The E-2 investor visa is the easiest route to open a business in the United States with a minimal investment. It is a non-immigrant investor visa with the fastest processing times. This visa is considered one of the best alternatives to EB-5 which has two or three years of waiting times. The backlog for China is far worse.
The E-2 visa is ONLY available to certain nationalities around the world.
The following countries do not have E-2 treaty with United States, as a result nationals of these countries do not have an opportunity to apply directly to E-1/E-2 investor visas. The only possibility is through acquiring citizenship in another country by making an investment.
- South Africa
This is where citizenship by investment (CBI) schemes come into play, to help nationals of these countries become a citizen by investment and and then qualify for E-2 visa in a matter of few months. These country nationals can benefit from citizenship by investment schemes to secure a backdoor entry into United States legally.
Once you become a CBI citizen (a national of second country), you can file for E-2 visa at any US consulate, where you are resident or citizen of. E-2 visas are issued for maximum of 2 years with extensions.
E-2 visas are cheaper alternative to EB-5 in terms of processing speed and cheaper investment. Certain countries such as China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Russia do not have E-2 treaty direct with US, so citizens from these countries can take advantage of CBI schemes as backdoor entry to US. Remember E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas and even family members can apply. Here are some of the important difference between E-2 and EB-5 visas.
|Visa Category||Non-immmigrant||Immigrant Visa|
|Min. Investment||$100,000 – $200,000||$800,000 to $1.8 million|
|Visa validity||2-5 years||Temporary Green card (2 years)|
|Job creation||5 jobs||10 jobs|
|Waiting time||3 weeks||2-15 years|
|Residence conditions||None||Must move and live in US.
Not absent for 6 months per year
|Quota||none||10,000 annual limit|
|Work permit||Spouse only||Spouse and children < 21|
|Application paperwork||Easy||Complicated / Strict rules|
|Who can apply?||E-2 treaty countries||No restrictions|
|Taxes on Worldwide income*||May be||Yes|
|Visa fee||$205||$3,675 (I-526 petition)|
|Legal costs||$10,000 to $20,000||$50,000 to $100,000|
*Please seek professional tax advice before your immigrate to US.
Here are the full list of countries that have no E-2 treaty signed with United States.
|Antigua & Barbuda||Guyana||Nepal|
|Barbados||Hong Kong SAR||Niger|
|Bhutan||Indonesia||Papua New Guinea|
|Burkina Faso||Kazakhstan||Russian Federation|
|Cambodia||Kiribati||St Kitts & Nevis|
|Cape Verde||North Korea*||Saint Lucia|
|Central African Rep||Kuwait||Saint Vincent & the Grenadines|
|Comoros||Lesotho||Sao Tome & Principe|
|Dominican Republic||Maldives||South Africa|
|El Salvador||Mali||South Sudan|
|Equatorial Guinea||Macau SAR||Sudan|
|Gambia||Micronesia||Timor-Leste (East Timor)|
* Cannot apply due to Trump travel ban on non immigrant visas
CBI and E-2 countries
There are only countries, that has both a citizenship by investment scheme and E-2 treaty with the United States. Of all these Grenada is the cheapest.
- Grenada – $150,000
- Turkey – $500,000
- Egypt – $250,000
- North Macedonia – $200,000
- Jordan – $1 million
New Rule Change
As of Dec. 23, 2022, Section 101 (a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was amended to define the eligibility criteria for E visas. This rule change will affect all non-resident nationals of above countries who have remotely applied for citizenship by investment.
- USCIS may require additional documentation to show that the applicant has been domiciled in the treaty country indicated in the application for a continuous period of at least 3 years at any point before applying for E-1 or E-2 classification. This also applies to spouse and children of any such alien if accompanying
- E-1 and E-2 visas may not be denied to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident.
How much it costs?
If you want a Citizenship by investment (CBI) passport, plus E-2 visa to United States, in general you should be able to invest atleast US$ 200,000 in the package. Families can be included. The cheapest path we recommend is through Grenada.
Grenada – $150,000 (passport donation)
E-2 Visa – $50,000 (investment)
Expect additional costs such as US lawyer fee and other small expenses. For Grenada, you have to pay additional agent fee, due diligence etc. Please use our CBI calculator
You should also allow plenty of time, we recommend atleast 6 months for both CBI and E-2 visa package. The appointment waiting time for E visas at US embassy can take also 5-6 months, depending on where you apply.
There is an E-2 application fee $205. E-2 visas are issued for 2 years and extensions possible.
How to apply?
In general applicant should be prepared to invest at least $100,000 in the enterprise creating jobs, to have a good E2 visa case. The more the investment for example $250,000, the better the chances of E-2 approval.
It makes everything easier if you hire a US lawyer who specializes in Grenada and Citizenship by Investment.
- Become a Citizen in any of the above 4 countries
- Hire a US lawyer for E-2 paperwork (we can help)
- Apply for E-2 visa at US embassy in your country (eg. China, India). You can also apply for E-2 visa at US embassy in Turkey, Barbados (for Grenada, Moldova but you have to be a permanent resident legally living in these countries.
E-2 Visa Conditions
You also need to know some conditions with E-2 visa
- The investor, either a person, partnership or corporate entity, must have the citizenship of a treaty country.
- If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.
- The investment must be substantial (atleast $100,000 or more), with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
- It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
- You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
- You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
Remember! The US taxes its residents and citizen based on worldwide income. Most E-2 like EB-5 visa holders pay business tax of 35% plus their State, which can be 10%. They also pay capital gains tax to the America on their worldwide income of about 23.5%.
Careful tax planning is required before the E-2 visa applicant moves to the United States.
Please contact us for more information.