New York Immigration

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa – Why is it a Good Option for you?

By Tishita Agarwal

If you are looking for a visa that will allow not only you, as an investor in an US business, but also your family and employees to enter the US, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa might be the right fit for you. The E-2 visa is a long term non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals investing in an US business to direct and develop the business while living and working in the US. 

Financial investment

One of the main advantages of the E-2 programme is that there is no minimum threshold for the amount of money that must be invested – it should just be substantial. This means that it should be enough to ensure the investors’ continuing interest in developing and running the business. It is a requirement, however, that the business should be fairly profitable in the duration of your stay, should employ people and create income. Thus, passive investments in stocks or property will not qualify for this programme. The business also must be registered as an E-2 Treaty Investor business before you apply for an E-2 visa.

Treaty Countries

Since this is a treaty investor business, only citizens of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation can qualify for this programme. If the business is owned and managed by individuals of two different E-2 eligible countries then both may be able to enter the US under this programme. The list of countries that are eligible for the E-2 programme can be found here.

Employees and Dependents

While there is no minimum amount set for investment, it is a requirement that the applicant should own at least 50% of the business. However, another advantage if this programme is that in larger businesses, it is possible for employees with managerial, executive, or essential skills to be allowed entry. While some employees may prefer to travel on the L-1 visa as there are higher chances of acquiring a green card in the future, it can also be beneficial to travel through the E-2 programme as you do not have to show employment of one year prior to the application. Along the same lines, spouses and children under the age of 21 can also accompany you to the US via the E-2 dependent visa route. While your spouse can also be allowed work authorization dependent on their visa, children will not be qualified to obtain a work visa. However, they can attend the school of their choice, and in some states, also qualify for in-state tuition. 

Duration of stay

When you first apply for the E-2 visa, if it gets approved, it directly gets approved for two years, but the visa can be extended indefinitely as long as the business continues to operate as relatively profitable. Furthermore, during your stay, you can live outside of the US for an indefinite amount of time if you may choose, and can re-enter the country at any time while your visa is still active. This is an advantage that most visa programmes do not have – you would otherwise be required to live in the US for at least a certain period of time, and would not have as much freedom to travel as the E-2 visa programme offers.

An often overlooked advantage of applying for the E-2 visa is that you get to work for and develop a business that you have invested your money in. Since the E-2 visa needs for you to own at least 50% of the business, you get to make your own decisions regarding how to run the business, which is not a luxury a lot of investors applying for an EB-5 visa through a regional centre get. 

What if I am not from an E-2 country?

Only people from E-2 Visa Countries are eligible for an E-2 Visa. But if you would like to apply for E-2 and you are not from an E-2 Treaty, you can do so by first becoming a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country. Click here to learn whether your country has an E-2 Treaty with the US. Davies & Associates is experienced at offering this two-stage process to the E-2 Visa. The fastest and most cost-effective way to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country is via the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme or Turkey’s Citizenship by Investment Program. Both countries offer citizenship within a matter of months starting from $150,000 for a donation and $220,000 for an investment in Grenada (Turkey’s program is slightly more expensive – click the links for full details). Another alternative could be the L-1 Visa. Please contact us for a consultation to explore all your immigration options.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


7 Reasons you should apply for Portugal’s Golden Visa

Portugal offers a Golden Visa (residency through investment) program and recently dropped the amount of time you need to hold residency before applying for citizenship from six years to five.

  1. Property is an acceptable form of investment for the Golden Visa program

The minimum investment requirement in a Portuguese property depends upon where the property is located and how old it is. This ranges from €280,000 for a property over thirty years old in a low-density area up to €500,000 for a property newer than 30 years and not located in a low-density area.

For the full list of investment amounts for property, please click here.

2. Lots of different types of investment are eligible for Portugal’s Golden Visa Program

In addition to property, applicants for Portuguese Residency by Investment can include capital transfers into Portugal of at least €1 million; starting a business and creating ten jobs; acquiring a Portuguese business for €350,000; or making a donation of at least €250,000. The investment amounts can vary based upon different incentive structures and we advise you to speak with our attorneys to discuss the various options. For example, if you open a business in a low-density area then you are only required to create eight jobs.

3. There are low physical presence requirements rates Portuguese residents through the Golden Visa

Portugal requires a short stay of 14 days every two years to maintain residency. Given its beautiful beaches, dynamic cities, and stunning countryside, this requirement is not especially burdensome. If you require a lower physical presence requirement, you should investigate that Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program, which does not require you to ever visit the island even once you hold citizenship.

4. Preferable tax rates for Portugal Golden Visa Holders

Unless you spend more than half the year in Portugal you will not be liable for normal Portuguese taxes after obtaining the Golden Visa. Since you only need to be physically present for a fortnight every two years, you can easily stay below this taxation threshold. That said, if you do wish to move your primary tax residency to Portugal, the country offers tax benefits and income tax exemptions for non-habitual residents.

5. You can include your family in the Portugal Golden Visa Program  

The primary applicant for Portugal’s Golden Visa can also include a spouse, children under  18, unmarried children under 26 still in education, and parents over the age of 65. These family members do not require their own separate application.

6. Portugal has a strong passport

If you hold residency for five years, then you become eligible for a Portuguese passport. It is one of the strongest in the world with visa-free access to over 135 countries. Portuguese citizens can travel unencumbered in the Schengen travel zone and are eligible for a visa waiver to the United States. Portugal surprisingly does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the United States and while there are absolutely no guarantees we think that it may be one of the next countries to sign one. An E-2 Treaty Investor Visa can move to the US for the purposes of investing in and running a business.

7. Access to the entire European Union

Portugal has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 1986. The EU guarantees four fundamental freedoms across all 27 members: goods, people, services and capital. This means that once you hold Portuguese citizenship (after holding residency for at least five years) you can live and work in any other EU member state. So if you ultimately wish to live in Berlin, Paris, Dublin or Stockholm, Portgual could be the gatway to achieving that aim

More about Portugal’s Golden Visa Residency-by-Investment Program

Portugal has operated its Golden Visa Residency-by-Investment Program for almost ten years. Thousands of people have successfully obtained residency and subsequently citizenship in that time. Donation starts at €250,000 and investment from €280,000. For more information please click here.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 Investor Visa

Direct EB-5 Visa at USD 500,000 – OPEN TO NEW INVESTORS

Did you know that the Direct EB-5 Program remains open to new investors at the $500,000 minimum investment amount? 

But hurry. The time to file at this lower rate is likely to be limited. 


The EB-5 Regional Center program has lapsed because Congress was unable to agree a unanimous vote to reauthorize before the July 4th recess. We expect Congress will reauthorize the program, although the exact timing of this is uncertain.

Unlike the Regional Center program, Direct EB-5 is permanently authorized and remains open to new investors. Because of a recent court ruling, the minimum investment level has dropped back to $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area.

When Congress votes to reauthorize the Regional Center program it is likely that it will reinstate a higher investment level, so the window to file Direct EB-5 at $500,000 is limited. Webinar: Direct EB-5 FAQs Answered

Webinar on Direct EB-5 Visa for Green Cards

Davies & Associates Chairman Mark Davies will be answering all your questions about Direct EB-5 on a webinar this week.


Thursday, July 15 at 9:00 AM EST | 6:30 PM IST 

Click here to sign up

Mark will be joined by Samuel B. Silverman and Michael Schoenfeld, the Managing Partners of EB5 Affiliate Network who will discuss pre-packaged “off-the-shelf” Direct EB-5 options.* 

*D&A is an independent law firm, please note that participation in a joint webinar is not an endorsement of any commercial product.

EB-1, E-2 Visa for NIEs during Covid

Travelling to the United States During Covid: Extension to National Interest Exception (NIEs)

Life in America is returning to something resembling normality following a successful roll out of Covid-19 vaccines. However, disruption continues at the border with travelers from Europe (Schengen area), the UK, Ireland, China, India, Iran, Brazil and South Africa still banned unless you can obtain a National Interest Exception (NIE).

While restrictions may soon lift on the UK and Europe, the entry restrictions on the other countries show not sign of abating in the short term. Consequently, the State Department has extended the validity of NIEs to twelve months, permitting multiple entry to the US, so long as they are used for the purpose for which they are granted.

National Interest Exceptions permit travel to the United States, despite border restrictions. As the name suggests, you must be able to prove that your visit is in the US national interest.

Acceptable definitions of national interest include:

  • Directing significant economic activity
  • Journalist work
  • Supporting public health initiatives
  • Extraordinary humanitarian grounds

We have helped multiple clients obtain National Interest Exceptions permitting them to travel to the United States. Many of our E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, L-1 Employee Transfer Visa, New Office L-1 Visa and EB-1c International Manager or Executive Green Card clients may be eligible for National Interest Exceptions (NIEs). The same may be true for people on talent visas, such as the O-1 Visa, the EB-1a Visa, the EB-NIW, EB2 Visa, and other categories.

This issue only affects people coming from certain countries who are not permitted entry to the United States based upon high levels (current or historic) of Covid-19. As the pandemic evolves, new countries may be added to this list, whilst others may be removed. The countries as of today (July 8th) are:

  • China,
  • Iran,
  • Brazil,
  • South Africa,
  • the Schengen Area (Europe),
  • the United Kingdom,
  • Ireland,
  • India

Contact us to discuss how this affects you. Do not arrange travel to the US if you are either in or planning to visit any of the countries on the list above.

Read the State Department’s post.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


TN Visa to E-2 Visa for Green Card

TN Visa to E-2 Visa to Green Card: Our Surgeon Client’s Journey

Davies & Associates just secured approval of an EB-NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition for a doctor of plastic and reconstructive surgery from Canada. We initially helped him move to the US on a TN Visa, then switch to an E-2 Visa, and now he finally has a Green Card approval through the NIW route.

Immigration is an ongoing process, and obtaining a visa is often just the start of that process. Our client’s require continuing support from our firm with extensions, renewals, adjusting status, transitioning to a Green Card, setting up a business, filing taxes, and more. At Davies & Associates we forge partnerships with our clients for the long term.

Client Journey

The visa history of the client shows how we as a firm worked closely with the client to achieve his US immigration goals.

  1. First, we secured TN for the client as a Management Consultant. When he first came to us, he needed to obtain a Social Security Number to be able to obtain his license to practice as a doctor in the US.
  1. Thereafter, we worked on the client’s E-2 Treaty Investor visa application by setting up his own clinic here in the US. As part of his E-2 investment, he contributed his equipment from Canada.
  1. While here in the US on E-2 visa, we filed the EB-NIW petition for him which was just approved. We will now work with the client in filing his application to adjust status.

The client specializes in hand surgery, craniofacial surgery, breast surgery, microsurgery, pediatric plastic surgery, burn surgery, cosmetic surgery, nerve surgery, and skin cancer.  His research is applicable to a broad range of plastic and reconstructive surgery conditions and can have a profound impact on understanding complex reconstructive surgeries, and the development of effective and affordable technological improvements such as improved drug delivery systems. 

What is the TN Visa?

The TN Visa is a non-immigrant visa for professionals from NAFTA countries (Canada & Mexico) to work in the United States for up to three years. The rules are different for Canadians and Mexicans and are more advantageous to Canadians. Applicants must already have a job offer from a US based company and must meet the professional requirements for that position. It is important to work with an immigration attorney to ensure success.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows individuals from treaty countries to move to the US for the purposes of investing in and running a business. While there is no minimum required investment amount, it must make sense for the business and is usually $100,000 or more. This does not all need to be in cash, for example, this Canadian doctor brought equipment to the US as part of his investment. Canada has an E-2 Treaty with the United States, but other countries such as China, Russia, India and Vietnam do not. If your country does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the US, you must first obtain citizenship of a country that does. Grenada and Turkey are E-2 countries that offer fast and cost-effective routes to citizenship by investment. While the E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant temporary visa, it is possible to keep renewing it as long as the business continues to operate, which theoretically means you can reside in America forever. However, to be able to live in the United States without the E-2 business, one would have to obtain a Green Card.

Green Cards and National Interest Waivers

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa and the TN Visa are not “dual intent” visas. What this means is that you have to demonstrate an intent to ultimately depart the United States. That does not preclude you from subsequently obtaining permanent residency (a Green Card), but the intent to depart must be there. The conventional route from the E-2 Visa to a Green Card is through Direct EB-5 or through the EB-1c Visa for multinational managers and executives. In this instance, however, we worked with the Canadian surgeon to prove that it was in the US national interest to grant him a Green Card. The National Interest Waiver NIW is a subcategory of the EB-2 Visa. Once of the key benefits is that you can self-petition for this visa – this means you do not need an employer to sponsor you.

To find out more about TN Visa, E-2 Treaty Investor Visas, and transitioning to a Green Card through the NIW route, Direct EB-5 or EB-1c, please contact us.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 petitions visa

Direct EB5: Fresh and Faster Routes to the US

By Mark I. Davies, Global Chairman, Davis & Associates

On June 30th, 2021 the EB5 Regional Center Program expired and USCIS stopped accepting new I526 Petitions for processing.  At the same time USCIS continued to accept EB5 petitions for Direct EB5 applications at the USD 500,000 level.

While USCIS have stopped processing EB5 Regional Center Petitions and related I485 Petitions the processing of Direct EB5 and related Petitions continues.  With work having stopped on EB5 Regional Center files it seems a reasonable assumption that the processing time for EB5 Direct cases will dramatically improve.

The EB5 Regional Center program was a “pilot program” subject to constant renewals the EB5 Direct program is permanently authorized, does not expire and is currently open for investments at USD 500,000.00.

The Basics

There is a lot of misinformation concerning the Direct EB5 program.  The chart which follows is intended to provide a very basic summary in an effort to dispel those myths.

 EB5 Regional Center Program
(which Expired on June 30th)
EB5 Direct Program
Investment RequiredUSD 500,000 in TEA
USD 1,000,000 outside TEA
USD 500,000 in TEA
USD 1,000,000 outside TEA
Are you required to invest in your own business?No.No but this is common.
Does my investment have to be cash?While not required by law Regional Centers require cash to fund their projects.Cash is not required**.  Our firm has obtained EB-5 Direct Green Card by leveraging equipment, inventory and other assets.
Period of AuthorizationLapsed on June 30th, 2021.Permanently authorized.
Job CreationCan use implied and induced jobs under an economic formula to evidence ten jobs have been created.Proof based on the preponderance of the evidence that 10 actual jobs will be created within 2.5 years.
Can existing jobs be used?No, with a narrow exception for saving jobs in a financially troubled business**.No difference**.
Involvement in Day-to-Day ManagementNot required***. Not Required but this is much more common than with Regional Center cases. ***
  



I Have a Furniture Factory in Vietnam.  Can I fund My US EB5 Investment with Stocks of Furniture?

Yes!

You can establish a business in the US to sell the furniture you make in Vietnam using an L visa.  As long as you have invested sufficient stocks of furniture and other capital in the US and created sufficient US jobs you are eligible to file for EB5.

I Have a T-Shirt Factory in India.  Can I fund My US EB5 Investment with Stocks of T-Shirts?

Yes!

You can establish a business in the US to sell the T-Shirts you make in India using an L-1 visa or other visa.  As long as you have invested sufficient stocks of T-Shirts and other capital in the US and created sufficient US jobs you are eligible to file for EB5.


Can I come to the US While I am waiting for my EB5 to Process?

Many of our firm’s client have established small businesses in the United States using E2 visa, L1 visa and other visas.  After establishing these businesses and making them grow to the applicable level our clients have been uniformly successful in “adjusting” their status in the United States to “Permanent Resident” and “Green Card” status using EB1c, Direct EB5 and other Employment-Based categories.

A key advantage of Direct EB5 and EB1c is that they both allow a client to build their US businesses over time and qualify for a Green Card.

For example a client who obtained an E2 visa to start a small coffee shop in Miami was able to grow that business to three coffee shops thereby creating over twenty jobs.  This client was able to adjust her E2 visa to a Green Card using the Direct EB5 program.

In another example an Indian client established a small two employee fashion marketing business in New York using an L-1 visa and was later able to “adjust” to Green Card status after growing his US business for 2-3 years.

While it is absolutely possible to come to the US on a non-immigrant visa and await the approval of an EB5-based Green Card this involves assessing considerations of “immigrant intent” and other complex issues of immigration law.  Such considerations require careful planning and the assistance of an experienced EB5 lawyer.


Can I Count Jobs Created for my Family for Direct EB5 Purposes?

A common question to which the answer is NO – you cannot count jobs created for family members as part of meeting job creation requirements for EB5 . For Direct EB-5 you must create a minimum of 10 jobs within 2.5 years.


What Type of Business is Eligible for Direct EB5?

This is a very common question.  All types of businesses in any industry qualify for EB5 so long as the requisite jobs are created and the applicable investment has been made.  Our clients have established businesses including but not limited to the following industries and later “adjusted” to Green Card status through EB5 or other employment-based categories:

  • Fashion
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil & Gas
  • Dental
  • Medical Devices
  • Furniture
  • Heath Care
  • Information Technology
  • Hair and Beauty

* The amount of investment for both EB5 programs had been increased to USD 900,000 to USD 1,800,000 depending on the location of the project but this amount was reduced as a result of court action in June 2021.  See Behring Regional Center v. Wolf, Case No. 3:20-cv-09263 (N.D. Cal)


** 8 C.F.R. § 204.6 (e).  Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien investor, provided that the  alien investor is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the  newcommercial enterprise upon which the  petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All  capital shall be valued at fair market value in  United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered  capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the  Act.

*** 8 C.F.R. § 204.6 (g)(4)(ii).  In our experience Direct EB5 investors can be very quick to look for opportunities to invest in a “troubled business” in order not to have to create ten new jobs.  This can often lead to commercial losses, a failure to maintain the jobs and the denial of the EB5 immigration benefit sought.  We suggest conducting a proper business and financial review with a licensed financial or business advisor before acquiring or forming any business. 

**** 8 C.F.R. § 204.6 (j)(5) provides rules for “petitioner engagement” which are as follows:

To show that the petitioner is or will be engaged in the  new commercial enterprise, either through the exercise of  day-to-day managerial control or through policy formulation, the  petition must be accompanied by:

(i) A statement of the position title that the petitioner has or will have in the  new enterprise and a complete description of the position’s duties;

(ii) Evidence that the petitioner is a corporate officer or a member of the corporate  board of directors; or

(iii) Evidence that the petitioner is engaged in policy making activities. For purposes of this section, a  petitioner will be considered sufficiently engaged in policy making activities if the  petitioner is an equity holder in the  new commercial enterprise and the organizational documents of the  new commercial enterprise provide the  petitioner with certain rights, powers, and duties normally granted to equity holders of the  new commercial enterprise‘s type of entity in the jurisdiction in which the  new commercial enterprise is organized.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 Investor Visa

How does Sunset of EB-5 Regional Center Program Affect New & Existing Investors?

The EB-5 Regional Center Program expired at midnight last night. We expect this to be a temporary lapse as Congress negotiates how to reform the program.

What does this mean for EB-5 investors in the Regional Center Program?

It depends where you are in the process…

1. Anyone applying for EB-5 through Regional Center Program from today:

Your application will be rejected

2. Anyone who has filed form I-526 prior to the deadline but not yet received an adjudication:

Your application will not be rejected, but USCIS will not work on your case until further notice

3. Anyone who has filed an I-526 prior to the deadline and has received written correspondence (such as a Request for Evidence):

You must respond to written correspondence (if required) by the given deadline, but USCIS will not review your response until further notice.

4. Anyone filing form I-485:

USCIS initially said you could file new I-485s but it would not be processing any new or existing I-485s. It later revised its position to say it would REJECT all I-485s until further notice.

5. Anyone on a Conditional Green Card filing form I-829:

USCIS will continue to accept and process all I-829s 

Direct EB-5

The above only relates to the EB-5 Regional Center program. Anyone on Direct EB-5 is unaffected. Direct EB-5 is permanently authorized. USCIS continues to accept and process new and pending Direct EB-5 petitions.

The minimum investment level for Direct EB-5 remains at the reduced level of $500,000. We anticipate a small window before a higher investment level is reinstated.   

Stay tuned for more from Davies & Associates about Direct EB-5 in the coming days.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.