E-2 Visa vs. EB-5 Visa: Which One Should You Get?


If you’re foreign national planning to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card, there are several ways for you to apply for a green card. You have the option between family-based immigration and employment-based immigration. You can get a green card status if you’re a family member, spouse, or fiance of a U.S. citizen. Certain work visas can be used in obtaining a green card. Specifically for investors, there are two visa options that they can choose from: the EB-5 Investor visa and the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

The fifth preference EB-5 investor visa is for immigrant investors who are interested in investing in new commercial enterprises in the United States that will create new full-time jobs for at least 10 American citizens. In the EB-5 visa, the investor is required to take an active role in the business, although they don’t necessarily have to control it. 

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa, on the other hand, allows a national from a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. if they invest a substantial amount of capital in a business in the United States. Certain employees of that individual or a qualified organization may be eligible for this visa classification as well.  

You might think that there’s not much difference between the two, but choosing the right visa for you will make your stay in the U.S. more fruitful and enjoyable. We have listed below a few things that can help you in your decision. If you need more information, our experienced immigration attorneys in Florida can assist you.  

The  Advantages of an E-2 Visa:

E-2 Visa vs. EB-5 VisaIn an E-2 visa, foreign investors from a treaty country (over 75 countries that maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States, or which maintains a qualifying international agreement with the U.S., or which has been deemed a qualifying country by the U.S. legislation) are allowed to develop, establish, and employ any kind of business in the U.S.

In this type of visa, no minimum amount of investment is required, so long as the investment money is sufficient to develop a strong, successful business. Although, there is an initial investment required that should at least be $150,000 and above for the proposed business plan to progress in line with the State Department’s regulations and criteria.

Qualified investors and employees are allowed to have an initial stay of two years. An adjustment of status, or a request for extension of stay, may be granted in increments of up to 2 years each. There’s also no limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted.

Family members (spouses and unmarried children under age 21) of treaty investors and employees are allowed to follow or accompany them in the U.S. They may apply for an E-2 nonimmigrant visa as dependents, and if their application gets approved, they’ll be allowed to stay for the same period as the investor/employee.

The Advantages of An EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa on the other hand is an immigrant visa that leads to permanent resident status. An investor is required to invest at least $500,000 that must give 10 full-time jobs in a Regional Center project that’s approved by the U.S. government and the USCIS. Through their investment in a Regional Center, foreign nationals become qualified for permanent residence.

To qualify, a foreign investor must prove that their investment money was from legitimate sources such as employment, business, inheritance, investments, or gifts. They must also provide tax documents from their country of residence proving how those funds were acquired.

In an EB-5 Investor Program, the investor can become a permanent legal resident in the U.S. EB-5 investors aren’t required to manage the business, and they’re allowed to work for a U.S. citizen employer, manage their own business, or retire.

In contrast to E-2 investors, EB-5 investors don’t have to leave the country regularly and they can operate their own, personal business without having visa constraints.

The families of an EB-5 green card holder enjoy the benefits of a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. They are free to study or work anywhere, and they qualify for scholarships. 

How a Florida Immigration Attorney Can Help

If you have plans of immigrating to the U.S., our law firm can help with your visa application and green card application. AmLaw Group US immigration attorneys can assist you and answer your questions regarding business immigration laws. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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