EB-5 Investor Visa Reauthorization in June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Behring Regional Center


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

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 immigration 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.


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


EB-5 Source of Funds for Italians Webinar

EB-5 Source of Funds for Italians. Webinar.

Join Mark I. Davies, our chairman, and Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration analyst in our Italy Practice for a webinar with EB5AN today at 2pm EST / 8pm Italy. Click the link below to register & the same link to view a recording after the event.

Source of Funds for EB-5

In order to ensure the integrity of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, applicants must be able to document where the funds used to pay for their Green Cards come from. An applicant must demonstrate that they are the owner of the funds being invested and that they came by these funds through legal means.

Since the total investment requirement for EB-5 is a minimum of $900,000, many of our clients need to pull together funds from multiple different sources. This can include wages, the sale of property, capital gains on investments, gifts from friends and family, as well as loans.

In reality this can be quite complicated, and your EB-5 immigration attorney will play a vital role in helping you to make strategic decisions about which funds to use for your EB-5 investment.

For example, you will need to prove that all taxes have been paid on the sources of income and that there is appropriate collateral against any loans.

Crucially, it is important that the relevant documents are translated into English. Therefore, it is very helpful to work with law firms with in-house Italian language capabilities. Matteo Tisato, our Senior Immigration Analyst, works with our Italian clients in this respect.

Davies & Associates Source of Funds team across the United States is highly experienced. They have dealt with hundreds of cases and have a 100% success rate in this aspect of the application.

What is EB-5?

The EB-5 visa grants a person US permanent residency (Green Card) in exchange for a minimum $900,000 investment. A single application and investment can include the primary applicant, their spouse, and any children under the age of 21.

In addition to documenting the Source of Funds, the other key requirements of EB5 are are

  • invest in a New Commercial Enterprise
  • create at least ten jobs
  • invest at least $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area or $1.8 million outside of these areas.

To help ensure compliance with the rules and to minimize risks to the Green Card, the vast majority of EB-5 investors elect to work with a Regional Center, but it is possible to make and manage the investment yourself in so-called “Direct EB-5”.

Webinar

On today’s webinar, Mark and Matteo will be joined by Sam Silverman and Michael Schoenfeld, cofounders and managing partners of EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN). a leading EB-5 consultancy and Regional Center network.

Our appearance alongside EB5AN is in no way an endorsement of their work or projects. As a law firm we offer our clients impartial due diligence on their chosen Regional Center projects. Our attorneys assist clients with identifying the risks to both their Green Card and the return of their capital – whichever Regional Centers they shortlist.

The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, February 18, 2021 and will share valuable information on the challenges EB-5 investors face with respect to of source-of-funds documentation. The webinar will break down this complicated issue for an Italian audience, with Matteo from our Italy team on hand to provide translation into Italian where necessary.

The EB-5 program faces reauthorization at the end of June 2021. The likelihood is that the program will continue, given the large number of jobs it creates and the billions of dollars in investment it brings to the United States. Yet, nothing can be taken for granted. Anyone considering the program should consider acting before the end of June. Given the time it takes to document Source of Funds to prepare an application, the time to start is now.

Please click here to register for the webinar, or to view a recording of the webinar.


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.


Vương quốc Anh và Việt Nam ký biên bản kết thúc phiên đàm phán Hiệp định Thương mại Tự do: Khám phá các lựa chọn nhập cư vào Vương quốc Anh

Chiều ngày 11/12, lễ ký kết Biên bản Kết thúc đàm phán Hiệp định Thương mại Tự do (FTA) Việt Nam-Vương quốc Anh (UKVFTA) chính thức diễn ra tại Hà Nội.

By Simon Ngyuen

Theo số liệu của Tổng cục Hải quan, năm 2019, tổng kim ngạch xuất nhập khẩu hai nước đạt 6,6 tỷ USD, trong đó xuất khẩu đạt 5,8 tỷ USD và nhập khẩu đạt 857 triệu USD. Tuy nhiên, khi Anh rời EU, các ưu đãi mang lại từ Hiệp định thương mại tự do Việt Nam-EU (EVFTA) sẽ không được áp dụng tại thị trường Anh. Bởi vậy, việc ký kết một FTA song phương sẽ tạo điều kiện cho hoạt động cải cách, mở cửa thị trường, thuận lợi hóa thương mại ở hai quốc gia trên cơ sở kế thừa các kết quả đàm phán tương đối tích cực ở EVFTA, tránh gián đoạn các hoạt động thương mại do hệ quả mang lại của Brexit.Sau 6 phiên làm việc chính thức và nhiều phiên làm việc kỹ thuật, 2 bên đã chính thức đi đến ký kết biên bản kết thúc đàm phán Hiệp định thương mại tư do Việt Nam-Vương quốc Anh.Bộ trưởng Bộ Công Thương Trần Tuấn Anh khẳng định, đây là bước quan trọng để 2 nước sớm đi đến ký kết chính thức Hiệp định này trong thời gian tới.Hiệp định song phương UKVFTA giữ nguyên các lợi ích trong quan hệ thương mại hiện tại giữa Vương quốc Anh và Việt Nam thông qua Hiệp định Thương mại EVFTA, đồng thời có những điều chỉnh để phù hợp với cả 2 bên. Hiệp định UKVFTA được kỳ vọng sẽ tiếp nối động lực thúc đẩy quan hệ thương mại, đầu tư của hai bên trong những năm tới.Những cơ hội và lợi ích lớn nhất tạo ra từ Hiệp định UKVFTA là thúc đẩy xuất khẩu các mặt hàng chủ lực của Việt Nam. Các ngành hàng xuất khẩu được hưởng lợi là thủy hải sản, gạo, dệt may, gỗ, rau quả, da giày… Theo đó 99% thuế xuất nhập khẩu giữa 2 nước sẽ được xóa bỏ sau khi kết thúc lộ trình cắt giảm thuế quan.Theo Bộ trưởng Thương mại quốc tế Anh Liz Truss, Vương quốc Anh và Việt Nam có chung cam kết chiến lược đối với thương mại toàn cầu và tự do hóa giao dịch vốn và đầu tư. Thỏa thiện UKFTA là một bước tiến quan trọng trong bối cảnh nước Anh sẽ chính thức xin gia nhập Hiệp định Đối tác Toàn diện và Tiến bộ xuyên Thái Bình Dương (CPTPP) vào đầu năm 2021.


Điều này cũng mở ra cơ hội cho nhiều doanh nghiệp Việt Nam muốn mở rộng thị thường và hoạt động kinh doanh tại Vương Quốc Anh thông qua các chương trình thị thực dành cho các doanh nhân, quản lý. Trong số đó, phải kể đến các lựa chọn đang là ưu tiên với quy trình giải quyết nhanh, chi phí thấp như:

1.    Sole-Representative Visa: Thị thực yêu cầu người nộp đơn thiết lập sự hiện diện thương mại đầu tiên của công ty tại Vương quốc Anh, bằng cách mở một chi nhánh hoặc công ty con đã đăng ký tại Vương quốc Anh

.2.    Start-up Visa: Một trong những loại thị thực được giới thiệu gần đây, thị thực này đã thay thế thị thực Doanh nhân (Entrepreneur) và tốt nghiệp (Graduated). Thị thực này rất phổ biến do người nộp đơn không yêu cầu bất kỳ khoản tiền nào trong giai đoạn nộp đơn. Thị thực này dành cho những cá nhân có đầu óc kinh doanh với mong muốn xây dựng một công ty theo ba tiêu chí chính là (i) ý tưởng kinh doanh sáng tạo, (ii) tính khả thi và (iii) có thể mở rộng

3.    Innovative Visa: Loại thị thực này nhằm vào những doanh nhân có kinh nghiệm hơn, những người đang muốn thành lập doanh nghiệp tại Vương quốc Anh với quỹ đầu tư tối thiểu 50.000 bảng Anh. Tương tự như thị thực khởi nghiệp, người nộp đơn phải được sự chứng thực từ cơ quan được chỉ định của Vương quốc Anh đối với ý tưởng kinh doanh.

Liên hệ ngay với Davies and Associates LLC để biết thêm thông tin chi tiết và chúng tôi có thể tư vấn lựa chọn phù hợp nhất cho dự định làm việc, sinh sống của bạn tại Vương quốc Anh.

Explore UK Immigration Options as Vietnam & UK sign Free Trade Agreement

On the afternoon of December 11, the signing ceremony of the Agreement on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Vietnam-UK (UKVFTA) officially took place in Hanoi.

According to the General Department of Customs, in 2019, the total import-export turnover of the two countries reached 6.6 billion USD, of which exports reached 5.8 billion USD and imports reached 857 million USD. However, when the UK leaves the EU, the incentives brought in from the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will not be applied in the UK market. Therefore, the signing of a bilateral FTA will facilitate the reform, opening of markets and trade facilitation in the two countries on the basis of inheriting relatively positive negotiation results in EVFTA. and avoid disruptions in commercial activities as a result of Brexit.

After 6 official working sessions and many technical sessions, the two sides officially came to sign the conclusion of the negotiations on the Vietnam-UK Free Trade Agreement.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh affirmed that this is an important step for the two countries to soon come to the official signing of this Agreement in the coming time.

Bilateral Agreement UKVFTA retains the interests in the current trade relationship between the UK and Vietnam through the EVFTA Trade Agreement, and at the same time makes adjustments to suit both sides. The UKVFTA Agreement is expected to continue the driving force of the two sides’ trade and investment relations in the coming years.

The greatest opportunities and benefits created from the UKVFTA Agreement are to promote the export of Vietnam’s key products. The export sectors to benefit are seafood, rice, textiles, wood, vegetables, leather and shoes … Accordingly, 99% of import and export taxes between the two countries will be eliminated after the tax cut is completed. concerned.

According to British International Trade Minister Liz Truss, the UK and Vietnam share a shared strategic commitment to global trade and liberalization of capital transactions and investment. The UKFTA agreement is an important step in the context that the UK will officially apply to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in early 2021.

This also opens up opportunities for many Vietnamese businesses to expand their markets and do business in the UK through visa programs for entrepreneurs and managers. Among them, there are options that are priority with a fast, low-cost process such as:

  1. Sole-Representative Visa: The visa requires the applicant to establish the company’s first commercial presence in the UK, by opening a branch or subsidiary registered in the UK.
  2. Start-up Visa: One of the recently introduced visas, this visa has replaced the Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur) and Graduated (Graduated) visa. This visa is very popular because the applicant is not asking for any money during the application stage. This visa is for business-minded individuals wishing to build a company under three main criteria: (i) innovative business idea, (ii) feasibility and (iii) open wide
  3. Innovative Visa: This visa is aimed at more experienced entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business in the UK with a minimum investment fund of £ 50,000. Similar to a start-up visa, an applicant must obtain endorsement from a designated UK agency regarding the business idea.


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.


Am I a Citizen of Country that Holds an E-2 Visa Treaty with the United States?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is one of the most sought-after US visa categories. Little wonder. The E-2 visa allows a person to own and operate a business in the largest economy in the world.

It can be renewed indefinitely provided the underlying business is in operation and still performing; Spouses can apply for work authorization outside the business; Dependent children can join you in America; You are not taxed in the same way as citizens and Green Card holders; You are free to travel to and from the United States; You can opt for an off-the-shelf franchise business or start your own.

Yet to qualify for this popular visa, you need to be a citizen of a country that holds a relevant treaty with the United States. Check out the list below to see if you are eligible.

List of E-2 Treaty Countries

Note: If your country is not on the list, Read on! We can still help.

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Grenada
  • Honduras
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liberia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Republic of Congo
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Senegal
  • Singapore Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

If your country is on the list then you can go directly to an E-2 Visa. If it is not on the list (and more than half the world’s population are citizens of countries that are not on the list), then you need to become a citizen of a country that is on the list first.

You see, unlike the EB-5 investor visa program, E-2 is determined by your country of citizenship. (While citizens of all counties are eligible for the EB-5 visa, each country is subject to an annual quota. Which EB-5 country quota you are subjected to is dependent on your country of birth rather than country of current citizenship.)

But with E-2 visa, obtaining dual citizenship or a new citizenship will make a difference to your eligibility.

So you need to become a citizen of one of the countries on the above list.

While several of these countries offer a pathway to citizenship, the timing and cost can be prohibitive. For example, you can invest your way to UK residency for £2 million. This sets you on a path to possible citizenship, that takes six years. You can reduce this time if you invest more. But even with a £10 million investment, it will still take 3 years to be eligible for citizenship.

That is quite the wait for the E-2 visa. Besides, if you ultimately looking to move to the United States and have such sums of money to invest, you might want to consider the EB-5 investor visa instead. Under this program, a family can all receive Green Cards in exchange for a $900,000 investment.

Yet there are two countries on the list that offer fast and cost-effective routes to citizenship: Turkey and Grenada. We have helped clients obtain E-2 visas via both countries. It takes a matter of months to complete the entire process.

Grenada offers citizenship in exchange for a real estate investment from $220,000 or a donation to the government of $150,000 (more depending on how many family members you are bringing). It takes less than three months to obtain the passport, you don’t need to visit during this process, and Grenada allows dual citizenship so you do not need to give up your existing citizenship (unless this is required by the other country).

Turkey offers citizenship in exchange for a $250,000 investment in Real Estate or a $500,000 in bank deposits held with a Turkish bank. The process takes only slightly longer and citizenship can be obtained in just a few months.

Both countries offer many benefits aside from the E-2 visa. Both are dynamic economies with considerable investment opportunities. Some of our clients prefer Turkey because it is an international transit hub often en route between their home country and the United States. Others prefer Grenada for its proximity to their new home in the United States.

A third option is Montenegro. It is newer and a bit more expensive that the other programs. It requires a minimum €250,000 investment in Real Estate as well as a €100,000 donation. Montenegro shares a border with the European Union and it is a candidate for membership.

Our attorneys can talk you through the whole process. Our clients who have pursued this route have found it surprisingly simply. To discuss your circumstances with our team, please contact us to arrange a free consultation.

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


EB5 Visa: Cost of Form I-526 Increasing by 9% from October

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the outcome of its biennial fee review earlier this month. Form I-526 – Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor – will be subject to a price increase. The form, which is the first step of the EB-5 application process, will increase to $4,010 from October. This represents a 9% increase on the current price of $3675.

An increase in the minimum investment amount last November is the principle reason for the large increase. At that time, the minimum investment requirement almost doubled from $500,000 to $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and from $1 million to $1.8 million outside of a TEA.

USCIS argues that the increased investment amount means that the Source of Funds work – critical to an I-526 adjudication – has become more complicated, resulting in additional work for the agency. Complicated source of funds often need to go through a managerial review, adding extra cost.

While the price increase is partly to reflect the increased workload for USCIS case officers, there is another reason behind this. The review states that USCIS significantly “overestimated” demand for EB-5, which will lead to a budget shortfall. USCIS is almost entirely fee funded, which makes this especially problematic.

The reason for the overestimation is that demand was calculated before the minimum investment amount increased last November. That increase has dampened demand and the cost of the I-526 has been increased to mitigate that.

The I-829 Form – the Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency Status – has registered a more modest 4% price increase. This form comes later in the EB-5 process when an investor is eligible to remove the conditions on their Green Card. The new price of an I-829 is $3,900.

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.


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

By Sukanya Raman, Associate, D&A Mumbai Office

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

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

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

Treaty Agreement

Nationality of E visa qualifying country

50% ownership and/or control & possession

Trade is predominantly between the United States and the treaty country

Enterprise must be real and operating a commercial enterprise

Substantial capital investment

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

Physical office space (no longer mandatory)

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

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

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

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

sraman@usimmigrationadvisor.com

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


The Italian Dream is now Half Price

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mtisato@usimmigrationadvisor.com

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