An E-2 Visa allows foreign entrepreneurs to enter the country, provided their home country has a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the United States. The non-immigrant status Visa allows investors to live and work in the U.S. due to an investment in a bona fide enterprise. The visa needs renewal every two years for continued status, but there is no limit on the number of renewals. In the case of a startup company, the investment must be large enough to sustain the venture. Once the business finishes, the investor must return to their country of origin.
To demonstrate the business meets bona fide status, documentation must include:
- An Employer Identification Number (EIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Financial statements from the business
- Quarterly wages or payroll summaries (e.g., W-2, W-3)
- Tax return
- Business license
- Bank statements
- Utility bills
- Escrow documentation or lease documents
E-2 Visa Status
When in the country on an E-2 Visa, the holder is free to travel throughout the country, and in and out of the country. They may work legally but only for the company on the visa which provided entry. A spouse may also work while in the country, and any children may attend public school. However, children must return to their country of origin when they turn 21-years old, no matter if the parent finishes his or her business.
If the investor wants to become a permanent resident of the U.S., he or she will need to obtain green card status.
EB-5 Green Card Status
An EB-5 Green Card allows an investor to immediately gain permanent residency status in the U.S. upon investment. This status is only offered to 10,000 applicants per year, and the investor must be ready to bring between $500,000 and $1 million to invest in a business in the country. The investor must take an active role in the business, overseeing day-to-day activities. This business must directly produce jobs for the U.S. economy and must show the business will be able to hire enough workers to sustain the business model.
The EB-5 applicant does not need to demonstrate any special skills, only carry the needed investment capital. The investor must live in the United States during green card status, and a spouse and dependent children under age 21 may also live and work in the country.
To transition from an E-2 Visa to an EB-5 Visa, holders are often told to invest more money for guaranteed green card status. By investing more money and creating jobs, your chances at permanent status are greater, and processing times decrease. An employer could also sponsor an applicant, significantly speeding up the application process.
EB-5 Regional Center Project
An EB-5 Regional Center sponsors those visa applicants involved with creating jobs, increasing domestic capital and helping to grow the U.S. economy. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designates a regional center through the application. The business must provide a business model and an actual project ready to start. If the business meets the requirements, sponsorship can begin.
For the EB-5 Regional Center Project, the requirements are similar to a standard EB-5 Green Card. Creation of jobs is one of the top criteria for an EB-5 Regional Center Green Card Visa. There are three types of jobs created as a direct result of an investment:
- Jobs created directly from the investment.
- Jobs created because of the investment.
- Jobs created in the geographic area because of the investment.
For example, let’s say the business was a new bank. Direct jobs would consist of the bank manager and the employees in the bank. Indirect jobs would be the construction workers hired to build the bank. The induced jobs would be an increase of food service workers in the area because of the increased number of employees needing food on their lunch break.
EB-5 Pros and Cons
EB-5 Regional Centers offer a lower-cost option for those looking to make a smaller investment. Investors who fall under the EB-5 Regional Centers do not need involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company, only the forming of the policy for the fund. If gaining a green card is the only goal of the EB-5 Visa, Regional Centers make this easy. If the investor plans on participating in the operations of the investment, an EB-5 Green Card is a better option.
Another downside to the EB-5 Regional Centers are some centers do not uphold their end of the bargain, letting paperwork fall through the cracks. When choosing a regional center, be sure to research which centers can help with paperwork for granting unconditional green card status.
Those here on an EB-5 Regional Center Visa can live and work anywhere in the United States. Because they are not tied down to the day-to-day operations of the business, they can live in any geographic area. The spouse and any dependent children under the age of 21 can work and attend school in any area of the country as well. The major downside to an EB-5 Regional Center Visa is the wait time for processing. This can currently take up to two years unless placed on an expedited list.
The EB-5 Visa leads first to a two-year green card, and then a ten-year green card. Once a lawful permanent resident has been in the country for at least five years, he or she may apply for naturalization status. The person must have been present in the U.S. for at least two and a half years, with no single absence longer than 180 days to qualify. They must demonstrate good character, read, write and speak English and pass a short U.S. history test.
AdvantaClean is a great opportunity to grow your business to the size needed for the EB-5 requirements. When you join the AdvantaClean family we want you to exceed in all aspects of life. We are a family and family helps each other, we will help you get you EB-5 Green Card when the time comes. We have the right connections to great immigration lawyers that can help you at every step of the way to your EB-5 Green Card.