As an investor, you have two options whereby you can reside in the US
EB5 Investor Visa
The EB-5 visa gives permanent U.S. residency to those investing in government-approved projects across the United States of America. The EB5 investment visa can be beneficial as it grants access to the U.S. education system, the right to live, retire, work and study in the USA, the ability to receive investment back upon the completion of the project and residency for the investor, any children (under 21) and their spouse.
The main applicant must reside in the USA for 6 months per year.
E2 Investor Visa
An effective alternative to the EB5 is the E2 visa. However, the E2 can only be obtained by citizens of countries holding an E2 treaty with the USA. This includes options such as Grenada, Montenegro and Turkey.
There are quite a few major countries that DO NOT have E2 treaties with the United States, including China, Russia, Brazil and India. Investment for citizenship in these countries does not entitle the holder to apply for an E2 visa.
While this route to residency can be faster and cheaper than EB5, a key difference with the E2 is that it is a non-immigrant visa, meaning unlike the EB5, it cannot lead to a Green Card. They can, however, be renewed indefinitely
Differences between EB5 and E2
· Nonimmigrant vs. Immigrant Visa
· Nationality Requirement
· Minimum Investment Amount
· Job Creation
· Source of Funds
· Work Authorization
1. Immigrant status
The first major difference between the E2 visa and the EB5 visa is that the E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, and the EB5 visa is an immigrant visa. Nonimmigrant visas are temporary and do not directly lead to a green card. Immigrant visas lead to a green card and lawful permanent residence in the US.
With an EB-5 visa, you are eligible to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident. With an E2 visa, you can still live and work in the United States while you are in lawful status, but your visa will not directly lead to a green card. In order to go from an E2 visa to a green card, you will need to “adjust status” to an immigrant visa status, or apply for an immigrant visa.
2. Nationality Requirement
The next major difference between the EB5 visa and the E2 visa has to do with your nationality. The E2 visa is only available to people possessing the nationality of a country with an E2 treaty with the US.
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Taiwan, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
There are quite a few major countries that do not have E2 treaties with the United States, including China, Russia, Brazil, India. This means that nationals from countries that do not have E2 treaties with the US are not eligible for an E2 visa.
On the other hand, the EB5 visa has no nationality requirement. You can be a national from any country and be eligible for an EB-5 visa.
3. Minimum Investment Amount
For an EB-5 visa, you are required to invest a minimum of $1 million in a US business. If you invest in a “targeted employment area” you can qualify to invest a reduced amount of $500,000.
On the other hand, the E2 visa does not have a set minimum investment amount. To get an E2 visa, you need to invest a “substantial” amount in a US business. The regulations do not clearly define a set minimum amount that is considered substantial.
The minimum investment amount for an E2 visa is based on a “proportionality test.
For lower cost businesses, your investment is expected to be a larger proportion of the total established business cost. For higher cost businesses, your investment can be a lower proportion of the overall established business cost.
4. Job Creation
The next major difference between the E2 visa and the EB5 visa has to do with job creation.
To get an EB5 visa, you are required to create 10 full-time jobs for US workers. These jobs must be created before you get your permanent green card.
To get an E2 visa, there is no formal requirement for you to create jobs. Instead, to get an E2 visa, you must show that the business you are investing in is not “marginal.”
5. Source of Funds
For the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa, you are required to show that your investment capital was earned lawfully. While both the E2 visa and the EB5 visa require that your funds come from a lawful source, the difference is in how strictly this requirement is enforced.
To get an EB-5 visa, the lawful source of funds requirement is scrutinized more heavily than for an E2 visa. For an EB5 visa, you should be prepared to provide a lot of documentation proving exactly how your funds were obtained.
It takes much longer to get an EB5 visa than it takes to get an E2 visa. The E2 visa can be processed in as little as 15 days with premium processing. The EB-5 visa currently takes about 2 years to process
7. Work Authorization
Both visas authorize you to work in the US. The difference is in the extent to which you can work.
With an E2 visa you, as the principal E2 investor, can only work for the E2 company. With an EB5 visa, you can work for any company. For an E5 visa, you are still required to “engage in the management” of the EB-5 business. But you can work for other companies as well