UK, Canada, Australia: the other gateways to the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

While Grenada and Turkey understandably dominate the discussion around the E-2 Visa, other countries also offer a potential pathway to this desirable visa category.

To qualify for the sought-after E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, you must be a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country. You can find out if your country holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States by checking this list. If your country is not on the list, you would first need to become a citizen of an E-2 Treaty country to qualify.

It sounds complicated, but in reality it can be quite straightforward. At Davies & Associates we have a lot of experience with helping clients through a two-stage process of becoming a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country then applying for the E-2 visa.

Most of our clients have opted for Grenadian or Turkish Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs for the simple reason that these countries offer the fastest and most cost-effective routes to citizenship.

Indeed, you could even be living in the US on an E-2 visa within just nine month because processing times for both the CBI programmes and the E-2 visa are very fast. (Covid notwithstanding).

So if it is speed and price you are looking for, then please contact our team to discuss the Grenada and Turkey options. (It should be noted here that both Grenada and Turkey both offer fantastic commercial, educational, and other benefits in their own right. This has been the subject of several other blogs in this feed. Please contact us to discuss this in greater detail).

But for some of our clients, other factors are at play in influencing their motivations, this includes family, education or business interests.

Take the United Kingdom for example. The UK is the oldest E-2 treaty country in the world. In fact, the Treaty dates back over two hundred (200) years. Anyone who becomes an UK citizen is then eligible to apply for the United States E-2 Treaty Visa.

The UK offers an investor visa program which is almost ten times as expensive as citizenship through real-estate investment in Grenada, and eight times as much as a similar type of investment in Turkey.

The United Kingdom also has a much longer pathway to citizenship. A person can claim indefinite leave to remain in the UK after five years and citizenship after six. (Although the time it takes to become a citizen can be reduced if you invest more.)

Despite this, some of our clients prefer the UK route because it makes sense based upon their personal interests and circumstances.

The UK investor visa example is useful for drawing a direct comparison with the Grenada and Turkey programs. But there are other ways to become a UK citizen.

For example, there are British visa categories that encourage start-ups or other types of businesses than can provide a route to citizenship. Starting a business in the UK can be a good springboard for an E-2 business in the United States (or you might wish to consider a new-office L-1 visa instead).

Or there are family-based immigration options. This is one of the more popular routes for our clients. Especially our Indian clients. And this is not limited to the United Kingdom. We have seen clients become citizens of Canada and Australia and then apply for an E-2 visa.

The best thing to do is to check out the list of E-2 treaty countries. If your country is on there, our team can discuss the E-2 process with you directly. If your country is not listed – have a look through the countries that are on there. Determine if you have any connections or interests in any of these countries, and then discuss with our team about whether these are viable options.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a person to move to the United States with their family for the purpose of owning and operating a qualifying business. It has relatively low investment requirements, does not create a tax liability on earnings outside the US, and it can be renewed indefinitely. A spouse can apply for work authorization outside of the E-2 business, franchise businesses are eligible, and if you don’t have a business plan in mind, we can help.

Contact us to discuss your personal interests and circumstances.

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.


Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme

Top 4 reasons to choose the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme

By Maxine Philavong

Grenada: a beautiful island, tiny island in the Caribbean. Filled with white sandy beaches, lush green vegetation and buzzing coral reefs, many miss out its numerous advantages due to its small size. But those who are looking for investment and citizenship opportunity should not overlook the “Island of Spice.” Indeed, Grenada is home to the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program, a government sponsored program that provides rapid access to the United States E-2 Investor Treaty.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a person to move to the United States with their spouse and dependent children for the purposes of owning and operating a business. Only citizens from certain countries are eligible for the visa.

Grenada is the only Caribbean country which holds the coveted E-2 visa treaty with the US, allowing citizens to apply for a non-immigrant visa and reside there. This is an incredible opportunity as many countries such as China, Russia, India and countries of the Gulf region do not have an E-2 treaty with the US, you can obtain your citizenship of Grenada first then apply for USA E2 Visa.

Grenada Citizenship itself provides many benefits in its own right, some even calling Grenada citizenship the “golden visa.” This includes no residency requirements, no tax on worldwide income, as well as citizenship of a politically and economically stable country. The Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program is just the icing on the cake when it comes to the island’s many advantages.

Grenada’s citizenship by investment program is one of the most cost effective in the world. Here are our top 4 reasons why clients might be interested in choosing the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program:

  1. Fast Processing Times

Processing times for the Grenada CBI programme are extremely fast. It usually takes less than three months and there’s no requirement to visit. And, if you want to then obtain an E-2 visa, the timings are also favorable. The E-2 visa can take as little as six months. This means that you could be holding Grenadian citizenship and living in the US within just nine months.

  • Lower Capital Investment

The Grenada Citizenship by Investment cost is one of the most effective in the world. Investors have two main options: a $150,000 donation to Grenada’s National Transformation Fund or an investment in real estate that starts from $220,000. Through our strong presence on the island, D&A is able to help our clients navigate the investment opportunities. Upon request, our senior staff will visit the island with clients and introduce them to key stakeholders including members of government, as well as investment fund managers and real estate developers.

  • Worldwide income is not taxed

Grenada does not tax income outside the country. This means earnings you make from business interests or property outside Grenada are not likely to be included. And, if it comes to the E-2 visa, you would not be taxed on worldwide income by the US either. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa. US permanent residents / Green Card holders are taxed on worldwide income. The D&A team includes tax attorneys who can advise you. D&A has forged close relationships with all the stakeholders in Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme and have been successful in helping people from around the world achieve citizenship of this forward-looking country.

  • Keep your existing citizenship

Grenada permits dual citizenship, meaning that you do not necessarily need to give up your existing citizenship when you acquire Grenadian citizenship. It all depends upon the rules of the other country or countries. India, for example, does not allow dual citizenship. It does, however, allow you to hold Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status. This offers similar benefits to citizenship with some restrictions, e.g. on the rights to own land or run for political office.

Contact D&A today to learn more about the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme

The Grenada Citizenship by Investment programme requirements are strict but simple. Applicants must have a clean criminal record and be able to verify their source of funds. With D&A’s support, the whole process can run fast and smoothly. A well-prepared application combined with the efficiency of the Grenadian authorities, means that processing time takes an average of just two months.

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.


Acquire a Franchise Business and Move to the United States

Did you know it was possible to move to the United States to run a franchise business. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows people to emigrate to the US for the purposes of investing in and managing a business. This can include a franchise.

In this video, our Global Chairman Mark Davies, addresses some of the frequently asked questions about franchise business. And advises on some of the pitfalls to be aware of and to avoid.

For example, franchise brokers can help with the whole process. However, it is important to know if they are earning commission and to seek external advise.

Not all franchises are eligible for the E-2 visa, so it is important to check first. It is especially useful to have a corporate lawyer review the franchise agreement before you sign.

If you are not from an E-2 Treaty Country. Contact us to discuss ways to become eligible for the E-2 visa. This usually involves obtaining citizenship of a country that has an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Grenada and Turkey offer the most cost-effective pathways to citizenship.

This article and video 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.


E2 Visa: You Now No Longer Need a Physical Office Space

By Sukanya Raman, Associate, D&A Mumbai Office

On July 17th 2020, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) was updated by the United States Department of State (DOS). The updates state that an applicant need not have a physical office space to qualify for E Visa.

E-1  Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visa applicants shall benefit the most. E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas. Under an E-1 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. wholly to engage in international trade. Under the E-2 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

The E visa the classification has a lengthy list of requirements, a few of the  general ones are as follows:

Treaty Agreement

Nationality of E visa qualifying country

50% ownership and/or control & possession

Trade is predominantly between the United States and the treaty country

Enterprise must be real and operating a commercial enterprise

Substantial capital investment

Must be in the position to “develop and direct” the enterprise

Physical office space (no longer mandatory)

Above mentioned are a few mandatory requirements for the E visa application. However, having a physical office space is now optional to qualify for an E visa application.

E visa can now be available for businesses with virtual offices in the U.S. This gives the flexibility to  the applicants to save a huge amount of money from the substantial capital investment in leasing office space and other associated costs to it. We see a lot of clients substantial capital investment amount was invested in leasing the office premises, which they can now utilize in the business for explanation or for development, provided the other requirement of the E visas are met.

The new FAM  reads as “An applicant does not necessarily need a physical office space to qualify for an E visa.  Although having physical office space may be relevant in determining whether the requirements for an E visa have been met, it is not a requirement to qualify for the visa.”

The E-2 Visa is available to citizens of Treaty Countries. Click here to see if your country is on the list. If your country is not on the list, it is possible to become eligible by first obtaining citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. Click here to learn more about this process.

sraman@usimmigrationadvisor.com

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.


The Italian Dream is now Half Price

The Italian government is reducing key investment requirements for its Investor Visa by 50%.

By Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst, D&A Italy

Just yesterday, the Italian Parliament passed into law a governmental Decree with a number of measures aimed at relaunching the Italian economy as a response to the dramatic impact that the Covid-19 health emergency had on the Italian and global economy.

In particular, the Italian government has taken actions in order to attract and encourage foreign capitals and investments from abroad, by reducing by 50% some of the minimum thresholds of the “Investor Visa for Italy”. 

In light of the above said, citizens from all around the world are now entitled to apply for and obtain this visa and its related Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit of Stay) by performing one of the following investments in the country:

• at least 250.000 Euros (previously was 500.000 Euros) in an innovative start-up company incorporated in Italy; 

• at least 500.000 Euros (previously was 1 Million Euros) in equity instruments of companies incorporated and operating in Italy; 

• at least 2 million Euros in Government Bonds issued by the Italian Republic (no changes in the new law)

• philanthropic donations of at least 1 million Euros, in the field of culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes. (no changes)

The above change in the law does not affect the practical aspects of the procedure. Once the Investor Visa has been issued, the investor (and their family) is entitled to enter Italy and to apply for the Permesso di Soggiorno (permit of stay), which will be issued on the sole condition that the applicant performs one of the above-listed investments within 3 months after the date of first entry in the country. 

The Permesso is issued for an initial period of 2 years and can be renewed for further periods of 3 years, provided that the investment has been fully executed according to the Italian Immigration Law

The steps for obtaining the citizenship of Italy, which is the 3rd largest economy in the European Union, and the 8th largest by nominal GDP in the world, can be quite extended unless all the documents are prepared in accordance with the requirements imposed by the Italian authorities. 

If you think of applying for the Investor Visa for Italy, contact our offices in Florence or Miami, and our attorneys will assist you step by step with this process.

mtisato@usimmigrationadvisor.com

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.


Relaxation on H1-B and L-1 Visa

Podcast: Comparing E2 & L1 Visas in Light of the “Immigration Ban”

The L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa was temporarily suspended last month as part of President Trump’s ongoing so-called “immigration ban”. The list of visa categories suspended through to the end of the year is now quite lengthy.

However, there are notable exemptions: The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa are not included.

In this podcast we speak to Verdie Atienza, a senior immigration attorney at Davies & Associates, to examine whether the E-2 visa may prove a possible alternative to the L-1 visa in certain cases.

Verdie heads up our L-1 and E-2 practice team and so he is well placed to compare and contrast these two visa categories. Listen in as he provides a forensic comparative analysis of both.

L-1 Visas are used to move to management-level staff from an overseas branch to the US branch of the same company. At D&A we specialize in “new-office” L-1s which is where an individual can set up a US branch of their overseas company and then move to the United States to manage that new office.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows a person to bring their family to the United States for the purposes of running a particular business. It is necessary that your country of citizenship has a relevant treaty with the US to qualify. For those that do not initially qualify, D&A offers a two-step process whereby you first obtain citizenship of a country that does qualify, like Grenada or Turkey.

Topics covered in the podcast include:

  1. The impact of the immigration suspension
  2. Investment requirements
  3. Premises requirements in the United States
  4. Spousal Rights
  5. Children’s rights and ageing out?
  6. Visa duration
  7. Renewal process and limits
  8. Business plan requirements
  9. Nationality requirements and quotas
  10. Becoming eligible for an E-2 visa through Citizenship by Investment
  11. Transitioning to a Green Card?

This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us to speak to an attorney.


E2 Visa Myth Busting: Do I have to stay in Grenada?

By Mark Davies, Global Chairman, Davies & Associates

“I have to stay in Grenada for six months to get my E2 Visa” if I use the donation route for my Grenada CBI case.

One of our clients e-mailed me this morning having been given this completely false statement, probably by a salesman selling another country’s program.

For a E2 visa the only country that has a residency requirement is the United Kingdom (which is the oldest E2 treaty). We do recommend creating connections with Grenada which is a wonderful country to visit but residency there is not required.

You can obtain an E2 visa regardless of the manner you used to obtain your Grenada passport. We have clients living in the US on an E2 investment visa to prove it.

Our Indian, Vietnamese, South African and Bangladeshi* clients have been opening business in the USA for a decade. Since about 2014 Grenada citizenship-by-investment has been a top consideration.

Prior to the new USD 220,000 share ownership program most of our clients were exclusively interested in the CBI USD 150,000 donation option.

Click here to see if your country has an E2 Treaty with the United States.

Click here to learn more about the E2 visa coupled with Citizenship by Investment.

*Although Bangladesh is an E2 country there are reasons why clients sometimes still use the Grenada route.


Relaxation on H1-B and L-1 Visa

Should Vietnam and India be granted E-2 Visa Status?

D&A Global Chairman Mark Davies argues the time is ripe to grant E2 and E1 Visa status for Vietnam and Indian citizens.

Before coming to Vietnam I did not realize that the US is Vietnam’s largest export market. Having spent years in India I did know of the massive potential to grow cross-border business between the US and India.

We are seeing a lot of interest in the L1 Visa and E2 Visa from companies in our offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai much of it being Vietnamese and Indian businesses looking to access the US market. Many Vietnamese and Indian firms are looking to increase their trade with the US through E2 and L1.

Vietnam and India both represent a huge opportunity for US businesses to expand and invest. Vietnam is Asia’s fastest growing market and companies want to grow by investing through a business there.

At the moment, obtaining an E2 Visa means a Vietnamese or Indian national has to obtain a second nationality, popularly Grenada and Turkey.

It’s time to put an end to the need for Citizenship by Investment in Vietnam and India and for the US to enter into a treaty with both Vietnam and India allowing for both the E2 and E1 Visa. Such a treaty would allow Vietnamese businesses access to the US and streamline the process by which US businesses can access the lucrative Vietnamese market.


E-2 Visa: Worried about your Children “Ageing Out”?

Are you worried about your children “ageing out” of a family E-2 visa? Are you worried about leaving behind extended family members? We can help you solve this issue with some careful planning.

By Verdie Atienza & Sukanya Raman

If you are planning to move to America but are concerned about your child age and your extended family members to be a part of your application, we have a solution for you.

We see that a lot of Indian nationals are enthusiastic to move to America for obvious reasons like business opportunities, better standards of living, healthcare, education, etc. Though, take a step back as in most visa categories are limited to spouse and children below the age of 21 including the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

The spouse and children may apply for E-2 derivative visas. The spouse may apply for Employer Authorization Document (EAD) to work for any US employer and the children are permitted to study.  

There are ways to structure the E-2 enterprise to address the issues of ageing-out for children and qualifying other family members. As once the children turn 21 they will cease to qualify as dependents under the E-2 Visa.

We can structure the E-2 enterprise in such a fashion that it qualifies children over the age of 21, dependent parents, unmarried siblings.

To qualify for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa, the requirement is to own at least 50% of the E-2 company to show operational control. For this reason, the E-2 company may qualify two Treaty Investors having 50-50 ownership. The child who may age-out can make an investment to acquire at least 50% of the E-2 enterprise to qualify himself as a Treaty Investor.

If the goal is to bring members of the extended family like parents or siblings, they can be made 50% owners of the E-2 company, and they may also obtain derivative visas for their spouse and dependent children as well.

In cases where there are multiple family members, two or more E-2 enterprises can be set up. With relatively low investment requirements, it should not be too difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to raise capital.

Another advantage of the E-2 option is that the E-2 enterprise may file a petition for E-2 employees who must be the same nationality as the treaty investor. The prospective employees must either be engaged in duties of an executive or supervisory character or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

Children over 21, parents, siblings, and other extended family members may potentially qualify for E-2 Employee Visas provided they have the same nationality, and they meet the requirements for employees under the treaty.

India is not a Treaty country, but with attractive Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs offered by countries that have E-2 treaties with the US like Grenada, Turkey and Montenegro, the path to the E-2 visa are clear. Compared to the investment the amount for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and the wait time to get a green card is much longer than the E-2 Visa.

The processing time for E-2 visa is much quicker ranging from six to eight months from the date of application. Meaning, your children can start school in American from the next academic year onwards. E-2 visa is not like other non-immigrant visas. E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely, which gives you stability and permanency. There are no country limit or quota limit under the E-2 Visa.

To conclude, below are the most well-known advantages of the E-2 visa:

1.           Quick Processing Times

2.           No Quota Limitations

3.           Relatively Less Capital Investment Needed

4.           Funds to be Invested may come from various sources

5.           Control of Investment Funds and the Treaty Enterprise

6.           You may opt for a franchise

7.           Dependents are entitled to E-2 derivative visas

8.           Flexibility with Travel

9.           Potential Tax Advantages

10.         Relatively Low Legal Costs     

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.


Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme

Grenada Citizenship by Investment: Spouses & Single Applicants

Grenada has one of the most cost-effective citizenship by investment programs in the world. A $150,000 donation to the National Transformation Fund or a $220,000 investment in real estate leads very quickly to citizenship of a beautiful, stable, economically diverse country.

The investment route is especially popular, because it offers the chance of having the capital returned. The main investment opportunities are luxury hotel developments under construction on the island. Yet some people opt for the donation route because it better suits their own circumstances.

Unlike the investment route, the donation requirement changes depending upon the number of family members seeking Grenadian citizenship. A single applicant is required to invest $150,000. However, that increases to $200,000 if you plan to bring a spouse with you.

The extra $50,000 may be prohibitively high to some applicants. This could be the case if they are planning an E-2 investment and need capital to start-up or acquire a business in the United States.

There is a way around this. The Grenadian constitution entitles the spouse of a Grenadian citizen to Grenadian citizenship. So it is possible to apply as a single applicant, save $50,000, and arrange citizenship for the spouse at a later stage.

There is a timing issue here. Citizenship by Investment processing times are incredibly short – averaging just 45 days. If both spouses require citizenship quickly then it you should consider a dual CBI application.

However, if you are in no rush for the spouse to obtain Grenadian citizenship, you could consider the slower route. Applying for Grenadian citizenship as a spouse through the general processing route may take two years.

Such a situation might suit someone considering an E-2 application. Provided that the E-2 applicant is the same as the Grenada CBI applicant, an accompanying spouse does not need to have citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. This explains why there are small numbers of E visas granted to Indians (221 visas in 2019) and Vietnamese (19 in 2019). Neither is an E-2 Treaty Country.

Each person or family’s situation is different. It is vital to engage with an attorney to discuss the best options to suit your circumstances. The information in this blog is for illustrative purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us directly to arrange a consultation.