Business Immigration from the UK to the USA

UK Scraps Investor Visa – What are my options?

The US investor visa requires an investment amount five times lower than the UK investor visa

The UK Government has announced it will be scrapping its Tier One Investor Visa program. The program had come under fire for the perception that it provided a legitimate route for illicit wealth to enter the United Kingdom.

The UK Investor Visa program was relatively expensive when compared with other countries’ residency and citizenship by investment programs. The minimum investment requirement started from £2 million – which is around five times as much as the corresponding US program, the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa Program. Investors had the option of investing more money to reduce the length of time before they could be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and by extension applying for citizenship a year after.

United States EB-5 Investor Visa

The price tag of the UK investor visa meant that it only attracted a few hundred applicants each year. That contrasts starkly with the US EB-5 investor visa, which attracts thousands and regularly meets its annual quota of 10,000 visas – thanks in part to a large backlog of Chinese applicants.

The US program currently has a minimum investment requirement of $500,000, which must create ten jobs. A key aspect of the program – the Regional Center program – is likely to come before Congress in the very near future and the rumor is that the investment amount may increase. This could be to $700,000 or $750,000, but this is only speculation and there are no guarantees.

The popular Regional Center route is currently closed awaiting reauthorization. This could potential occur within the next few weeks if it is included in Congress’s spending legislation. The alternative so-called “Direct EB-5” route is currently open at the minimum $500,000 threshold right now.

Grenada Citizenship by Investment

One of the most cost-effective citizenship or residency programs around the world is offered by Grenada, an island in the Caribbean. Grenadian citizenship starts from just $150,000 for a donation or $220,000 for an investment. Processing times are relatively fast and can take less than three months. Grenada has a relatively strong passport and it hold an E-2 Treaty with the United States. There is no tax on income earned outside of the island’s jurisdiction.

Turkey Citizenship by Investment

You can obtain citizenship of Turkey in around 6 months in exchange for a $250,000 investment in real estate or holding deposits in excess of $500,000 with a Turkish bank for at least three years. Turkey is a global transportation hub and it also holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. This means that, like Grenada, you could become eligible for the US E-2 Visa by first obtaining Turkish citizenship.

Italy Investor Visa

Italy’s investor visa starts from just €250,000. However, most of our clients prefer the country’s elective residency visa, which allows you to live in Italy provided you have €32,000/year from funds earned outside Italy to support you. The country also offers generous flat tax rates to high-net-worth-individuals.

Contact us to discuss any of the options listed above.


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.


L-1 Visa for Manager of Small Business

New E-2 Visa Approval as Embassies Grind Back into Gear Worldwide

Davies & Associates secured yet another approval for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa client, this time for a Pakistani client who is starting up a marketing consultancy in the United States. The client’s E-2 approval – at the US embassy in Islamabad – shows that visa processing is slowly returning to normal after the disruption caused by Covid-19.

The situation continues to remain mixed globally. The availability of visa appointments depends upon local restrictions and the level of pent-up demand. If you are hoping to move your business and/or family to the US soon, it could be wise to prepare an application and position yourself in the queue. While visa processing for the E-2 visa takes place at embassies, L-1 Visa applications and EB-5 Visa applications also required the involvement of the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), which has also been affected by Covid-related shutdowns and slowdowns.

The E-2 approval in Islamabad follows on from a recent E-2 approval for a client from the US embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, pointing to the green shoots of recovery.

E-2 Visa Company

The Pakistani E-2 Treaty Investor will operate a marketing consulting company that offers blended perspectives on technology architecture, human psychology, user experience design, and communications. Unlike competitors that focus on one angle, the company can use its collective insights and experiences to deliver projects, ideas, or strategies that are more nuanced and cohesive.

The E-2 Company offers ongoing communication services, time-bound services, and strategic brand development services, as well as content-based products such as online courses and books. The Company operates on a service-based business model, where revenue is generated from short-term client contracts (fixed price and duration) and long-term client contracts (ongoing monthly retainers).

E-2 Visa Investment Amount

The applicant invested $100,000 in the new business. There is no fixed investment amount for an E-2 Visa, but normally the US authorities expect an investment upwards of $100,000. That said, we have managed to secure visas for clients investing less than this. The investment does not need to all be cash; inventory and IP can also be acceptable forms of investment.

The client received the $100,000 as a gift from her father. Gifts are an acceptable source of funds for US investor visas – but the person gifting the money may also need to document the source of their funds. In order to minimize the client’s, her risk money was committed to an Escrow account. This allows her to demonstrate her plan to invest, but allowed her to regain the cash should her application not succeed.

E-2 Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for an E-2 Visa you must be a citizen of a Treaty Country. Click here to check the list of countries. If your country is not on the list, you can become eligible for the E-2 Visa by first obtaining citizenship by investment of Grenada. Grenada offers a fast and cost-effective route to citizenship. Processing has continued in Grenada during the Covid pandemic.

To learn more about the E-2 Visa, please contact Verdie Atienza, Senior Immigration Attorney and Head of E-2 & L-1 Visa Practice at 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.


Vaccine Requirement for US Travel

Do I Need to be Vaccinated to Travel to the United States?

An increasing number of clients are contacting us to ask whether they need to be vaccinated to travel to the United States. President Biden has mandated that most foreign nationals visiting the United States will need to show proof of vaccination from Covid-19 when global travel to the USA opens up on November 8. However, some exemptions will apply.

Which vaccines are accepted for travel to the United States?

Most foreign nationals entering the United States on a non-immigrant visa or as a tourist must show proof of vaccination. The US will accept a wider range of vaccines than just those approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) (Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen). The list of vaccines accepted for inbound travel is expanded to include all World Health Organization vaccines, which includes AstraZenaca, Covishield, Sinopharm and Sinovac. The Sputnik vaccine is not currently approved by the WHO and therefore not currently accepted for travel.

Are Green Card Holders subject to US Vaccination Requirements for Travel?

US Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) are not subject to the vaccination requirements to enter the United States. However, there are testing requirements to travel. Most of our clients have obtained US permanent residency through the EB-1c Visa (International Managers & Executives), EB-1A Visa (Extraordinary Talent), and EB-5 Visa (Green Card by Investment of $500,000).

Are There Exemptions from the Vaccine Requirements for Travel to the United States?

The US authorities has published a list of exemptions from the vaccination requirements. This includes:

  • Anyone from a country that has limited (<10%) vaccine coverage.
  • Anyone under the age of 18
  • Anyone who can document a medical reason they cannot be vaccinated against Covid-19
  • Anyone granted a humanitarian exception to enter the US
  • Anyone deemed in the national interest of the United States
  • There are also exemptions for diplomats, military families and sea crew.

How does the exemption for countries with limited vaccine coverage work?

Anyone from a country with a vaccine coverage of less than 10% is exempt from showing proof of vaccination at the border. There are currently 50 countries on this list. See list of eligible countries. The list is subject to change as vaccination rates improve. There is still ultimately a requirement for these people to get vaccinated once inside the United States. Please note, this exemption does NOT apply to anyone on an B-1 or B-2 Visa.

Does the exemption apply to L-1 Visa holders and E-2 Visa holders?

Our firm has filed many L-1 and E-2 Visa applications on behalf of clients during Covid. These business migration visas are categorized as “non-immigrant visas” and are therefore NOT exempt from the vaccine requirement. If you are currently inside the US on one of those visas and subsequently leave and attempt to return, you will need to show proof of vaccination status. If you are currently outside the United States with an approved or pending L1 Visa or E2 Visa application you will need to show evidence of vaccination.

The aforementioned list of exemptions apply to L-1 and E-2 Visa holders . So children on E-2 Derivative Visas or L-2 Visas are exempt provided they are under 18 (you can bring dependent children with you to the US on both E-2 and L-1 provided they are under the age of 21.) You may also be eligible for an exemption if you are from a country with low vaccine uptake.

The L-1 Visa allows you to move staff to an existing or newly-established office of your overseas business. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows people from Treaty Countries to move to the US for the purposes of investing in and operating a business.

I do not want to get vaccinated, what are my options?

It is not clear how long the vaccine requirement will remain in place. The processing times for non-immigrant visa application are usually relatively quick. Since Covid-19 has caused closures and slowdowns at US embassies and at the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), processing times have increased. Anyone considering an application today, may find that current waiting times will exceed the vaccine rules. But there is no guarantee of this. As with everything during Covid, uncertainty abounds. An alternative is to seek a permanent residency option. The EB-5 Visa (Green Card by investment) is one of the most popular among our clients especially as the minimum investment requirement dropped to $500,000 in June. Yet processing times for permanent residency take longer than for non-immigrant visas.


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.


US Reopens for Traveler from November

US Travel Ban to be Lifted on November 8th

President Biden has announced the United States will reopen to all vaccinated travellers who can produce a negative test from November 8, ending a twenty-month ban on most visitors from a range of countries worldwide.

Under the Covid-19 travel ban, most people who had been in the Europe, the UK, China, India, South Africa and Brazil in the past 14 days were prohibited from traveling to the United States. The lifting of the ban means anyone can enter the United States provided they are fully vaccinated and can produce a negative test.

Many of our clients have put their US plans on hold until they can be physically present in the United States. For example, some of our E-2 Visa clients have expressed an interest in visiting the US to search for businesses before commencing their application. Similarly, some EB-5 Visa applicants have wanted to visit the US to view a Regional Center project, but changes to the program (investment thresholds and reauthorization) have played a greater role in decision making than Covid-19.

Despite the imminent lifting of the travel ban, Covid-19 continues to have an impact on US immigration. It has caused a slow down in processing at both the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and at US embassies and consulates worldwide. Some embassies are back to near-normal services, while others remain closed. Either way there is a backlog of applications to process and clients are advised to act soon to position themselves in the line.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which allows people to invest in and actively run a business in the United States has remained open to applicants throughout the pandemic. At a time when President Trump closed most other categories, the E-2 remained open to new applicants. This visa is governed by treaties with sovereign governments and is less exposed to political changes in Washington. The country in which you hold citizenship must hold a relevant treaty for you to be eligible. Click here to find out if your country holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If it does not, you first have to obtain citizenship of an E-2 country – see Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program – before you can apply for the E-2 Visa.

E-2 Visa Processing only involves your local embassy and does not involve the USCIS. In normal times, processing times are very quick, which means the whole Grenada + E2 Visa process could take nine months on average. Covid has increased that time, but it is still relatively quick (depending upon the impact of Covid on your local embassy).

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

The L-1 Visa is also open to new applicants after it was temporarily suspended by President Trump because of Covid. The lingering influence of Covid-19 has continued to impact processing times. Unlike the E-2 Visa, the L-1 visa is open to people of all nationalities. You can use this visa to move staff from an overseas office to the US office of the same company, and you can also set up a new US office of your foreign business and move yourself to the US to manage its growth. See new-office L-1 Visa.

EB-5 Investor Visa

The EB-5 Investor Visa has also been open to applications throughout much of the Covid-19 pandemic – President Trump deliberately exempted this revenue-raising, job-creating visa from his immigration ban last year. A federal judge reduce the investment threshold back to $500,000 in June causing a spike in demand. While the Direct EB-5 pathway remains open, the Regional Center pathway is currently on hold pending reauthorization in the United States Congress. If the EB-5 program reopens, it is anticipated that demand could be high, so some clients are already working on their source of funds to position themselves at the front of the line when things reopen.

These visa categories represent just some of the immigration solutions our firm can support clients with. While processing times have slowed down during Covid-19 and some visa categories were temporarily suspended, commerce always finds a way. Business owners, investors and entrepreneurs will always be welcome in America. Our firm has filed plenty of successful immigration applications during the past 20 months and we are excited to accelerate that as the world gets back to normal.


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.


Verdie Atienza- E-2 Visa Lawyer

Immigration Attorney Explains E-2 Visa Citizenship Requirement.

Senior Immigration Attorney at our firm, Verdie Atienza, details all the issues surrounding nationality requirements for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. In the video, which you can watch below, Verdie explains that you must be a citizen of an E-2 Treaty country. The full list of E-2 countries can be found here.

Don’t worry if you are NOT from an E-2 Treaty Country. You can obtain citizenship of an E-2 country and then apply. The two countries with the fastest and cheapest pathways to citizenship are Grenada and Turkey. Verdie outlines the process and costs in the video.

The E-2 visa allows you to move to the United States for the purposes of investing in and actively running a business. Your investment must be sufficient for the business and usually upwards of $100,000. Spouses can apply for work permits for the US and children under the age of 21 can accompany you. You can keep renewing the visa so long as the business continues to operate successfully.

Watch the video and contact Verdie if you have any questions.


E2 Treaty Investor Visa Approved in Pandemic Time

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Advantages: Fast Processing Times

The head of our E-2 Visa Practice Verdie J. Atienza speaks in our latest video about some of the advantages of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Firstly, we look at the fast processing times of this visa.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is unique in that the work is primarily done by embassies and consulates rather than the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) US embassies and consulates have been closed or providing reduced services over the past eighteen month as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have started to reopen, but this is all very much dependant upon the individual location. With places in Europe reopening after lockdown and places in the Far East and Australasia clamping down.

In normal times, applicants can expect to wait just a few weeks and up to a month for the embassy to review their petition. Premium processing is also available, whereby you pay a little extra on the administration fee to jump the queue.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor allows a person to move to the US with their family for the purposes of owning and operating a business. The E-2 investor must be actively involved in managing the business, but the spouse can apply for authorization to work in the US. The visa is renewable in instalments up to 5 years, but provided the underlying business continues to operate, you can keep renewing it.

There is no minimum investment required for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, but it must be appropriate for the business in question and we usually recommend investments upwards of $100,000. This does not all need to be cash, but can also be inventory, intellectual property and other items.

The E-2 Visa offers flexibility in the type of business you can own and operate. You can expand your foreign business, acquire and existing US business, start a new business, or purchase a franchise business.

E-2 Visa Plus Citizenship by Investment (CBI)

To be eligible for the E-2 Visa your must be a citizen of an E-2 country. Click here to check if you are from an E-2 country. If you are not a citizen of an E-2 country then you need our E-2 + CBI package. This is where you first obtain citizenship by investment of an E-2 Treaty country and then progress to an E-2 application.

The two E-2 countries with the fastest and most cheapest routes to citizenship are Grenada in the West Indies and Turkey on the eastern edge of Europe. Grenada Citizenship starts from $150,000 for a donation and $220,000 for an investment. Turkish citizenship starts from $250,000 for an investment and $500,000 for deposits in a Turkis bank.

Average processing times for both Turkey CBI and Grenada CBI are fast – just a few months and in some instances just a month or two. When you couple that with the fast processing times of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, this dual step route can take just a matter of months.

Contact us to learn more.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Advantages: Quick Processing Times

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-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.


Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme

Grenada Reopens to Vaccinated Travellers

Grenada is reopening to fully vaccinated travellers. And while you do not actually need to visit Grenada to obtain Grenadian Citizenship by Investment, many applicants do still wish to go and forge a personal connection with the island paradise in the Caribbean Sea.

Getting into Grenada

Grenada considers a person fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer, AstraZenaca or Moderna, or two weeks after the first dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine. What is the process for getting in if youre fully vaccinated?

  1. Book two nights of quarantine in an approved location before you travel
  2. Get a PCR test 72 hours before flying
  3. Prepay for a PCR test for your arrival in Grenada
  4. Obtain travel authorisation from Grenada
  5. Fly to Grenada
  6. Present proof of vaccination
  7. Take PCR test at airport
  8. Stay in quarantine for 48 hours while your PCR test is checked

Pathways to Citizenship in Grenada

Grenada offers two pathways to citizenship – a donation to its National Transformation Fund starting from $150,000 or an investment in real estate from $350,000 with a $50,000 government fee. There is also an option for a partial share of a real estate investment from $220,000. Investment opportunities must be approved by the government and tend to be hotels and villas on the island. There are a handful of approved developers who have a long history working with the CBI programme. Some developers offer the option for a buyback of your investment after Grenada’s CBI conditions have been met.

Benefits of Grenada Citizenship

Grenada has a strong and stable economy with a strong tourism sector. Tourism numbers inevitably fell during the pandemic, but the country is predicting a quick rebound. Reopening the border to fully vaccinated travellers is the first step in this process. The Grenadian passport is relatively strong offering visa free access to around 130 countries, including the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the People’s Republic of China.

Access to the E-2 Visa

Grenadian citizens are also eligible for the United States E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This allows a person from a treaty country to move to the US to invest in and run a business or franchise. Only citizens of Treaty Countries are eligible, so that excludes India, Russia, China, Vietnam and more. We have helped clients obtain E-2 visas via Grenada and its Citizenship by Investment programme.

While the Grenada CBI programme does not require applicants to visit the island as part of the application process, it is advisable that anyone considering the E-2 option should visit the island and create local ties. The US embassy that is responsible for E-2 applications from Grenadian citizens is on the neighbouring island of Barbados and Grenadian E-2 applicants may have to visit Barbados for interview.


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.


All You Need to About IEP

International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Program: What you need to know

The Biden Administration has relaunched the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Program this week. The International Entrepreneur Parole program allows the owners and managers of promising startups to temporarily reside in the United States to grow businesses that have strong economic and job-creation potential.

Who is Eligible for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

As the name suggests the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is open to global entrepreneurs, but ultimately eligibility will be determined by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) on a case-by-case basis.

Basic eligibility requirements include:

  • The business must be a startup, created within the past five year within the United States
  • The applicant must hold “Substantial Ownership” in the startup business
  • The applicant must play an active role in the business
  • The business must have secured credible funding or other demonstrable support from private US investors, or federal, state & local entities.

How long is the International Entrepreneur Parole Program Valid for?

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is valid for up to 30 months initially. This can be extended by another 30 months provided the business is able to demonstrate that it has grown and created jobs. However, parole is not a visa and people wanting to stay in the United States for longer will need to carefully plan their options. Anyone from an E-2 Treaty Country could potentially transition to an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. If the underlying business becomes large enough or the entrepreneur privately has enough funds, then the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa offers a relatively fast route to a Green Card for a $900,000 investment. A Green Card is the name for US permanent residency, which offers the freedom to live and work anywhere in the United States.

Can my spouse and children accompany me to the United States under the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

Yes. Spouses (husbands and wives) and children can accompany the primary applicant to the United States under the International Entrepreneur Program. Spouses can apply for work authorization. The primary applicant can only work for the startup and is not eligible to work elsewhere in the United States.

How many entrepreneurs can be granted International Entrepreneur Parole under this Program?

The maximum number of entrepreneurs per startup business is three (3).

Is the International Entrepreneur Parole Program only for Hi-Tech Startups?

No. The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is for any startup business in any industry sector. Provided it meets the key criteria and can prove that it offers strong growth and job creation potential for the United States.

Do I need to make an investment as part of International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

The start-up must have received an investment of at last $250,000 from private US based investors of $100,000 grants or awards from public agencies (local, state or federal). If you do not satisfy this criteria, you may still be granted approval if there is sufficient evidence to suggest the start-up will grow rapidly. At the renewal stage, you should be able to show that the business has received $500,000 in private or public and that it has generated $500,000 in revenue.

Which countries are eligible for the International Entrepreneur Parole Program?

The International Entrepreneur Parole Program is open to people from all countries unless there are specific sanctions or restrictions that impacts all form of immigration between your country and the United States. This means that the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is more wide reaching that the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which has more advantages but is limited to people from Treaty Countries.

How does the International Entrepreneur Parole Program Compare with the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows an applicant to invest in and run a business in the United States. One of its main advantages over the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is the length of time you can remain in the United States. While the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is limited to 30 months with an additional 30 months for entrepreneurs who can demonstrate growth, the E-2 Visa is renewable forever provided the E-2 business continues to operate successfully. Like the IEP program, the E-2 Visa needs to be renewed and reviewed, but entrepreneurs usually have a little longer. This actual validity of your initial E-2 Visa does depend on where you are from – each country has its own validity period detailed in the State Department’s reciprocity schedules.

The advantage the IEP program has over the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is that the E-2 visa is only available to people from E-2 Treaty Countries. The International Entrepreneur Parole Program could be an alternative if you are not from an E-2 Treaty County. However, there is also another solution: E-2 Visa eligibility is determined by citizenship, so it is possible to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country and become eligible for the visa. The fastest and most cost-effective ways to become a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country is the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme and the Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program.

How does the International Entrepreneur Parole Program Compare with the L-1 Visa?

Another alternative to the International Entrepreneur Parole Program is the L-1 Visa. The L-1 Visa permits the transfer of employees within the same company, the L-1A is for for International Managers & Executives and the L-1B is for highly skilled employees with specialized knowledge. Our firm specializes in New Office L-1 Visas, where you set up a new US office of your company and transfer an employee to the US to oversee the startup and growth of that company.

Unlike E-2, there are no nationality requirements for the L-1 Visa. The L-1A Visa can last up to seven years and the L-1B can be renewed up to a maximum of five years, both of which are longer than the IEP program. However, new office L-1 visas need to be reviewed and renewed after one year – which is earlier than the IEP program, but the progress requirements are usually less stringent. L-1 Visa holders who wish to remain in the United States permanently have a clear cut route to a Green Card through the EB-1c visa option.


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.


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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