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.


US Immigration Check

E-2 Extension Approved Despite Sluggish Performance in Pandemic

By Verdie Atienza, Head of L-1 & E-2 Visa Practice

Two years ago, D&A assisted an investor from Jordan obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa through his investment in a furniture business. He applied to change of status after he entered the U.S. on a visitor visa. With the change of status application, he did not have to appear for interview at the Embassy which made more sense to him since he wanted to immediately operate the business and considering that the reciprocity schedule for Jordanian nationals is only 3 months. His spouse and dependent children thereafter applied for their visas at the Embassy to join him in the U.S.

While the first year and six months were not very good for the E-2 company, D&A managed to secure an extension of status for the client. While things became much harder in the first few months of the pandemic due to store shutdowns and stay-at-home orders,  retail sales rebounded strongly due to sustained consumer resilience.

Extension of Status Approval

D&A highlighted the record percentage increase in sales in 2020 to convince USCIS that the Company is very much poised to achieve the forecasts in the business plan submitted with the initial petition. D&A emphasized the strong stock market, rising home values and record savings boosted by government stimulus payments in 2020 to assert that the Company is slowly but surely moving the path of attaining goals that is expected to ultimately result in positive contributions to the US economy, specifically in the area of employment generation.

While it was certainly not easy to get the E-2 status extended, it pays to have an experienced team on your side to present your application in the best light possible to get a favorable decision from USCIS.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Visa allows anyone with citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country to apply to move to the United States to invest in and run a business. Anyone not from a Treaty Country can first obtain citizenship of a Treaty Country and become eligible in this way. See Grenada Citizenship by Investment and Turkey Citizenship by Investment. The E-2 Visa application process requires the submission of a credible business plan and renewals are granted on the basis of performance against that business plan.

Our team has successfully filed many E-2 Treaty Investor visa cases, including where the additional step of obtaining citizenship of the E-2 Treaty country is required. D&A is one of the few firms able to support a client across the entire Grenada Citizenship by Investment and E-2 Visa process without needing to outsource the work.


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.


End of US Travel Ban Releases Pent-Up Demand from Nigeria

President Biden’s decision to reverse President Trump’s travel ban has released pent up demand for US immigration services from Nigeria.

Nigeria was hit with a US travel ban in February 2020 after President Trump introduced new restrictions as part of his ongoing immigration reforms. The move added Nigeria and five other countries to what was widely referred to as a “Muslim Ban” that dated back to the start of his administration.

In Nigeria, where around half the population are Muslim, the ban specifically targeted those seeking permanent residency in the United States. This hit particularly hard in the family-based immigrant (Green Card) categories, but also effectively put a halt to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program in the country.

EB-5 Visa Nigeria

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program had been growing rapidly in popularity in Nigeria over the past few years, albeit from a low base. In 2016, 38 EB-5 visa were issued to Nigerians, and by 2018 that number had jumped to almost 100.

The travel ban coincided with an increase in the minimum investment amount for EB-5 to $900,000 and then the outbreak of Covid-19. So a temporary dampening of demand in 2020 was likely with or without the travel ban.

But now EB-5 reopens and the pent-up demand is able to unleash. There are just over 700 EB-5 visas available to each country each year. This means Nigeria has a way to go before it hits its annual cap. But if its EB-5 growth trajectory resembles other countries like India, things could move fast.

The EB-5 program provides a fast route to a Green Card for a minimum $900,000 investment that creates ten jobs. Most people invest with an EB-5 Regional Center to help ensure compliance, but it is also possible to make the investment yourself through Direct EB5. A single investment can cover the primary applicant, a spouse, and any children under 21.

L-1 Visa Nigeria

Where we are seeing the most interest right now from Nigeria is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. Technically Nigerians were not prevented from applying for this visa as part of the travel ban, but it made the whole process much harder.

Then in June 2020, President Trump announced a worldwide ban on the L-1 visa among many other visas as part of his plans to contain the economic impact of Covid-19. The L-1 visa is only just reopening as Trump’s ban expires. The pent up demand has built up quite a queue worldwide, so it is a good idea to get started on an application.

The L-1A visa allows an international manager or executive to move from the Nigerian office to the US office of the same company. If you are looking to expand your business to the US, you can use the L-1 visa to move to the US to oversee the set-up and growth of the new office. The L-1B visa permits you to transfer an employee with “Specialized knowledge” to the US.

The L-1A visa is limited to a maximum of seven years and the L-1B for a maximum of 5 years. But you would not get the full amount in one go. Nigerian L-1 visas are issued up to a maximum of 2 years, at which time you would need to apply for a renewal. After the maximum period, you must switch to a different visa or return to Nigeria.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Plus CBI

The other visa a lot of potential Nigerian clients ask us about is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. The E-2 visa allows a person to move to the US for the purposes of owning and operating a business. People use it to buy restaurant franchises or gas stations, but the business opportunities are much broader than this. You no longer even need physical premises.

The visa is hugely popular, but there is one catch for Nigerians. Nigeria does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the USA. This means that Nigerians seeking an E-2 visa need to first become citizens of a country that does have a treaty. The process is known as E-2 + CBI.

The two E-2 countries with the cheapest and fastest routes to citizenship are Turkey and Grenada. Turkish citizenship can be obtained with an investment in real estate from $250,000 or bank deposits worth more than $500,000. Grenadian citizenship can be obtained with a donation from $150,000 or a real estate investment from $220,000. Citizenship of both countries can be obtained in a matter of months.

The extra step can seem like a hassle, but we have helped clients through this prcoess and it is simpler than it sounds. Plus, for many, the E-2 visa is worth the effort. Spouses of the primary applicant can apply for a separate US work permit, investment requirements are relatively low, and the visa can be renewed forever – provided the business is still in good operation.


The combination of Covid-19 and a travel ban has hit Nigerian immigration to the United States hard. But the travel ban is lifting and the vaccination program is underway. The 2020s look set to be brighter for Nigerians hoping to move to the United States.


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.


FEMA-Compliant Immigration: Remitting Funds from India at the Beginning & End of the Financial Year

The Indian government limits the amount of money a person can take out of the country each year, which can present hurdles to emigration. But a quirk of the system offers an opportunity at the end of the tax year in March.

Since 2015, the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) introduced by the Royal Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) limits the amount of money a person can take out of India each financial year to a maximum of $250,000. Whilst this is a vast sum of money for most, these limits can actually be too low for people seeking investment and business immigration.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa from India

Citizenship and residency by investment programs usually require considerably more than $250,000. For example, the United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, requires a minimum investment of $900,000 per family.

Theoretically, it would take four financial years for a single person to remit the necessary funds to pay for EB-5. But in practice, most applicants get friends and families to use their annual remittance allowance to build up the necessary funds in a shorter period of time.

This has implications for documenting the Source of Funds used to pay for EB-5. Each dollar needs to come from legitimate sources and should be adequately accounted for. Any funds being gifted by a relative need to go through the same rigorous scrutiny as your own.

Read more EB-5 Visa for Indians

Split Remittances

Yet some of our Indian clients adopt a different approach. The financial year in India resets on April 1. This means it is possible to transfer $250,000 in March and a further $250,000 a month later in April. That brings the total to $500,000 per person in a short space of time.

Many of our EB-5 clients move with a spouse who would be part of the same investment and application. (A single application and single investment leads to Green Cards for the primary applicant, any spouse and children under the age of 21). So, if both spouses remitted in this way, the applicant family is at $1,000,000 without the need to involve extended family.

The majority of our remaining clients are younger adults, often recent graduates hopeful of staying in the US, but concerned with H-1B or having used up the maximum time allowable on this visa. They often have parental support. Again, using the March/April time period, allows the applicant and a parent to make up the necessary funds.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa from India

Demand for EB-5 visa from india has become more stable after skyrocketing over the past five years. It is now the turn of the E-2 visa to become the new frontier in Indian immigration to the United States.

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the US with their family for the purposes of owning and operating a business. The investment level is usually much lower, and regularly falls well under the annual remittance allowance. Broadly speaking, it should be more than $100,000, but the key is to make sure the investment level would support the needs of the business you are buying or starting.

But here is the rub. Indians are not directly eligible because India does not hold a relevant treaty with the United States. Indian have to first become citizens of an E-2 Treaty country to become eligible. It is not as complicated as it sounds, and we have helped a number of Indian clients move to America in this way.

The E-2 country with the fastest and cheapest route to citizenship is Grenada in the West Indies. It requires an investment in real estate from $220,000 or a donation to the public funds from $150,000. Alone, either the investment or the donation route is below India’s annual remittance cap. But, when combined with your E-2 investment, you quickly surpass the annual limit.

Read more about Grenada Citizenship by Investment

Spouses using both their allowances can aggregate their annual allowance to $500,000 which should be sufficient. But where this is not possible, or where more money is required, the March / April split remittances may prove useful.

With the India to Grenada to E-2 route, there is also more room for manoeuvre with the timings. With EB-5 a client is expected to have all the funds pretty much at once depending on the EB-5 Regional Center you are investing with. But with Grenada and E-2, you can neatly divide the process into two sections and pursue Grenada and then E-2 in different financial years.

But note, the whole India to Grenada to E-2 process is fast. It can take less than nine months in total. So, with this in mind, so the March/April window can still be crucial in certain circumstances.

Living Expenses

So far, we have only talked about remitting the funds needed to secure the immigration status. You need a place to live and money to spend on personal expenses and school fees until you have found work or your business is turning a profit.

All these day-to-day expenses would need to be included in the remittance calculations, enhancing the case for splitting payments around the start and end of the financial year.

Wider World

The United States is not the only destination we serve at Davies & Associates, and it is by no means the only place Indians wish to emigrate. Whether you want to move to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Italy or beyond, you need to consider the limitations posed by the Liberalised Remittance Scheme at the very start of the process.

The window for moving more than $250,000 money in a legally compliant way is now open, but will close again in April. People considering emigrating in the short to medium term may wish to make use of the FY2020-21 remittance allowance to keep their options open over the coming year.

Davies & Associates can help with all of this. Everyone’s circumstances are different. It is best to contact us to discuss your specific situation to work out how your immigration goals can be met in a FEMA-compliant way.


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.


India’s Economy Predicted to be Fastest Growing in World in 2021: Options for Expanding Your Business Overseas


The Indian economy is forecast to be the fastest growing in the world this year. According to a report by Global Data the Indian economy is predicted to grow by 9.7% as its vaccination program gets underway.

As India’s economy recovers and grows, its business owners and entrepreneurs are once again eyeing global growth. At Davies & Associates we are seeing an uptick in demand for US and UK business and investors visas, as well as some interest in new markets like Vietnam and Italy.


L-1 Visa: Expanding a Business to the United States

Our Indian clients have continued to want to expand their businesses to the United States throughout the pandemic. Travel restrictions and an immigration suspension have inevitably slowed things down, but with a vaccine and a new Biden administration, things are starting to open up.

The main visa for expanding a business to the U.S. is the L-1 Visa, which allows a manager, executive or specialized-knowledge employee to move to the U.S. to oversee the establishment of the new office. With its teams of corporate and immigration lawyers, Davies & Associates helps its clients establish the U.S. entity as well as conducting all the necessary visa work.

The L-1 is a time limited visa restricted to a maximum of seven years, so L-1 visa holders need to then return home or transition to another visa. There is a possibility of obtaining a green card under the EB1C Visa, provided the client is able to demonstrate that there was no immigrant intent at the time of applying for the L-1 Visa.


E-2 Visa: Starting a Business in the United States

The other key solution for setting up a business in the United States is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. We have been helping an increasing number of Indians with this visa, despite it not been a typical route to America. In fact, we were one of the first law firms to obtain an E-2 Visa for clients from. This is because Indians are not directly eligible for the E-2 Visa because India does not hold a relevant treaty with the United States. Our Indian clients need to first become a citizen of an E-2 Treaty Country. Typically they opt for Grenada in the West Indies.

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the US with their family to invest in and run a business. The investment required needs to be appropriate to the business plan and usually upwards of $100,000. The visa can be renewed as long as the business continues to operate and spouses can apply to work outside the business.

The Grenada Citizenship by Investment application is quick and relatively cost effective. It takes just a few months and the applicant does not need to appear in person. The price starts from $150,000 for a donation to the national fund or $220,000 for an investment in real estate. Grenada has continued to process applications throughout the pandemic.


EB-5 Investor Visa

India was the largest market in the world for the U.S. EB-5 Investor Visa in 2019. That was before the investment requirement increased from $500,000 to $900,000 in November of that year to account for inflation that had not been applied since the program started in the 1990s.

The sticker shock of the price rise combined with Covid-19 dampened demand for EB-5 in 2020, but demand is on the rise again. It is good timing. Indians are limited to remitting a maximum of $250,000 each financial year – which will reset on April 1. This means that half the funds for and EB-5 investment can be remitted at the end of March and the remainder at the end of April. This should be done in a legally compliant way and we urge you to discuss this with our team.

Congress will debate the future of EB-5 at the end of June. The industry is hoping for long term reauthorization that will provide a clear steer to applicants. The changes could well be positive, but investors who wish to proceed with the certainty of the current regulations ought to consider applying before then.


UK Immigration Options

The UK has emerged from Brexit and is starting to look to Asia and to the Commonwealth. India ticks both boxes, and the UK remains a popular destination for our Indian clients. Entrepreneurs have the option of moving to the UK as the Sole Representative of their company, by transferring to the UK office of the business they work for, or by applying for a Start-up or Innovator Visa. The UK also offers residency by investment, albeit for considerably more than the U.S. with a starting price of £2 million.


Italian Immigration Options

Italy still has some way to go to be as popular with our Indian clients as the U.S. or the U.K., but people are nevertheless showing increasing interest in the country. Our recent expert webinar on One Euro Homes proved particular popular, and people have been intrigued by the Elective Residency Visa. This offers Italian residency to anyone who can prove they have at least €32,000 a year from income outside Italy to support themselves. Italy offers a residency-by-investment visa which is much cheaper than the U.S. or the U.K. The government recently reduced the price as a result of Covid, and investment now starts from €250,000.


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.


Why OCI may be the Next Best Thing to Citizenship for Indians

India does not allow dual citizenship, but Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status offers a form of permanent residency with many of the benefits of Indian citizenship.


Second Citizenship and OCI

We have experienced a sharp rise in demand for second citizenship among our Indian clients over the past few years. While many wish to relocate to long-popular destinations like the UK, Canada & Australia, a new trend has been quietly emerging.

Indians have started to obtain citizenship of less well-known places like Grenada in the West Indies. Places they have never visited and sometimes never even heard of before.

Why are they doing this? Well Grenada has lots to offer in its own right – a stable economy, beautiful beaches, and cricket, to name just a few. But one of the primary motivating factors is the fact that it offers Indians access to the United States E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows a person to move to the United States with their family for the purposes of investing in and running a business. Unlike the popular H-1B Visa, there are no limits or quotas, and it is not subjected to the same fast changing political whims.

The E-2 Treaty is governed by treaties with sovereign states, which outlast one particular president or another. But it is precisely because it is governed treaties that India is not eligible. India does not have a relevant treaty with the United States.

Therefore, to become eligible the E-2 visa, Indians need to first obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. The E-2 Treaty countries with the quickest and most cost-effective pathways to citizenship are Grenada and Turkey. Grenada has typically been more popular with our Indian clients.


What is OCI?

The only reticence we see with Indian clients pursuing the Grenada + E-2 route surrounds the issue of citizenship.

While Grenada allows dual citizenship, India does not. So, our clients are faced with the prospect of giving up their Indian citizenship for citizenship of a much smaller country a long way from home.

While for some, this is entirely worthwhile. They see the strength of the Grenada passport worldwide (it is one of the few countries to have visa free access to China, as well as the European Schengen area, and the U.K. – not to mention its access to the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa).

But for others, the decision can be more daunting.

That is where OCI or Overseas Citizenship of India comes in. Anyone faced with the prospect of giving up their Indian citizenship can apply for OCI status and have many of the same rights as full citizens.

The principle differences between OCI and full citizenship are that Overseas Citizens of India are not eligible to vote, are not eligible to hold public office, and are not eligible to acquire agricultural land.

In most other aspects Overseas Citizens of India are treated much the same as Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Indian citizens who reside outside of India for at least 182 days per year.

The OCI is essentially a life-long, multiple-entry visa to visit or live in India for any purpose including work. It is essentially a form of permanent residency.


Some benefits of OCI
  • No need to report presence in India to the authorities
  • Same rights as Non Resident Indians except not able to acquire agricultural land
  • Additional permission required for work in fields of journalism, research, missionary and mountaineering
  • Same rights as Indian citizens to domestic air fares and to the admission price for national parks
  • Same rights as Non Resident Indians to work in registered progressions, e.g. doctors, dentists, nurses, advocates, architects, and chartered accountants.

And it is not only people who surrender their Indian nationality that are eligible for OCI status. Anyone with an Indian parent, grandparent or great grandparent is eligible. This makes the OCI program very popular in countries with large Indian diaspora communities like the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.


Restrictions on OCI
  • Cannot vote
  • Cannot run for political office
  • Cannot obtain government jobs
  • Cannot acquire agricultural land

Grenada Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship of Grenada can be obtained within an average of less than three months for an investment in real estate starting from $220,000 or a donation to a public fund from $150,000. The Turkish program requires an investment in real estate starting from $250,000 or deposits in a Turkish bank of $500,000 or more.


What is the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 visa allows a person to move to the U.S. with their family to actively invest in and run a business. The required investment should be suitable for the business, usually starting from $100,000, and this should be reflected in a credible business plan. Spouses can apply for work authorization outside the business and the family is free to travel to and from the United States.

It is possible to invest in a franchise business, or set up a business from scratch. It is important that the business is structured in a way that complies with all immigration regulations. We advise E-2 applicants to engage not just our immigration lawyers, but also our corporate lawyers. Both teams work closely together to maximize the chances of a successful application and subsequent renewals.


Reversing the Process: Becoming a Citizen Again

The decision to surrender Indian citizenship is rarely taken lightly. OCI offers many of the same benefits, and for people whose minds or circumstances have changed, there is a route to re-obtaining Indian citizenship.

A person who is registered as an OCI for 5 years is eligible to apply for Indian Citizenship if they have been living in India for one of those five years.

This is, nevertheless, an immensely important decision. We recommend that you speak with our attorneys so you are fully apprised of OCI, citizenship by investment, and where applicable, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Please contact us to discuss your personal 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.


Keeping a Family together through the E-2 Visa: Client Case Study

Our client wanted to be temporarily reunited with his wife who was living in the United States, but time limitations to his visitor visa meant he had to seek a longer- term alternative. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa proved the optimal solution.

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Attorney, Head of E-2 and L-1 Visa Practice

Our firm assisted a Jordanian national to with obtaining an E-2 visa and subsequently a green card. While he is married to a US permanent resident, he did not initially wish to reside in America permanently.

Since he did not want to be apart from his wife for too long, he entered the US on his visitor’s visa and was given a period of 6 months of authorized stay.

Prior to the expiration of his period of authorized stay, he has decided that he wants to stay for a longer period of time to determine whether he wants to permanently decide to live in the US or convince his wife go back with him to Jordan. We recommended the change of status to E-2 option for him.

Our firm assisted him in setting up his E-2 company and guided him on making the investments. He opened a bakery restaurant which offers a variety of Lebanese-style flatbreads with a variety of toppings, with options for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans.  

Having a permanent resident wife posed a hurdle in terms of proving his non-immigrant intent. We worked with the client in documenting ties to Jordan and we successfully obtained an approval which granted a period of authorized stay of two years on E-2 status.

The success of his business changed his mind about his future in America. He decided to apply for permanent residency by virtue of his marriage to a Green Card holder.

The priority date for spouses of permanent residents had recently become current and so we advised him to immediately file an adjustment of status application.

The application has been approved and he is now waiting for his Green Card. With careful planning, our firm managed to lessen the client’s physical separation from his wife.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the United States for the purposes of investing in and running a business. The visa is renewable indefinitely, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

Spouses can move to America along with the primary applicant and can apply to work outside the business. Dependant children can also move to the United States with their parents.

Investors can choose to purchase a ready-made franchise business provided it complies with the E-2 visa regulations. Davies & Associates has a team of corporate lawyers to make sure the franchise or start-up is structured in a way that complies with all the immigration regulations.

While many E-2 clients opt to invest in restaurants or retail, some choose to have businesses that do not necessarily require a bricks-and-mortar presence. These people benefit from a recent innovation to the E-2 visa program that no longer requires the business to have a physical premises.

Who is eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Eligibility for the E-2 Visa is determined by country of citizenship. An applicant must hold citizenship of a country that holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States.

The full list of countries with E-2 Treaties can be found here. Jordan holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States, so this client was directly eligible for the program. Since there are no quotas for this program, the client was not subject to any waiting lists and his application could progress quickly.

Furthermore, since the E-2 Treaty is governed by treaties, it is less exposed to political machinations than most other visa categories. These treaties tend to outlast short-term political changes in Washington.

If the client had not been from an E-2 Treaty Country, the client would need to have first obtained citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country. The two E-2 treaty countries offering the quickest and most cost-effective pathways to citizenship are Grenada and Turkey.

Grenada offers dual citizenship within just a few months in exchange for an investment in real estate starting from $220,000 or a donation to a government fund starting from $150,000. Turkey requires a $250,000 investment in real estate or $500,000 deposits placed with Turkish banks.

Please contact us for more information: vatienza@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. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Immigration Outlook for 2021

Happy New Year from the entire team at Davies & Associates. With a global vaccination program underway, 2021 looks set to bring a welcome return to something closer to normality.

Despite the difficult circumstances, we were delighted to move so many families and businesses around the world in 2020, and we look forward to serving many more in the coming year.

Best wishes,
Mark I. Davies Esq.
Global Chairman, Davies & Associates



United States Immigration

Much of how immigration policy plays out during Biden’s first two years in office will depend on which party ends up in control of the Senate after a run-off election in Georgia today, January 5. Then tomorrow, January 6, Congress is required to sign off on the election results in what will be President Trump’s last opportunity to contest them ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. The political theater may calm down in late January, but questions will remain about how Biden will approach immigration policy as he attempts to repair the nation’s finances after Covid-19.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program in 2021

The EB-5 Investor Visa brings investment and jobs to the United States. It offers Green Cards for a qualifying family group in exchange for a minimum $900,000 investment that creates ten jobs. It is for this reason that the EB-5 Program was deliberately not suspended by President Trump in 2020. The program has enjoyed the support of politicians from both main political parties and showcases how the immigration system can be a net benefit to the economy and employment.

The EB-5 program will find itself on the agenda of Congress this year as it faces reauthorization in June and as a bipartisan reform bill gains ground. While this could have a positive impact, some investors may wish to act in the first half of the year to lock in their investments with the surety of the current regulations. 

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E-2 Treaty Investor Visa in 2021

The E-2 Treaty Investor is governed by treaties with sovereign countries, meaning it is more insulated from political changes than other types of visa. In fact, the oldest treaty (with the United Kingdom) was signed more than 200 years ago. The E-2 visa allows a person to move with their families for the purpose of investing in and running a business in the United States. It brings investment to the U.S. and creates jobs for U.S. workers. It was not covered by the Presidential Proclamation which banned the issuance of certain visas last year. 

Read Why You Should Apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa in 2021 in Silicon India magazine, by Verdie Atienza, the Senior Immigration Attorney in charge of our E-2 and L-1 Visa Practice.

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L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa in 2021

The issuance of L-1 Visas was suspended by President Trump last year. The President just extended the ban on L-1 (as well as H-1B visas) through to March 31, 2021. This means Joe Biden will need take the decision on whether to immediately roll back on President Trump’s policy on the L-1 category or let it lapse in three months time. Increasingly our firm is helping business owners make use of the L-1 visa to be allowed to move to America to set up a new office and oversee the expansion of their businesses. Despite the ban, our clients have been using the time to prepare an application for when the ban is lifted. 

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National Interest Exception

The U.S. border has been closed to the citizens of select countries with high rates of Covid-19. However, it is possible for L-1 and E-2 visa holders to apply for special permission to travel to the United States if they can make the case that this is in the national interest. Our firm obtained multiple National Interest Exceptions to allow our L-1 and E-2 clients to travel to the U.S. in 2020. Please contact us if this affects you. 

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Italian Immigration

Our Italian business grew rapidly in 2020, in spite of challenging circumstances. This year is set to be even stronger as the Italian government looks to the immigration system to help rebuild the economy. To that end, it cut the cost of the Italian residency-by-investment visa in half for certain types of investment. It has also fully reopened the Elective Residency Visa after some consulates stopped accepting applications because of Covid. Elective Residency, which is our most popular Italian visa, allows a person to obtain Italian residency if they can prove a regular income of at least €32,000 / year among other conditions. 

Our firm also helps clients with all matters relating to Italian tax, citizenship and property. At the end of 2020 we hosted a webinar on the famous One-Euro Homes project featuring an expert panel covering all aspects of the program – including someone who has been through the process.

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Click Here to Watch our One Euro Homes Webinar from December 2020

United Kingdom Immigration

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union at the end of 2020 and is gearing up its new points-based immigration system. It also recently launched a Global Talent Visa to attract future leaders in digital technology, academia, and the arts. The U.K. investor visa, skilled-worker visa, and start-up visa are all still available. Some of the details of the new system are yet to be determined, so we advise you to set up a consultation with our UK team.

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Grenada Citizenship by Investment

Demand for the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme grew during 2020 as more people sought dual citizenship amid the uncertainty of Covid-19. Grenada offers citizenship within a matter of months in exchange for an investment in Real Estate starting from $220,000 or a donation starting from $150,000. Grenada is an E-2 Treaty Country, which means people from a non E-2 Treaty Country (e.g. India, South Africa, Vietnam, Russia & China) can become eligible for the U.S. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa after obtaining citizenship of Grenada.

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Start a Business Anywhere in the World in 2021

Davies & Associates has helped hundreds of clients move their existing businesses overseas or start new ones around the world. The tasks of setting up an overseas office and of applying for the necessary visas are intricately linked. Our teams of corporate lawyers and immigration lawyers work closely together to ensure the business is set-up in a way that complies with all local immigration regulations. We then remain by our clients side, providing all the necessary ongoing corporate and immigration support as they grow and thrive in their new home.

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What Impact Will Biden have on E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

While Joe Biden spoke favorably about immigrants in the run-up to the 2020 election, he may find his ability to act favorably hampered by a hostile Senate and an economy ravaged by Covid. Despite this uncertainty, once visa category is likely to continue to be unscathed by all the dramas in Washington: the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

This is because the E-2 Visa is governed by treaties with sovereign countries that long outlast one president or another. In fact, the oldest E-2 Treaty – with the United Kingdom – dates back more than 200 years.

The E-2 Visa allows foreigners to move to the United States with their families for the purpose of owning and actively managing a business. This could be something they start-up from scratch, or it could be an off-the-shelf franchise business.

There is no fixed investment required for an E-2 visa, but the amount of capital being brought into the United States needs to be proportionate to the needs of the business.

The spouse of the E-2 visa holder can apply for work authorization in the United States and is not tied to working in the E-2 business. This offers a lot more employment flexibility than the H-1B visa, which somewhat bounds and employee to a particular employer.

The E-2 Visa does not bestow permanent residency, but can be renewed indefinitely provided the underlying business is still in operation. There are options for transitioning to a Green Card – for example, through the EB-5 Visa Program.

The E-2 has enjoyed bipartisan support in the United States because it brings investment and creates jobs. In fact, when President Trump chose to suspend a swathe of visa categories in response to Covid, he deliberately exempted the E-2 Visa from the “ban”.

Unlike other visa categories, there are no quotas or country caps for the E-2 Visa, and processing times are very fast in comparison.

The key limitation is whether your country holds a relevant treaty with the United States. You can find out if you country holds a treaty with the US here.

If your country does not hold a Treaty then don’t worry, there are still options. Firstly, new countries are sometimes added to the list. For example, Israel and New Zealand are recent additions to the list of E-2 Countries.

Nevertheless, citizens of countries like India, China, Vietnam, South Africa and more are not eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Citizens of these countries have to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country first.

The two countries that offer the most cost-effective and fastest routes to citizenship are Grenada in the Caribbean and Turkey. Once you have obtained citizenship of one of these countries, you can apply for the E-2 visa.

Grenada offers citizenship for a real estate investment starting at $220,000 or a donation of $150,000. Processing times are extremely fast and you are not required to visit the island. There is no tax on worldwide income and there are no residency requirements. Grenada allows dual citizenship.

Turkish citizenship can be obtained in a matter of months in exchange for a $250,000 investment in real estate or $500,000 deposits in a Turkish bank. Turkey is a popular option because of its helpful position as a global aviation hub.

Table: E-2 Countries Offering Citizenship By Investment

View our step-by-step infographic detailing the process of obtaining an E-2 Visa through citizenship by investment

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.


Clients Wait Out the EB-5 Queue in the USA Using E-2 Visa

D&A Clients Wait Out the EB-5 Queue in the USA Using E-2 Visa

We are delighted to have received yet another E-2 Treaty Investor Visa approval today. This time it’s for a client who already has an approved EB-5 application, but is facing a wait before an EB-5 visa becomes available. In fact, she is part of a growing trend of people looking to the E-2 visa as a means of moving to the United States faster than EB-5 allows.

The EB-5 Visa is proving fantastically popular in some quarters – especially China and Vietnam where supply is often outpacing demand. As well as India, South Korea and Taiwan where demand is fast catching up with supply.

When demand exceeds supply, that country is subject to a waiting list for EB-5.

There are normally around 700 EB-5 visas available to each country per year. The quota does not take account of population size, which partially explains why demand is so high in certain countries.

Growing demand can also be explained by the fact that the EB-5 investor visa is offers permanent residency at a lower cost than other similar nations, for example the UK starts from £2 million and Italy, which was mostly more expensive until the Italian government reduced its investment amounts over the summer in response to Covid-19.

How long are the delays?

It is hard to calculate the exact length of the delay faced by each country because they are subject to so many moving parts. We explain the delays in more detail in our analyses of the visa bulletins.

Citizens of China are subject to extremely long, multi-year delays. For Vietnam the delay is shorter but still an inconvenience. And for India there is currently no delay, but there were delays as recently as this summer. Taiwan and South Korea have never faced delays, but they are heading in that direction.

Some people opt to wait out the delays in their home country, but others are keen to get to the United States sooner. That is where the E-2 visa comes in.

The E-2 Visa has no waiting list and processing times are very fast

The EB-5 country-quota depends upon a person’s country of birth rather than their current citizenship. For example, the client approved for E-2 today was born in mainland China but is currently an Australian citizen. That means that for EB-5 purposes our client is subject to the China quota – which has a long waiting list – rather than the Australian quota which has never come anywhere close to its annual cap.

Yet that Australian citizenship has come in handy when it comes to the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Because, although there are no caps or quotas for E-2, eligibility for this visa is determined by your country of citizenship.

China does not hold and E-2 Treaty Country with the United States, so its citizens are ineligible. Australia, on the other hand, has a well-established treaty that makes its citizens eligible for the E-2 visa.

Essentially, you must be a citizen of an E-2 Treaty country in order to qualify for an E-2 visa. This means the country in which you hold citizenship must hold a relevant Treaty with the United States. Click here to find out if your country is on the list.

Becoming eligible for the E-2 Visa

If your country is not on the list then you can become eligible through a two-step process. First you need to obtain citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country, then you can apply for the E-2.

It sounds complicated, but in reality it is relatively simply. We have done this for a number of clients in the past. The whole process can take as little as nine months if everything runs smoothly.

Grenada and Turkey offer fast and cost-effective routes to citizenship that can provide a springboard to the E-2 Visa. Learn more about Grenada’s citizenship program here. Learn more about Turkey here.

Benefits of the E-2 Visa

So why have people bothered going to so much trouble? Well for one thing, Turkey and Grenada offer multiple benefits in their own right. But also because people get excited by the E-2 visa, which allows them to move to the United States for the purposes of owning and operating a business.

  • Investment requirements are relatively modest (no hard-and-fast rule, but usually starting from around $100,000).
  • You can start your own business or purchase a franchise
  • You can bring your spouse and children with you
  • Spouses can apply to work outside the business
  • You have freedom to travel to and from United States
  • There is no longer a requirement for a physical office space
  • The visa is renewable indefinitely – if the underlying business remains

E2 to EB-5

Unlike the EB-5 visa, the E-2 visa does not offer permanent residency. So if you close the underlying business, you would be required to leave the United States or find an alternative.

The E-2 Business Could Qualify for EB-5 if it Meets the Requirements

That is where the EB-5 comes in. There are two options for transitioning to EB-5 from E-2. Firstly, if your E-2 business has grown large enough, it may qualify as an EB-5 investment in its own right. The invested capital would need to be more than $900,000 if your business is situated in a targeted employment area ($1.8 million outside of these areas). It would also need to be able to sustain ten full-time employees.

Alternatively, you can invest in the EB-5 Regional Center program separately to your E-2 business. This removes the challenge of ensuring your business is consistently compliant with the EB-5 rules. While the Regional Center works to ensure compliance, you and your attorney should still be conducting due diligence on the Regional Center’s investment project to identify any risks to your Green Card and investment.

Case study

Our client established a New York-based company that sells well-designed, high quality, comfortable women’s clothing. It sells products online but the items will also be available in luxury department stores.  

Customers are able to order items directly from the Company’s website, Instagram, or mobile application. The Company uses engaging social media content, with a focus on building a brand through storytelling and it employs technology to create an immersive experience for clients through application of augmented reality (AR).

Our client was born in China but is currently an Australian citizen. She already has an approved EB-5 application (Form I-526), but faced a long wait for an EB-5 visa with all other Chinese-born applicants.

Chinese citizens are not eligible for the E-2 visa, but by holding Australian citizenship, she was eligible. This means the client was able to apply for an E-2 visa to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams in the United States.

Nevertheless, most of her funds came from China, which meant there were restrictions on the transfer of funds that required careful planning. Additionally, the closure of the US consulates in Melbourne delayed the interview and slowed the whole process by several months.

We wish her the best of luck in America.

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.