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E2 vs. EB-5: Which Investment Visa is Right for You?

Investor Visa in The United States

The United States offers a wide range of opportunities for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to expand their business horizons. Two visa programs that often attract attention are the E2 Treaty Investor visa and the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa. Each provides unique benefits, but which one is the right fit for you? We compare these two programs in more detail below.

Understanding the E2 Visa

The E2 visa is a non-immigrant, i.e. temporary, visa for citizens of countries that have a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. It allows foreign investors and entrepreneurs to enter and work inside the U.S. based on an investment they will be controlling. It is important to note that the E2 is only available to citizens of certain countries. You can find the most up-to-date list from the Department of State’s website.

E2 Visa Requirements include:

  • The investor, either a real person or corporate entity, must be a national of a treaty country.

  • The investment must be substantial, with the funds committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to commence the successful operation of the enterprise.

  • The investor must have possession and control of the funds, as well as placing the investment “at risk” in the commercial sense.

  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise, and not be a passive investor.

Remember, the E2 visa does not directly lead to a green card but can be extended indefinitely.

Deciphering the EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa, on the other hand, is an immigrant visa. This means it offers a path to permanent residency or a 'green card.' It was created to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.

Investing in USA with a Visa

EB-5 Visa Requirements include:

- Investing $1.05 million in a new commercial enterprise or $800,000 if the investment is in a targeted employment area (TEA) – a rural area or area with high unemployment. NOTE: these amounts are subject to increase based on inflation.

- Creating or preserving at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

E2 vs EB-5: Which is Right for You?

Choosing between the E2 and EB-5 visas depends on your long-term goals:

- If your primary goal is to live and work in the U.S. without necessarily seeking permanent residency, the E2 visa may be the right choice. It requires a smaller investment and is typically processed faster.

- If your goal is to become a permanent U.S. resident, then the EB-5 visa may be a better fit, despite its higher investment requirement and longer processing times.

Navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law can be challenging. With intricate requirements, both the E2 and EB-5 visa demand thorough planning and precise execution.


If you're a foreign investor or entrepreneur eager to establish a presence in the U.S., Ruttle Law, PC can help. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys is ready to guide you in determining the visa route that aligns with your personal and business goals. Get in touch today to explore your options and take the first step toward your U.S. journey.


Note: This blog post provides general information and is not a substitute for legal advice. Always consult with an immigration attorney for advice on your specific situation.

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