Turning an E-2 Visa into a Green Card

There are a lot of reasons that people may be hesitant to commit their time, effort and money into a new company. After all, start-ups can be daunting. One thing that shouldn’t worry an entrepreneur is Visa issues.

In recent years, foreign entrepreneurs have increasingly turned to the E-2 Visa to secure status to run their US company. In FY 2018, 41,181 E-2 Visas were issued compared to just 36,825 in FY 2014. With H-1B denial rates exceeding 30% in the first quarter of FY 2019, E-2 Visas are likely to continue to increase in popularity. The common route to a green card from the E-2 is the EB-5. So, let’s take some time to review these concepts.

What are the differences between the E-2 and the EB-5?

An E-2 is a non-immigrant visa granted to those who make a substantial investment in a US enterprise and are seeking entry to the US to direct and develop the enterprise. The EB-5 is more commonly known as a green card. Unlike the E-2, the EB-5 has minimum requirements for the amount of investment made and number of jobs created. EB-5 candidates do not need to be “directing and developing” the enterprise like E-2 candidates do.

How much do I have to invest for an EB-5 Green Card?

A new EB-5 rule (taking effect November 21, 2019) raised the minimum investment amounts for an EB-5 green card. For investments in a TEA (“target employment area”), the minimum requirements were raised from $500,000 to $900,000 and for non-TEA investments it was raised from $1 million to $1.8 million.

Should I apply for an E-2 or an EB-5?

Due to EB-5 quota backlogs and long processing times, the E-2 is the popular choice for a quick solution. The E-2 has faster processing times and is more flexible. However, the green card provides more security and remains a highly sought-after option.

Can I transition from an E-2 to an EB-5?

Yes. An E-2 Visa holder can be the beneficiary of an immigrant Visa petition. Those who plan to transition from an E-2 to an EB-5 should be aware of the EB-5 requirements at the time of their E-2 application. Preparing for the EB-5 application early on will make the process much simpler down the road. Things to consider for the future EB-5 application:

  • The business plan requirements are more stringent for an EB-5 petition (see the following).
  • Foreign employees with E-2 status based on the primary applicant’s status will need to find another Visa option if the primary applicant transitions to a green card.
  • The source of funds needs to be more heavily documented for an EB-5.
  • 10 jobs per investor need to be created for an EB-5.

Any questions? Give Silver Immigration a call.