A US E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that doesn’t give you an opportunity to obtain a permanent residence in the US. In 2017, the US issued 43,673 visas to foreign investors. Investors from Japan occupy the first place (the number of issued E-2 visas is 14,360), the second place is occupied by Germans with 4,267 visas, and the third by Englishman with 2,862 visas.
If you as a holder of an E-2 visa wish to obtain a green card, there are at least 3 ways to do so. In this article you’ll find answers to the following questions:
- How to convert my E-2 visa to a green card?
- What should I, an investor with an E-2 visa, be aware of before obtaining a permanent residence in the US?
- How to obtain an E-2 visa if I’m not a citizen of a country that does not have an investment treaty with the United States?
Option number 1: Get an EB-5 green card by investing in a new business
To obtain an EB-5 visa, an E-2 visa holder must invest even bigger amount of money. In numbers it will look like this:
- for an E-2 work visa, one must invest a certain amount of money (there is no minimum amount, so let’s say, it’s around $200,000) and create at least 5 jobs in a 5-year time;
- for an EB-5 visa, one must invest $1 million in a new enterprise and create at least 10 jobs.
The difference is quite big, however, holders of an EB-5 are able to apply for a permanent residence. Please note that funds should come from outside the USA, be clean and can be easily traced to the source. The funds generated inside the US can only be used if they originally were paid out to the investor who has already paid taxes on the amount used to create a new business for an EB-5 visa.
Option number 2: Get an EB-5 visa by investing in a regional center project
There is another way to obtain an EB-5 that requires half of a million. This option is almost the same as the previous one, however, this time the investment amount should be injected into a regional center project ($500,000). The number of jobs is still 10 and only qualified US workers can be hired for these positions. The source of funds also should be clean and easy to trace.
Option number 3: Invest in creating a new business outside the US
The third option takes more effort than the two mentioned above. The E-2 holder could create a company outside the US, work as a manager there for at least a year, and finally come back to the US as a permanent inter-corporate transferee.
In case you can’t do it yourself, you could ask your spouse to run the foreign company, and then come in on the green card. This would allow your spouse to include you, the E-2 holder, in the application for a permanent residency.
E-2 to green card: Things to remember
Try to keep in mind that becoming a holder of green card you will have to follow some rules. First of all, you must spend a significant amount of time inside the US, an E-2 visa doesn’t have such requirements. In case you have to spend a significant amount of time outside the US because of your business, you might face risks. As US immigration issues a green card only when you can prove you are interested in building roots in the country. Otherwise, you may lose your green card.
Second thing to remember is that you will have to leave the country if you were staying in the United States under an E-2 visa and re-enter on the green card.
In any case, if you want to obtain a US permanent residency, it’s better to consult with a lawyer and review your options.
How to obtain a US E-2 visa indirectly
If your country of origin doesn’t have an investment treaty with the United States, for example, you are from China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Dubai, etc., you can’t apply for an E-2 visa. However, there is a way out. It would take quite a bit of your time and funds, but, on the other hand, it would help you to avoid being wait-listed for an EB-5 visa. Investors from India, China and several other countries have to wait years before their applications would be processed. So, it’s possible to obtain the Grenada citizenship by investing in real estate or by donating at least $150,000 in a state fund. Citizens of Grenada are eligible to apply for an E-2 visa. Thus, becoming a Grenadian citizen would make you eligible as well. You can find more information about the citizenship by investment program of Grenada on the main page.