What’s the difference between the EB-5 and the E-2 Visas?
Question: I have some money to invest in a new business to come to the United States, but I don’t know which visa to use. I have heard there is the EB-5 and the E-2. Can you let me know what is the difference and which one I should use?
Answer: First of all, you have to understand that the EB-5 is for the Green Card. This means that if the EB-5 is approved, you will obtain lawful permanent residency.
Question: What about my family for the EB-5?
Answer: There can be derivative visas for your spouse and your unmarried children under 21 years old. Therefore, all of them can obtain the Green Card because of your application.
Question: What about the E-2. Is this for the Green Card also?
Answer: No. The E-2 is basically a work-permit. It is a very nice work-permit for the entrepreneur, but nevertheless, it is a work permit. It will expire about once every 2 years. You will have to renew it. However, there is no limitation on the amount of times that you need to renew your E-2. In fact, you can come for the rest of your life on the E-2 and renew it time after time.
Question: What about the derivatives for the E-2?
Answer: Unlike the EB-5 which will result in residency if approved, the E-2 can result in derivative status for the spouse and unmarried children of the primary applicant. The derivative benefits are different. For example, the spouse can also come on E-2 and get a work permit to work anywhere without restriction. The children who are unmarried and under 21 can go to school without any problems and without the need for an I-20 or change of status up until they are 18 years old. However, after the children reach 21 years old, they will no longer qualify for E-2 derivative status.
Question: How about the investment? Is that the same for the E-2 and EB-5?
Answer: No. This is one of the biggest differences. In fact, many people will not have the money to qualify for the for the EB-5, but can qualify for the E-2. For the EB-5, you will need $1,000,000 investment. If you invest in a regional center, you will need only $500,000U.S. However, this is still an amount which is clearly a great deal of money.
With the E-2, there is no exact amount. However, you can get an E-2 with an average of around $50,000 to $100,000U.S. investment. Obviously, this amount is much less than required for the EB-5 and opens up many more possibilities.
Question: Can anybody apply for the EB-5?
Answer: The answer is yes. However, this assumes they have the requisite investment and that they are not inadmissible on any other grounds.
Question: Can anybody apply for the E-2?
Answer: No. You must be a citizen of the Treaty Country with the United States. There are many countries that have treaties with the United States. However, many do not. If you come from a country that does not have a treaty with the United States, then the EB-5 is your option for investment.
Either way, you should make certain what are your investment opportunities and what you might qualify for under U.S. Immigration Law.