Visa Solutions for Investors and Entrepreneurs

This visa category is ideal for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to work or immigrate to the United States. E-1 Visa and E-2 Visa are non-immigrant visas, while EB-5 visa paves the way for permanent residence. VISA2US has abundant experiences in strategizing solutions and filing application of investors and entrepreneurs visas.

Introduction

The E-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables a trader of a treaty country, which enters into bilateral treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States, and their qualifying employees to enter into the United States to engage in substantial international trade, including but not limited to trade in goods, services, qualifying activities and technology. The amount or number of trade would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis since no specific criteria is set while the trade volume is highly emphasized when reviewing the E-1 Visa application. The E-1 Derivative Visa may cover the E-1 holder’s immediate family as well. With respect to the validity, the E-1 Visa may be issued for an initial stay of up to two years and additionally granted for an extension of up to two years each as long as the E-1 holder maintains the qualification. The E-1 Visa holder must intend to depart the United States or further change visa status upon the termination or expiration of qualification status.

The E-2 Visa allows an investor of a treaty country, which has form a treaty with the United States, to enter and work in the United States for operating and setting up the business. Compared to the treaty countries listed under the E-1 Visa requirements, more countries are qualified for the E-2 Visa. Although no minimum amount is specified by law, the substantial investment requirement varies from business to business. With the same nationality as the investor and holding either a managerial/executive/supervisory position or an essential role requires specialized and unique expertise for the business, non-investor employees of the business are eligible for the E-2 Visa as well. The derivatives of the E-2 holder may be granted the E-2 Derivative Visa, allowing them to live and work with employment authorization in the United States according to a series of requirements. Unless otherwise instructed in certain reciprocity agreements between countries, the E-2 Visa may be granted with a validity period of up to five years and continuously renewed with two-year extensions. Upon completion of the business, the E-2 holder must depart the United States or further change visa status.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Visa grants eligible international investor and his/her immediate family to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States by making a minimum investment of either $500,000 in a targeted employment area in regional center or $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise owned by the investor, and by which directly or indirectly creating or retaining at least ten full-time jobs for American workers within two years following the investment. Unlike the E-1 Visa and E-2 Visa, an annual cap on the number of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Visa is imposed (10,000 EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Visas are issued each year, among which no less than 3,000 shall be reserved for investors in targeted rural or high-unemployment area and another 3,000 shall be set aside for investors in regional centers), resulting in its threatening viability.

Differences among E1, E2 and EB5

Non-Immigrant Visa Immigrant Visa
E1 E2 EB5
Treaty Yes (80 countries) Yes (54 countries) No
Capital N/A but have to be real, active trading company Substantial investment (No specific standard but approx. $100,000 recommended) $500,000 / $1,000,000
Applicant Qualification
  1. Owner of treaty trading company (at least 50% ownership required)
  2. Executor/ Supervisor of treaty trading company
  3. Essential employee with specialized skills of treaty trading company
  1. Active Investor of the business
  2. Manager/ Executor/ Supervisor of the business
  3. Essential employee with specialized skills of the business
Investor who makes necessary investment in a U.S. commercial enterprise, which remains or creates 10 full-time permanent jobs for U.S. employees
Involvement of Investor Full-time; work at parent company is admissible Full-time Limited Partner or Director is acceptable
Employees N/A Some U.S. Employees 10 Full-time Permanent U.S. Employees
Processing Time Domestic USCIS Process: Approx. 6 Months; 15 Days for Premium Processing Service (Additional fee $1,410) Domestic USCIS Process: Approx. 5 Months; 15 Days for Premium Processing Service (Additional fee $1,410) Approx. 19 to 25 Months (while Chinese Investors face longer period due to quota retrogression)
services.investorProcessingTime2E1 U.S. Consulate Process: 2 Weeks to 4 Months Regional Center Designation Application with USCIS: Approx. 18 to 24 Months
Dependents Spouse and Children under 21 Spouse and Children under 21 Spouse and Children under 21; Children over 21 may be protected pursuant to CSPA after application filed
Dependents’ Work Permit Spouse Spouse Spouse and Children under 21
Validity Up to 2 years but may be less pursuant to reciprocity agreements. Unlimited extension is available should qualification is maintained. Up to 5 years but may be less pursuant to reciprocity agreements. Unlimited extension is available should qualification is maintained. 2 year conditional permanent residence, then for life
Individual has to stay in the U.S. No, but active involvement in the treaty trading company required No, but active involvement in the business required Yes, pursuant to conditional permanent residence requirement
Intent to Depart Yes Yes No
Pool Capital Yes, while treaty trader shall hold the majority Yes, while treaty trader shall hold the majority Yes