EB-5 Visa and E-2 Visa

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Permanent Resident and Temporary Resident Statuses: EB-5 and E-2 Investment Visas

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa are two types of visas offered to foreign nationals who wish to obtain residency in the United States for the purpose of employment or just as a place to live. As there are several differences between the two visas, it is important for interested investors to have information about both types in order to select the visa that is best for them.

The Immigrant Investor Visa (EB-5)

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program offers foreign investors the opportunity to immigrate to the United States by making a substantial investment in a new commercial enterprise that creates a minimum of 10 new jobs for U.S. workers. Investors are able to obtain permanent resident status through this program and can apply for citizenship after a five-year waiting period. This opportunity also extends to immediate family members (spouse and children under age 21).

The minimum investment required for the EB-5 program is $1,000,000 per investor. This requirement drops to $500,000 if the investment is made in a project based in a targeted employment area (TEA), which is an area that is classified as rural or that has an unemployment rate higher than the national average.

The Treaty Investor Visa (E-2)

For foreign nationals who do not wish to fully immigrate but who want temporary residency status, the E-2 Visa might be the way to go. Through this visa program, foreign nationals are able to reside in the United States for a maximum of two years by making an investment to either form a new enterprise or buy an existing business. They are not classified as immigrants, however. When the two years are up, the investor and his or her dependents must leave the United States or request an extension, which can last up to two additional years. There is no limit to the number of extensions that an E-2 investor can request.

The E-2 status is not only granted to the investor but is also granted to the investor’s employees and dependent family members of both investors and employees.

A Comparison Summary of EB-5 and EB-2

  • Resident status: EB-5 grants permanent residence, with the option of eventual citizenship. EB-2 grants only temporary residence for a period of two years, although unlimited extensions can be obtained.
  • Extension of status: EB-5 immigration visas are also available to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21). EB-2 visas are available to immediate family members as well as employees and their immediate family members.
  • Job creation requirement: The investment in the EB-5 program must create at least 10 new full-time jobs to be eligible. There is no such requirement in the EB-2 program