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E-2 Visa: Matter of Lee, 15 I&N Dec. 187 (Regional Commissioner 1975)


The applicant is a Korean national who has applied for an E-2 visa on the grounds that he has significantly invested in a restaurant in San Francisco. He is seeking a visa as an investor himself and has invested $10,000 into the business, whose value is still up for dispute by the court.


  • The applicant has invested $10,000 into the business and plans to invest up to $35,000.

  • The value of the business was originally reported to be $90,000 but the applicant has disputed that to $64,000.

  • Since the applicant is applying for a visa himself, the company that he invests in does not need to be owned by a majority foreign national.


Standard for Consideration

  • The standard for the E-2 visa requires that the investor has a significant amount of funds invested in the business and provides an income that is greater than a living wage; furthermore, the investment cannot be speculatory.

Standard for Denial

  • While the applicant fits into many of the requirements of the E visa, it cannot be proven that the applicant has come to purely direct the operations of the investment.

  • Furthermore, the inconsistency of the reported value of the business and the small proportion of investment that the applicant has committed is grounds for speculation.


The court has denied the applicant’s visa on the basis that the applicant’s current investment in the business is not deemed sufficient to be considered significant. In addition, the applicant’s intent to further down the line invest a larger sum into the business represents an unwillingness to fully commit and a speculatory air to the investment itself.

Finally, the applicant has failed to provide any evidence that the investment will provide an income that is more substantial than a living wage. As a result, the court has decided to dismiss the applicant’s appeal.


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