It is no secret that the E2 visa and the Eb5 visa are two of the most important visa options available to foreign investors. Understanding the difference between the two can help investors choose the best option for them.
What is the Eb5?
The Eb5 is a terrific vehicle to secure the right to live and work in the US permanently. The Eb5 allows you to turn a $500,000 investment into a green card (permanent resident status). This is by far the fastest road to permanent residency.
Only 10,000 Eb5 green cards are issued every year. This cap has been reached in 2014 and 2015 and is on its way to being reached this year too. Apart from the investment, 10 full time jobs must be created.
The $500,000 investment is sufficient as long as it is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). Otherwise, the requirement jumps to $1 million. TEA are either high unemployment or rural areas.
With an Eb5, most investors become somewhat passive investors. As a result, Eb5 investors do not run a business. If the Eb5 regional center was wisely selected, their involvement in the business aspects of the investment is usually very limited. Besides, if the investment was made in a regional center, the job creation requirement is more flexible. Indeed, such investors can show the creation of works for theoretical workers, as opposed to direct hires.
What is the E2 Visa?
The E2 visa requirements are more ambiguous than its Eb5 counterpart. These ambiguities can be turned to the investor’s advantage by the savvy E2 visa attorney.
The E2 visa has no set monetary amount. An investment significantly smaller than $500,000 may be sufficient, depending on the type of business. Whether the amount you invest is sufficient is hard to determine and should be thoroughly discussed with an E2 Visa lawyer.
Although there is minimum amount of jobs which must be created for an E2 visa, there is a subjective “marginality” requirement. Among other things some jobs will need to be created.
Additionally, only citizens of treaty countries are eligible for E2 Visas.
The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, not a green card. Nonetheless, there is no cap on the number of extensions. As long as the E2 visa requirements are met, the E2 visa can be renewed as many time as necessary to allow you to run the E2 business.
Unlike the Eb5, the E2 visa is meant for entrepreneurs and business owners who will be active in the development and direction of the E2 business. For those investors coming to the US to enable their kids to attend US school or who are coming to retire, the E2 would be a poor choice.
Deciding between the Eb5 or the E2 visa is not always a hard decision. Whether the E2 visa is available to you makes a huge difference. Keep in mind that the following are not treaty countries: India, China (except Taiwan), Russia, and Greece. Similarly, the Eb5 is out of reach for those unable to invest $500,000 or more. Additionally, your willingness and desire to run a business in the US is essential for the E2 visa. At the end of the day, the E2 visa is better-suited for entrepreneurs while the Eb5 is more appropriate for passive investors.