What Actually Is The Temporary E-1/E-2 Status?
E-1/E-2 is a temporary visa status that allows investors and traders from nationals of treaty countries to temporarily stay in the US to invest, facilitate, or develop direct international trade between the US and the treaty country. Not all countries have treaties; some only have E-1 or E-2, some may have both, and some may have none.
What Is EB-5 Lawful Permanent Residency Then?
EB-5 is a path to obtaining lawful permanent residence (aka green card status) through investment in the US. Unlike the temporary E visa status, the EB-5 is permanent, and it is also a stepping stone to citizenship.
Does E-1/E-2 Visa Have A Nationality Requirement Regarding Business Ownership?
Yes, the E visa requires that at least 50% of the business be owned by treaty nationals, which means people who have passports from the country with which we have the E visa treaty. Furthermore, those nationals need to be living and working outside the US or else have E status if they are in the US. Conversely, EB-5 does not have any kind of ownership requirement. With EB-5, it does not matter if only a small percentage of the project is owned by foreign investors.
Do These Programs All Require A Specific Dollar Amount To Qualify To Apply?
E-1 requires substantial trade, but imposes no specific dollar amount. E-2 requires a substantial investment, but imposes no specific dollar amount. In contrast, the EB-5 program normally requires an investment of one million dollars, but that amount may be lowered to $500,000 for certain qualifying investments, such as those made through qualifying regional center programs or an area of high unemployment.
Do These Programs Place Any Restriction On The Source Of Funds Used To Support The Investment?
For E-1 and E-2 (and specifically the E-2 treaty investor visa), possession and control of the investment funds is sufficient. For example, if someone owns the stock of a company and moves to have that company transfer funds on their behalf, that should be sufficient. In contrast, the EB-5 requires that the investment funds belong to the investor personally. This means if someone owns 100% of a company, he or she cannot just have those funds transferred. Instead, the investor would need to withdraw the funds from the company, pay tax on them, put them in a personal account, and then invest them in the EB-5 investment in order to qualify.
Do These Programs Require A Specific Number Of Employees?
E-1 and E-2 do not require a specific number of employees. An E-2 business cannot be what is called “marginal,” meaning only of a size to provide a living to the investor and his or her immediate family. A treaty trader may have a perfectly approvable E-1 case with no employees, but it is usually better to have a few employees. It is important to keep in mind that these matters are going to be determined on a case by case basis.
The EB-5 law requires that the business create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.
Do Numerical Quotas Apply?
EB-5 is subject to a specific numerical quota, but E-1 and E-2 are not.
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