The US government runs two important immigration programs for foreign investors. We tell clients to first properly understand the important difference between E-5 and E-2 visas before applying for immigration to United States. Each program has distinct advantages and requires careful planning.

The key difference lies in only specific country nationals can apply for E-2 visa while Eb-5 program is open to all country nationals.

Here are some of the important differences between E-2 and EB-5 visas.

Visa TypeInvestor visaGolden Visa
Visa CategoryNon-immmigrantImmigrant Visa
Min. Investment$100,000 – $200,000$900,000 to $1.8 million
Visa validity2-5 yearsTemporary Green card (2 years)
Green cardNoYes
Job creation5 jobs10 jobs
Waiting time3 weeks2-15 years
Residence conditionsNoneMust move and live in US.
Not absent for 6 months per year
Quotanone10,000 annual limit
WorkingFull timeDirector
Work permitSpouse onlySpouse and children < 21
Application paperworkEasyComplicated / Strict rules
Who can apply?E-2 treaty countriesNo restrictions
Taxes on Worldwide income*May beYes
Visa fee$205$3,675 (I-526 petition)
Total Legal costs$10,000 to $20,000$50,000 to $100,000

*Please seek professional tax advise before your immigrate to US.


The EB-5 program was launched by Congress in 1990’s and also later introduced Regional center program with limited quotas. EB-5 is the golden visa visa program has the fastest route to green card and later citizenship after 5 years. The scheme requires $900,000  to be invested in a commercial enterprise and creating 10 jobs.

EB-5 is only suitable for HNW clients.

E-2 Visas

E-2 visas have number of benefits compared to EB-5, importantly it is cheaper and faster.

Access to E-2 investor visa is a very important benefit that comes from Citizenship by investment (CBI) schemes.

Only nationals from E-2 treaty countries can apply for E-2 non-immigrant visas. China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Russia do not have E-2 treaty direct with US, so citizens from these countries can take advantage of CBI (Citizenship By Investment) schemes as backdoor entry to US

E-2 visas are investor visas, a cheaper alternative to EB-5 in terms of processing speed and investment. Remember E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas and even family members can apply. This visa issued for 2 years with extensions possible.

The use of Citizenship by Investment to secure a  E-2 visa has become greatly popular recently among chinese clients.

There are only 7 countries that offer citizenship by investment and also have E-2 treaty investor signed with United States.  All other Citizenship by investment programs (CIP) do not offer this benefit

  • Montenegro
  • Turkey
  • Bulgaria
  • Grenada
  • Moldova
  • Egypt
  • Jordan

Full list of countries that have no E-2 treaty signed with United States is available here
Full list of countries have E-2 treaty with United States is available here