The US EB-5 Visa Program allows immigrant investors and their spouses & children under 21 to apply for a US Green Card (permanent residence) if they meet the following criteria:
The investor makes the required minimum investment in a US commercial enterprise/business.
The investor plans on creating or preserving 10 full time, permanent jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The required minimum investment amount for an EB 5 visa was significantly increased in November 2019, which has made this visa inaccessible for many foreign investors seeking residency in the US. There are now two levels of investment:
The standard minimum investment is $1.8 Million USD in a qualified US enterprise/business.
Investors may make a minimum investment of $900,000 USD if the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).TEAs are regions of the United States that have been identified as rural or with high unemployment.
The significant cost of the EB-5 visa, coupled with long waiting periods that can span a decade or longer, make this visa program a less affordable option for foreign investors who are seeking a way to reside and operate a business in the US.
The US E2 Visa is a much more affordable option for foreign nationals seeking the opportunity to live and work in the US. Investors and their immediate family can gain access to top US schools and obtain the right to work anywhere in the U.S.
The steps to obtain an EB 5 Visa can be challenging. Foreign investors must meet strict criteria:
The EB-5 visa poses significantly higher costs and requirements compared to other US visas, such as the US E2 treaty visa in Grenada. The E2 visa can be obtained for under $300,000 USD, and allows foreign nationals and their spouses & unmarried children under 21 to work and live in the US, as well as gain access to free or low cost education in leading US schools.
There are two routes a foreign national can take to obtain an EB 5 visa. The first is to make a large investment of $1.8 million USD in a qualified US enterprise/business, or foreign investors may make a minimum investment of $900,000 USD in a designated rural or high unemployment area of the US.
Upon receiving EB5 status the investor is immediately liable to USA global taxation, whereas E-2 investors enjoy the benefit of only paying the taxes for income generated in the US during their residency period of 122 days or less per year. Foreign investors who are concerned about taxes should understand that EB5 status can be very costly for citizens of countries with global taxation regimes.
In addition to the high cost of the EB 5 investment, there are also significant waiting periods that can exceed a decade or longer, depending on the investor’s country of origin.
The impact of the coronavirus has extended the processing time for EB5 visas. As of July 2020, the US Citizenship an Immigration Service estimates that it will take up to 74.5 months (over 6 years) to process EB-5 paperwork.
Once the processing period is over, investors may face additional waiting periods based on their country of origin. For example, Mainland China nationals face a waiting period of 15 years or more. The average waiting period ranges from 5 to 10 years for investors from other countries.
Long waiting periods and a high investment threshold can make the EB-5 difficult to obtain for many foreign investors. The US offers more expedient routes for foreign investors and their families seeking to live, work and go to school in the U.S.
A US E2 visa through the Grenada Citizenship by Investment program is an ideal option for investors seeking fast processing times (typically 2 months or less).
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