E-2 Visa to EB-5 Visa?
The EB-5 immigrant investor program is probably one of the better known paths to permanent residence (i.e. a green card) under U.S. immigration law. Under that program, any foreign person can make a capital investment (cash, equipment, inventory, etc.) of $1 million (or $500,000 in some cases) in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. As long as the investor creates or maintains 10 jobs for U.S. workers and meet a few other requirements, they can be granted permanent residence.
Of course, that $1,000,000 or $500,000 threshold is financially out of reach to the vast majority of people. However, there is a frequently overlooked alternative that can still lead to the EB-5 green card.
E-2 Investor Visa
The E-2 investor visa allows nationals of certain designated countries to come to the U.S. to develop and direct an enterprise in which he or she has invested a “substantial” amount of capital. What constitutes a “substantial” amount of capital varies depending on the nature of the enterprise.
Many foreign entrepreneurs have successfully procured E-2 visas with investments well below $100,000.
E-2 as a Stepping Stone to the EB-5 Visa
E-2 status can be renewed every two years indefinitely. With no limits on E-2 renewals, the foreign entrepreneur can reinvest earnings from the E-2 venture into the enterprise, and thereby slowly build up to the requisite $1 million or $500,000 EB-5 investment over time. Once the EB-5 investment threshold is met, the E-2 holder can seek permanent residence through the EB-5 process.
Successfully navigating this pathway to the EB-5 green card requires strong bookkeeping and accounting practices during the E-2 phase.
It must be clear to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service that the E-2 holder had control of the E-2 enterprises’ profits, and reinvested them back into the company.
Consultation with both immigration and tax/accounting counsel is recommended. Ultimately, the E-2 to EB-5 strategy has the potential to make EB-5 permanent residence a viable option for people who could not otherwise afford it.
E2 Visa or Immigration Questions? Please Contact VERDIN
Isaul Verdin has extensive experience advising multinational companies and entrepreneurs on complex US immigration matters involving investments.
Mr. Verdin focuses on advising companies on structuring entities, acquisitions, and strategic expansion to satisfy US immigration E-1, E2, L1A, L1B, or EB-1 objectives in a variety of fields. These business opportunities include real estate, aviation, technology, manufacturing, retail, luxury goods, and professional services. Additionally, he litigates deportation defense matters throughout the US.
VERDIN boasts a combined 70 years of experience in immigration law. Since its inception, VERDIN has gained a reputation for prevailing in even the most complicated immigration matters.
“As a Board Certified, Immigration Lawyer (Texas Board of Legal Specialization) with over 17 years of experience, my passion is immigration law. We will listen to your concerns, answer all your questions, and expertly guide you through your immigration process.” ~ Isaul Verdin, Founder and Managing Attorney
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