Investor E-2 Visa

Do you have European or Japanese citizenship? Do you have $75,000? You may be able to qualify for an E-2 visa.

The E-2 visa is a popular investor visa that permits a foreigner to buy or

create or invest in business in the United States, and to thereafter reside in the

United States and work in the business in legal status.  The E-2 Visa does

not lead to a green card, but it permits the holder to renew the visa

indefinitely, if the enterprise continues to be profitable.

The E-2 visa has an important advantage when compared to the better known

investor visa, the EB-5.  The EB-5 requires an investment of $1,000,000 , or

$500,000 in a less economically developed area.  This is too large of an

investment for the majority of potential investors.  It is possible to

obtain an E-2 visa, however, with a much smaller investment, one can qualify

for an E-2 visa with an investment of around $75,000, or even less, depending on you particular circumstances and the type of business that you are looking to start or purchase.

Unfortunately, only citizens of countries with a  treaty of commerce and

navigation with the United States are eligible for this visa.  You can find

the list of countries here:

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/treaty.html.  Brazil is not

on the list, but many Brazilians still are able to come to the United States

with E-2 visas.  The key is double nationality.

Brazil, like the United States, is a country comprised mostly of

immigrations and the descendants of immigrations.  Many Brazilians have

double citizenship that can be used to qualify for an E-2 visa.   People

with citizenship of almost any of the countries of Western Europe can qualify

for an E-2 visa, including but not limited to people with  German, Italian,

French, Spanish or Dutch citizenship.  The E-2 eligible countries are not

only found in Europe. Japanese citizens, for example, can also qualify for

E-2 visas.  This applies even if the holder of the citizenship has never

been to the E-2 eligible country, or even speaks the language.  It is only

necessary to legally hold the passport.

If you do not have the citizenship required for the visa, but you are the

descendant of someone who came from or had citizenship from a country that

is eligible for E-2 visas, you may be able to obtain citizenship from that

country.  If you had parents or grandparents from an E-2 eligible country,

it may be wise to consult with an immigration  attorney from the country of

origin of your parents or grandparents because some countries give the

children or grandchildren of their citizens the right to obtain citizenship,

even if the parent or grandparent is deceased.

For those who do not have citizenship of an E-2 treaty country and cannot readily obtain it though their parents or grandparents, there is also the option to acquire citizenship in a third country through investment, and to subsequently use the third country citizenship to qualify for an E-2 visa.  The process of obtaining citizenship through investment in this fashion has sometimes been colloquially referred to as “buying citizenship.”

Grenada, for example, is a country whose citizens are eligible for E-2 visas and which itself allows citizenship through investment.  In exchange for an investment of approximately $250,000 (there are variances for family size, type of investment and related fees), an individual can obtain Grenadan citizenship through investment.  Using his or her newly acquired Grenadan citizenship, an individual may at that point apply for an E-2 visa.

Information regarding citizenship through investment in Grenada can be found here: http://www.cbi.gov.gd/

As should now be clear, the process of obtaining an E-2 visa can be complicated and there may be one or multiple viable routes to doing so.

Though it is one of the most popular visas, the E-2 visa is by no means the only business visa.  If you have between $500,000 to $1,000,000 to invest, the EB-5 may be the better option.  If you already have a business in another country which does not have the necessary treaty to allow for E-2 visas, the L1A be an option.

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