Investor Visa Application

EB5 Visa Remains at $500,000 as US Government Appeals

The minimum investment level for the EB-5 visa remains at $500,000 for now, but the appeal is a clear signal the Biden administration is intent on increasing the price.

The US government filed a last-minute appeal against a federal court ruling that reversed Trump-era changes to the EB-5 Visa investment thresholds. A federal judge in California ruled in June that a decision to increase the minimum investment level from $500,000 to $900,000 in November 2019 was unlawful because the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been improperly appointed. The Biden administration is now seeking to appeal her ruling and reinstate the changes.

The ruling saw the EB-5 investment level fall back to $500,000 in June for a short window before the Regional Center program expired at the end of that month. This resulted in a flurry of applications as people piled in to obtain Green Cards by investment for themselves and their families. While the EB-5 Regional Center route is on hold, Direct EB-5 remains open and accepting applicants the $500,000 investment amount.

Increasing the Minimum Investment for EB-5 Visa

The timeline on the appeals process is not clear. It could be done quickly, but is more likely to take many months. The appeal does underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to a higher EB-5 investment level than the current minimum threshold of $500,000. If the appeal process is successful, that would mean a return to $900,000 minimum investment level inside a Targeted Employment Area ($1.8 million outside these areas). The alternative is to go through the US Congress to change the rules for the EB-5 program and agree new investment thresholds.

There was a bipartisan attempt to reform and reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center program before it expired. However, this failed when a single senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, opposed passing the bill following an eleventh hour attempt to pass it by Unanimous Consent. Senator Graham is not opposed to EB-5, but wanted more discussion on what a reformed investor-visa program should look like.

Congress and the EB-5 Program

Congress will need to revisit EB-5 after its summer recess. There could still be another attempt at bespoke reform for EB-5, but the packed legislative agenda may mean that it is folded back into spending legislation due at the end of September. Any reform package would seek to bring greater integrity to the program, may review the differential between TEA investment and non-TEA investment, and, critically for of investors, it may also amend the investment thresholds.

The increase to a $900,000 minimum investment has resulted in a drop in applications since it has pushed EB-5 outside of the reaches of the global middle class who have been the backbone of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program since its inception in the 1990s. The US program is more affordable than many comparable citizenship or residency by investment programs worldwide – for example, the UK Tier One Investor Visa starts from £2 million (and is a visa that Davies & Associates can also assist you with).

The onset of the Covid pandemic soon after the price increase has also served to dampen demand, so it is tricky to draw conclusive trends based upon the 2020 EB-5 filing data.

A more modest increase in the minimum investment threshold to $700,000 or $750,000 could be a real possibility according to industry insiders. This would raise more revenue while keeping the EB-5 program within reach of more people. Such a change would require legislative approval.

Watch a recording of our most recent webinar where we delve deeply into this image and examine the potential reform and reauthorization of the Regional Center program.

Watch our recent webinar on the future of the EB-5 Regional Center Program

Next steps for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program

The good news is that EB-5 enjoys the backing of politicians from both main political parties. EB-5 brings in billions of dollars of investment and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs at no cost to the taxpayer. The EB-5 program played a vital role in bringing foreign direct investment to the United States amid the financial crisis in 2008 and EB-5 can serve in a similar manner as America emerges from Covid-19.

We cannot take any stance of the likelihood of success on the appeal, but it is a clear sign that the Biden administration intends to increase the investment minimum. But just filing the appeal does not have any immediate impact.  The investment amount remains at $500,000 until and unless they get a favorable appellate decision (or until they go through the rule change process properly). So, Direct EB-5 remains open to new applicants at the $500,000 limit, as would the Regional Center program – if and when it is reinstated. We will keep everyone updated as events unfold.


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.

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.


EB5 Investor Visa

The Future of EB-5 Investor Visa: Webinar Recording

Last Friday we hosted a webinar on the EB-5 Immigration Investor Visa at a crucial time in the program’s history. The Webinar, titled “The Future of EB-5” featured key experts from the industry weighing in on the outlook for the program.

The EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Center Program is facing reauthorization before the end of June – this just refers to investments through the Regional Center program, Direct EB-5 (where the applicant makes and manages the investment themselves) is unaffected.

Watch our panelists debate the probability of reauthorization and the possibility of a temporary lapse if Congress cannot pass legislation in time. They detail the reform proposals in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act in the Senate, as well the potential need to compromise with a rival bill.

Also discussed is the possibility of the investment amount lowering from USD 900,000 to USD 500,000 because of a lawsuit currently working its way through the California courts. The premise is that the 2019 price increase was illegal because Trump’s Department for Homeland Security DHS chief was improperly appointed.


The expert panel also answer a range of questions from more than 100 people who participated.

Webinar: Future of EB5

Webinar FEATURING

Kurt Reuss- Founder, EB5 Marketplace

Matt Hogan – Vice President of Project Development, CMB Regional Centers

Asif Chhipa- Managing Director – India, Pakistan, Middle East, First Pathway Partners

AND

Mark I. Davies- Global Chairman, Davies & Associates


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.


Investor Visa Application

EB-5 Visa: Lawsuit Seeks to Overturn Investment-Level Increase

A lawsuit filed by an EB-5 Regional Center is taking aim at the November 2019 price hike for the EB-5 Investor Visa. If successful, the minimum investment amount for EB-5 would return to USD 500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area. A federal judge in California has indicated she may be willing to reverse the Trump-Era changes to the EB-5 program rules after a lawsuit filed by Behring Regional Center. 

If successful, any changes would likely be short-lived. The EB-5 Regional Center Program is set to expire at the end of June and a reform and reauthorization proposal has started working its way through Congress could set the USD 900,000 minimum investment level in stone.  It is our opinion that the new EB-5 law in June would be revised to increase the price back to itS current level.

This means that there may be an extremely short window of time, possibly as little as days, in which to file an EB-5 I-526 Petition at USD 500,000.   Properly preparing a case to be filed can take weeks or longer depending on where the funds are coming from and will require investors to fund an EB-5 project which is configured to accept investment at that investment level.  Any investor potentially interested in availing themselves of the USD 500,000 investment level should therefore have their case ready so it can be filed at a moment’s notice.  

The minimum investment requirement for the EB-5 Investor Visa to USD 900,000 in November 2019 to take account of inflation since the program’s inception in the 1990s. The $900,000 amount relates to investments in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) – areas with relatively high unemployment. Outside of TEAs the minimum investment requirement rose from USD 1 million to UDS 1.8 million. The November-2019 rule change also centralised decision making around what constitutes a TEA, transferring authority for this to the Department for Homeland Security.

The rule changes had a significant impact on EB-5 uptake with a sharp drop-off after November 2019. This was partly due to so many people rushing to apply, exhausting pent up demand. Covid slowed the recovery, but green shoots have been emerging as the pandemic recedes. Long term reform and reauthorization in June will provide much-needed certainty and confidence to future investors. 

This federal court case could change calculations for some investors. If the price temporarily drops to USD 500,000 it could cause a massive rush to file EB-5 applications. The application process requires careful documentation of the source of funds used for the EB-5 investment. This can take time to prepare, so anyone considering an application or monitoring this court case for a drop in the investment level should contact us immediately. 

The court case comes at a time of brief uncertainty for the EB-5 Investor Visa Program. With reauthorization of the Regional Center Program required before the it expires in June, would-be investors need to weigh their options carefully. 

On the one hand, you could tie up your capital under uncertain conditions to pursue the EB-5 Regional Center in case it ends forever in June. Or on the other hand, you could wait until there is certainty in the second half of 2021, but know that the price of that certainty could mean the EB-5 route is closed to you forever. The risk is up to the client, but it is worth talking through your options with an immigration attorney. 

The likelihood is that the program will be renewed. The EB-5 Investor Visa brings in millions of dollars in investment and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs all across America at no cost to the taxpayer. It played a valuable role in America’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and could do something similar as the US economy recovers from Covid.

Anyone who has already applied for an EB-5 Visa but is waiting an adjudication may wish to file a writ of mandamus in federal court ahead of the June 2021 expiry date. Usually applicants should wait at least two years before resorting to legal action against the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), but the June expiration may change this. Contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.


Investor Visa Application

Lawsuit Seeks to Reverse 2019 EB-5 Investor Visa Price Increase

A lawsuit filed by an EB-5 Regional Center is taking aim at the November 2019 price hike for the EB-5 Investor Visa. If successful, the minimum investment amount for EB-5 would almost halve back to $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area. A federal judge in California has indicated she may be willing to reverse the Trump-Era changes to the EB-5 program rules after a lawsuit filed by Behring Regional Center.

If successful, any changes would likely be short-lived. The EB-5 Regional Center Program is set to expire at the end of June and a reform and reauthorization proposal has started working its way through Congress could set the $900,000 minimum investment level in stone.

The minimum investment requirement for the EB-5 Investor Visa to $900,000 in November 2019 to take account of inflation since the program’s inception in the 1990s. The $900,000 amount relates to investments in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) – areas with relatively high unemployment. Outside of TEAs the minimum investment requirement rose from $1 million to $1.8 million. The November-2019 rule change also centralised decision making around what constitutes a TEA, transferring authority for this to the Department for Homeland Security.

The rule changes had a significant impact on EB-5 uptake with a sharp drop-off after November 2019. This was partly due to so many people rushing to apply, exhausting pent up demand. Covid slowed the recovery, but green shoots have been emerging as the pandemic recedes. Long term reform and reauthorization in June will provide much-needed certainty and confidence to future investors.

This federal court case could change calculations for some investors. If the price temporarily drops to $500,000 it could cause a massive rush to file EB-5 applications. The application process requires careful documentation of the source of funds used for the EB-5 investment. This can take time to prepare, so anyone considering an application or monitoring this court case for a drop in the investment level should contact us immediately.

The court case comes at a time of brief uncertainty for the EB-5 Investor Visa Program. With reauthorization of the Regional Center Program required before the it expires in June, would-be investors need to weigh their options carefully.

On the one hand, you could tie up your capital under uncertain conditions to pursue the EB-5 Regional Center in case it ends forever in June. Or on the other hand, you could wait until there is certainty in the second half of 2021, but know that the price of that certainty could mean the EB-5 route is closed to you forever. The risk is up to the client, but it is worth talking through your options with an immigration attorney.

The likelihood is that the program will be renewed. The EB-5 Investor Visa brings in millions of dollars in investment and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs all across America at no cost to the taxpayer. It played a valuable role in America’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and could do something similar as the US economy recovers from Covid.

Anyone who has already applied for an EB-5 Visa but is waiting an adjudication may wish to file a writ of mandamus in federal court ahead of the June 2021 expiry date. Usually applicants should wait at least two years before resorting to legal action against the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), but the June expiration may change this. Contact us to discuss your specific 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.

Behring Regional Center


US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

Our firm has helped hundreds of business owners and families move to the United States on EB-5, E-2 and L-1 visas. Which visa is best depends entirely on your unique personal circumstances. We recommend every new client have a free consultation with our team to discuss the various options in light of their personal goals, budgets and interests.

L-1 VisasE-1 VisasE-2 VisasEB-5 Visas
Visa available to nationals of any country?Nationals of treaty trader countries onlyNationals of treaty trader countries only
Must I have worked for a related company abroad for one year?
Ability of dependent Spouse to work in US
Can the visa be renewed into perpetuity assuming I re-qualify?
Is a business plan a very key element of a successful application?
Minimum investment RequiredSufficient to operate valid foreign business and US office or business entityNo theoretical minimum, but enough investment to create a real, viable, businessSufficient to fund business enterprise, generally > $100,000 although less is possibleEither USD 900,000
or USD 1,800,000

Visa Duration

One of the key differences is the length of time you can remain in the United States on each visa. The EB-5 visa leads directly to a Green Card (permanent residency). This means you can stay in the United States permanently until such a time as you opt to surrender your Green Card or apply to naturalize as a US citizen.

The L-1 visa and the E-2 visa are both non-immigrant visas. These do not offer permanent residency, but the E-2 visa is perhaps the next best thing because you can renew it indefinitely. Unlimited renewals means that you could technically live in the United States forever, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

The L-1 Visa is renewable up to a maximum of seven years for the L-1A visa and five years for the L-1B visa. After this time you would need to leave the US or transition to another visa or apply for a Green Card. It is best to discuss your options with an L-1 Visa attorney. Good fits for the L-1 visa are the EB-1(c) visa or the EB-3 visa. You can of course, also explore options for transitioning to a Green Card from an E-2 visa if you wish to make your presence in the US more permanent and not tied to the E-2 business.

The amount of time granted on your initial L-1 and E-2 visa will vary depending upon where you are from. Each country has a so-called reciprocity schedule which dictates the maximum visa validity period. Note that your visa might not be granted for the full period listed under your particular country. The authorities may wish you to return sooner to check on the status of your business. For example, “New Office L-1 visas” are granted for just a year initially, so checks on your progress can be made.

Investment Requirements

Each visa comes with a different associated investment requirement. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa – as the name suggests – offers a Green Card by investment. The investment requirements are $900,000 for investments in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and $1.8 million outside these areas. In practice, the Regional Centers who manage the vast majority of EB-5 investments all work in TEAs and so only the $900,000 applies. If you wish to do Direct EB-5, we would need to make sure the investment is placed in a TEA to qualify for the lower amount.

By conducting due diligence on the Regional Center and its project, an EB-5 investor can mitigate risks not only to the Green Card but also to the return of your capital. Most Regional Centers offer very low rates of interest (in many ways the Green Card itself is the return on the investment). By investing with a reputable Regional Center in a reliable project there is no reason why the investor should not see the return of their capital after several years.

There is no fixed investment requirement for the E-2 Visa. A good rule of thumb is that it should be in excess of $100,000 and must be appropriate for the business you are proposing to start or acquire. We have seen some successful E-2 applicants for less than $100,000, so we encourage you to contact us regardless. The investment does not only need to be cash – it can also be in stocks of inventory, patents, equipment etc.

The L-1 visa does not require investment if you are simply transferring from the overseas branch to the existing branch of a multinational company. New Office L-1 visas inevitably require investment to set up and grow the new US office. This needs to be suitable to the needs of the business.

Work Authorization

The EB-5 visa offers complete freedom to work (or not work) in the United States. A single application/investment can include not just the applicant but any spouse and children under the age of 21. Each family member receives their own Green Card meaning they are free to work in the United States. We find many of our EB-5 clients are motivated by their children university education and work prospects after graduation.

The primary applicant for the E-2 and L-1 visas are obviously required to work in the role they moved to the US to fulfil. Spouses of these visa holders, however, can apply for work authorization in the United States. This offers a lot more employment flexibility than the popular H-1B visa for example, since you are not tied to a particular employer. As non permanent residents, you are only taxed on your US earnings.

There are many different pros and cons to each of these visa categories. It is vital to discuss your personal circumstances with our team so we can take you through every eventuality and thereby determine the best visa for you and your family.


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