Can you buy your pathway to permanent residency or legal time in the United States? In a way, the answer is yes, and a few options that fit that mold are the EB-5 and E-2 visas, also known as investor visas.
You can probably guess that there are stipulations involved with obtaining and using these visas, and you can’t just haphazardly throw money at the U.S. government in order to live and work here. So, what are these two visas, what sets them apart, and how can you use them to create a pathway to permanent residency or business presence in the U.S.?
Let’s take a look at the EB-5 and E-2 visas to find out which option is best for you.
The EB-5 visa, also known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, is a 30+-year-old program created to entice foreign investors to invest in U.S. businesses that will generate at least 10 jobs in the U.S. In exchange for this type of investment into a business that proves successful in job creation, foreign nationals and their families are eligible to gain permanent residency in the U.S.
Yes, this is essentially a pay-to-play program, but it’s one that legitimizes immigrants’ intentions to live and work in the U.S. while being contributing members of society. As you can imagine, there is an entire industry in the U.S. devoted solely to securing foreign investments from eligible foreign nationals. Most of these investment firms work in conjunction with the real estate industry for capital investments in every kind of building structure you can imagine.
If real estate isn’t your passion and you have a desire to invest in or create U.S. businesses for a pathway to permanent residency, the EB-5 could be an incredible opportunity for you and your future.
There are investment minimums that apply for eligibility for this program, and the Trump administration attempted to raise those minimums. That increase was overruled, however, and you can learn more about those investment minimums here.
But, what if you have no real interest in securing residency, but you’d like to invest in a U.S. business and be able to come and go as you please to check on your investments? There’s an option for that, and it comes in the form of E-2 visas.
The E-2 visa, also known as E-2 Treaty Investors, is a program similar to the E-5 visa in that it incentivizes foreign investment into U.S. business. The difference, though, is that this option does not provide a direct pathway to residency.
The E-2 visa is what we call a flexible option—it permits a national of a treaty country to come and go in the U.S. when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Additionally, certain employees of said national or of a qualifying organization may also have the same benefits.
What’s even better about the E-2 visa? There are no investment minimums like those of the EB-5 visa, making this option much more attainable for foreign nationals. The approval for investment and entry into the U.S. for said investment is based on your business plan or idea, but this process requires investment prior to the actual application. Some folks take issue with that, but one of our experienced immigration attorneys can talk you through that process and explain why that leap of faith is beneficial.
This visa option has no limit on renewals, so you could perpetually renew your visa and maintain travel and working life between your country of origin and the U.S.
If you have questions about the EB-5 visa, the E-2 visa, or any other means to be in the U.S. lawfully, please reach out to us today. These are very complicated and complex options, and we’d be more than happy to explore all these avenues with you to find the best choice for you and your investment goals.
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