Differences Between EB-5 and E-2 Visas

Both the EB-5 and E-2 visas are available to investors to gain permanent or temporary residency in the U.S.  Although both visas are investment-related, they have very different effects and requirements.  An investor should examine the visa rules as well as the business model to determine which visa to apply for.

What is an E-2 Visa?

An E-2 visa is a temporary visa.  To receive an E-2 visa, your country of citizenship must be part of the reciprocal commercial treaty with the U.S.  Similarly, If your country is one of the E2 treaty countries, then you may be eligible for an E-2 visa.  Likewise, it is important to note that an E-2 visa does not automatically mature into a green card.

If you are willing to take on the exciting process of creating this bona-fide enterprise, then the next step is to look at your financial situation and determine how much of an investment you are able to make. Although it is important to be financially prudent so that you will have funds to both support yourself and your family and reinvest in the business, it is also important to invest as much into the enterprise at the beginning as possible.

Typically, to obtain and E-2 visa, you must make a “substantial” investment in a  U.S. company, have a temporary stay in the U.S., and create employment.  The Department of State defines “substantial” as the amount of capital the business needs.  This can be proven by a comprehensive business plan or other documentation.  The USCIS grants E-2 visas on a case by case basis and monetary assets are not necessarily the only means to obtain an E-2 visa.  Intellectual property or equipment may be sufficient as an investment in the business.

What is an EB-5 Visa?

An EB-5 visa provides conditional residency that matures into permanent residency.  The requirements for an EB-5 visa are (1) an investment of at least $500,000 or $1,000,000; and (2) creation of 10 full-time permanent jobs.  The conditional residency period is two years, which then matures to permanent residency.  Typically, the application process for an EB-5 visa is longer than an E-2 visa.

If you are an investor seeking to attain either temporary or permanent residency in the U.S. please contact us.

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