EB-5 & E-2 Immigrant Visas

Like many countries, the U.S. provides a means of entry for wealthy people who will pump money into its economy. (See the Immigration and Nationality Act, at I.N.A. § 203(b)(5),8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5).) The two most common Immigrant Visas are discussed below. This is a general overview and we would highly recommend getting the advice of a qualified attorney to help you fully understand the requirements for either Visa.

While Quest Franchise Advisory Group is not a law firm, we do have associates in the legal profession who specialize in helping foreigners obtain Immigrant Visa's through investments in U.S. businesses. We also work with U.S. businesses that have been identified as qualifying investments for foreigners looking to obtain an Immigrant Visa.

Quest Franchise Advisory Group can make your dreams of obtaining a U.S. Immigrant Visa a reality. After reading the general overview below, you feel you meet the requirements for either Visa and would like to have a discussion, you can contact us by clicking here or calling 800 401-9154.

General Qualifications for an (Fifth Preference) EB-5 Immigrant Visa

The first Immigrant Visa is known as the employment Fifth Preference or EB-5 Immigrant Visa (which allows permanent residence immediately upon entry to the U.S.). However, applicants for a U.S. green card based on investment must not only invest between $500,000 and $1million in a U.S. business, they must take an active role in that business (though they don’t need to control it).

Green cards for investors are limited in number, to 10,000 per year. Of these, 3,000 are reserved for investors in rural areas or areas of high unemployment. If more than 10,000 people were to apply per year, you would be placed on a waiting list based on your Priority Date (the day you filed the first portion of your application). But don’t worry yet: This 10,000 limit has never been reached. What’s more, only principal applicants are counted toward the 10,000 limit, accompanying relatives are not. Therefore, many more than 10,000 people per year can be admitted with EB-5 green cards.

Get a lawyer for this visa! If you can afford an investment-based green card, you can afford the services of a high-quality immigration lawyer. The EB-5 category is one of the most difficult categories under which to establish eligibility, and absolutely the most expensive. It is well worth paying for legal advice before taking any significant steps toward applying for this Visa. If you try the application once on your own and fail, you may damage your chances of success in the future. What’s more, because you are expected to make the investment first, and apply for the green card later, you could waste a lot of money.

General Qualifications for an E-2 (Treaty Investor) Visa

To qualify for an E-2 (Treaty Investor) Visa, an alien applicant must meet specific requirements:

  1. The alien must be a national of a treaty country (an attorney can help you with a list of which countries qualify
  2. The alien must have invested, or be investing, a substantial amount of capital in an enterprise in the U.S.
  3. The alien must be seeking a U.S. Visa solely to develop and direct this investment enterprise. This can be proven by evidencing that the alien owns at least 50% of the enterprise, or that he/she possesses operational control of the enterprise through a managerial position, etc.

The USCIS considers investment to be the placement of capital, by the treaty investor, into an enterprise with the intention to generate profit. Such investment can include funds or other assets. Significantly, the capital must be subject to loss if the investment fails. Additionally, the treaty investor must prove that the funds were not obtained from criminal activity.

Please note that the USCIS defines a “substantial amount of capital” with consideration to:

  1. The cost of investment compared to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
  2. Whether the investment is large enough to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
  3. Whether the investment is large enough to make it likely that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. Notably, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

Finally, the investment enterprise CANNOT be marginal. In other words, the investment enterprise must possess the present or future potential to generate more than enough profit to provide for the living expenses of the treaty investor and his/her family. Notably, a new enterprise can still qualify even if it does not currently meet this requirement. However, in such cases, the enterprise must prove this capacity within five years of the granting of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

Family Members of E-2 Visa Holders

Certain family members of treaty traders and employees may also accompany the E-2 Visa holder as dependents. Specifically, an E-2 Visa holder may be accompanied or followed by his/her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. The nationalities of the dependents do not need to be the same as that of the treaty trader or employee.