If you're an entrepreneur considering investing in a US business venture, it is critical to understand the immigration implications of your decision. Two primary paths exist for investors seeking to establish businesses in the US: the EB5 green card and E2 non-immigrant visa. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the E2 visa and what makes it a potentially beneficial choice for international entrepreneurs.
The E2 investor visa is a non-immigrant visa, offering foreign investors the opportunity to live and work in the United States to oversee their investment. However, it does not directly lead to a green card, unlike the EB5 visa. Still, the E2 visa has its unique advantages, which we will explore.
Eligibility Criteria for the E2 Visa
To qualify for an E2 visa:
- You must be a citizen of a country that has a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the US.
- You need to invest a substantial amount of money in a genuine US enterprise. There's no set minimum, but the investment should be significant relative to the business's total cost.
- Your intent must be to develop and direct the operations of the business.
E2 Visa vs. EB5: Key Differences
While both the E2 and EB5 visas cater to investors, there are a few key differences:
Path to a Green Card: The EB5 visa is an immigrant visa that directly leads to a green card, while the E2 is a non-immigrant visa that doesn't provide a direct path to permanent residency. However, E2 visa holders can apply for a green card through other available channels.
Investment Amount: The EB5 visa requires a minimum investment of $1.05 million (or $800,000 in targeted employment areas), whereas the E2 visa has no minimum investment amount stipulated, but it should be sufficient to ensure the business's successful operation.
Job Creation: The EB5 visa requires that the investor's business create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers. Although job creation goes to the “marginality” of your business, the E2 visa has no explicit requirement to create jobs.
Benefits of the E2 Visa
The E2 visa offers several benefits to international entrepreneurs:
- E2 visas are generally processed more quickly than EB5 visas.
- E2 visa holders can travel freely in and out of the US.
- The investor's spouse and children under 21 can also live in the US, and the spouse can apply for work authorization.
Applying for the E2 Visa
Navigating the immigration process can be complex, so it's essential to engage an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the application process.
Remember, the E2 investor visa is just one path to living and working in the US as an entrepreneur. While it does not provide a direct route to a green card like the EB5 visa, it offers flexibility and benefits that may be more suited to your specific circumstances. Moreover, you can renew the E2 an unlimited number of times as long as you continue to direct and develop your business.
If you are an entrepreneur looking to understand your immigration options or if you are ready to start the E2 visa application process, please Ruttle Law today. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys is ready to help guide you on your journey to investing and living in the US. Let's discuss your investment plans and find the best immigration path for you.
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.