E2 Visa Investor Countries – Latin America
By: Isaul Verdin, Esq.
Multinational companies and entrepreneurs continue to look to the U.S. as a source for growth opportunities. Given the U.S. geographic proximity to Latin America, investors and entrepreneurs from Latin America consider the U.S. as the logical next step for international expansion.
The U.S. State Department’s Visa Office has published statistics for 2016, and the numbers are encouraging as they reflect continued growth for the E2 visa category.
The following chart depicts the total volume of Investor E2 visas that the U.S. State Department issued in each of the last 5 years ending in 2016 with 44,243 visas:
Over the last few years economic, political, and security concerns have motivated Latin American entrepreneurs to seek a new venue to live and conduct business. These entrepreneurs have utilized the E2 visa strategy to transfer their business interests and families to the U.S.
Top 4 Latin American Countries Using E2 Visa Strategy
Below is a chart that reflects the Top 4 Latin American countries that utilize the E2 visa strategy and their respective volumes:
E2 Visas Issued – Rankings
#1. MEXICO. Mexican entrepreneurs have consistently utilized the E2 visa strategy, and held top positions in worldwide rankings for E2 visa recipients. However, in recent years there has been a spike in this visa category with a total number of 2,621 E2 visas issued in 2016. This spike can be attributed to the Mexican drug cartels targeting wealthy Mexican entrepreneurs for extortion and kidnappings. As a result, these entrepreneurs are fleeing by the numbers.
#2. ARGENTINA. This South American country has experienced intellectual and capital flight as entrepreneurs exit to search for other markets given that Argentina has been digging out of a strong recession. In 2016 the US State Department issued 683 E2 visas.
#3. COLOMBIA. Dramatic reductions in oil production have severely impacted the Colombian economy as it has historically relied heavily on the oil sector. Consequently, Colombian entrepreneurs involved in the oil sector are now looking to the U.S. for opportunities. In 2016 the State Department issued 465 E2 visas in Colombia.
#4. VENEZUELA. Although the U.S. does not have a bilateral investment treaty with Venezuela, the US Embassy in Caracas issued 458 E2 visas in 2016. This phenomenon is largely caused by two factors: First, many Venezuelans possess dual nationality, i.e., Venezuela and another E2 visa treaty country; and second, there is an economic meltdown in the country. Entrepreneurs are fleeing the country as quickly as they can secure travel arrangements. Conditions there can be described as a dire humanitarian crisis.
VERDIN regularly tracks economic and legal conditions in Latin America to advise clients on E2 visa strategies.
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Mr. Verdin has extensive experience advising multinational companies and entrepreneurs on complex US immigration matters involving investments. He focuses on advising companies on structuring entities, acquisitions, and strategic expansion to satisfy US immigration E1, E2, L1A, L1B, or EB-1 objectives in a variety of fields including real estate, aviation, technology, manufacturing, retail, luxury goods, and professional services. Additionally, he litigates deportation defense matters throughout the US.
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