problem (the funds were from previous years of the company paid to me and put aside as savings)
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that your UK business does not have to necessarily show success and continued operation as if you were doing an L-1A visa. More than anything they are looking for proof as to where the funds are coming from since they need to make sure that funds are legitimate and not connected to terrorist or trafficking organizations. If you can show the source of your funds being legitimate from your company, personal funds (where those personal funds come from), etc., then you should be ok. The bad news is that $50,000 is a small amount of money compared to what they usually look for. What will be the actual final amount invested when you apply for the visa? In what city or state are you establishing the business?
It will be established in the state of Texas. Now since it is an IT business, there is not much investment involved...a few bits of equipment, software, legal fees, office space - thats all that is needed. I know there is no specified amount but as long as it is good enough to at least get things started up - I see no problem, right?
I have heard that some people have gotten away with even less amount than this.
Yes, unfortunately, problem. You are correct, some people get through with less than that investment, but it is very rare. Do you really want to put in $50,000 with a high chance that you will be denied and have to sell everything to try to recoup the investment and hope you don’t take a loss? Or would you rather invest a higher amount to have a much higher chance of success to not have to go through such a headache? I'm just letting you know because I care. I could just give you the basic answer as a response and you would go away happy, but I would feel bad that I didn't warn you of the pitfalls. Know what I mean?
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That's what I was afraid of. 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. 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, Atlanta, Chicago, or like you said, big cities in Texas liks Dallas, Houston, Austin, etc., where most people want to live, the cost of living and doing business is much higher. If $50,000 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 $50,000 or so investment would have a much better chance of succeeding in such a location.
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:
And here is another good link to what the consular officer looks at:
Again, you won’t find it says $200,000, but with a $50,000, I don’t think it is a high chance of success.
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, this doesn’t have to be $100,000. You can do it for less, but with the L-1A, they like to see a good number of jobs created for U.S. workers. So probably 4 or more at the beginning. The L-1A also has the advantage of getting you a green card quickly. Here is a link:
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