In the past, QICMS has written about the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
and how to obtain one through investing in Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), as well as differences between the E-2 Visa and the U.S. EB-5 Program (temporary residency versus permanent residency). In this blog, we will discuss how investors can turn their E-2 Visa into a U.S. Green Card.
For citizens of Russia, China, Brazil, Lebanon and several other Arab states, the U.S. does not provide a Treaty agreement that allows direct access to an E-2 Visa. For this reason, investing in the Caribbean is the next best option for those who do not want to apply for a U.S. Green Card under the EB-5 Program—at least at that particular time. There are many reasons why a person might choose an alternative route to the EB-5 Program, such as the time needed for applying and application processing or challenges someone might encounter in taxation on worldwide income.
Whatever the reason may be, obtaining an E-2 Visa through Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program can be the quicker option for gaining access to the United States, even if it only provides temporary residency. But what if you decide permanent residency in the U.S. is best for you and/or your family? There are a number of ways to turn an E-2 Visa into a U.S. Green Card, and below we will share how.
1. Invest in a Commercial Enterprise for a U.S. Green Card through the EB-5 Program
By now you’re likely grumbling at the thought of investing more money. After all, obtaining citizenship in Grenada and
an E-2 Visa will probably cost a minimum of USD $250,000 to USD $400,000 or more combined.* As mentioned before, an E-2 Visa only provides temporary residency, which cannot be converted to permanent residency on its own. For business-minded investors, this leaves the option of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program as a way to acquire permanent residency—but at a higher cost.
For high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals (U/HNWI), a minimum investment of USD $1 million can be made in a U.S. commercial enterprise that also creates 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers. It’s important to remember that the funds used for this investment must be obtained legally and must be traceable in detail from its source. If added funds are produced from the E-2 Visa, the investor must be paying taxes on the funds prior to being used for the USD $1 million EB-5 investment.
Investors who choose this option must not only maintain direct involvement in their E-2 Visa business to keep their residency status, but must also be directly involved in the commercial enterprise chosen.
*Minimum investment amounts for obtaining citizenship in Grenada begins at USD $200,000 and excludes other fees such as agent and government processing fees. While there isn’t a minimum investment amount for an E-2 Visa, investments generally range from USD $50,000 to upwards of USD $200,000.
2. Invest in a Regional Center for a U.S. Green Card through the EB-5 Program
If USD $1 million is too steep, investors can opt for making a minimum investment of USD $500,000 in a designated Regional Center. Regional Centers are organizations or agencies designed and regulated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the promotion of economic growth.
Like the previous investment option, Regional Centers require the creation of 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers and funds that are legally obtained and traceable. However, this option is a passive investment and does not require the investor to be directly involved in the Regional Center (unlike a commercial enterprise), which can allow holders of an E-2 Visa to better operate their business and maintain residency status.
3. Establishing a New Business Outside of the United States
Applying to the EB-5 Program is not the only option for business-minded men and women seeking a U.S. Green Card. In fact, holders of an E-2 Visa can establish a new business outside of the U.S. and hold a management position for a minimum of one year. Because the E-2 Visa requires the holder to manage his or her business, the holder may not be able to leave the U.S. for one year. In this situation, the holder can allow a spouse to manage the business overseas and later include the E-2 Visa holder in their U.S. Green Card application. Once the one-year requirement is fulfilled, he or she can return as a permanent inter-corporate transferee and apply for permanent residency.
In addition to the options discussed above, there are other ways to turn your E-2 Treaty Investor Visa into a U.S. Green Card, including employer or family sponsorship. While these options are feasible, they can prove to be time-consuming and complicated in meeting necessary requirements. For this reason, we have chosen to focus on business-related options that align with requirements for E-2 Visa investors.
Applying to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program as an E-2 Visa holder is a more practical option for business-minded individuals, but it also requires additional—and larger—investment amounts. For those who want to turn their temporary resident status into a U.S. Green Card (permanent residency), the EB-5 Program is an excellent choice to consider.
For more information on Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program, please click here
For more information on the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please click here
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