Why You Should Consider An E-2 Visa Rather Than An EB-5 Green Card

In this article I propose to provide a visual summary of the difference between the E-2 work visa and the EB5 green card to explain why the E-2 visa may be a better choice for you as an investor immigrant. (For those unfamiliar with these immigration options, see my previous article here and requirements here  for the E-2 visa. See my previous article here and the requirements here for the EB-5 program.)


E-2 work visa Advantages EB-5 green card Disadvantages
1. Quick processing times – a  few months 1. Slow processing time – two years or as many as seven or eight for backlog applicants eg. Chinese.
2. Investment – perhaps $200,000 U.S. or even less, depending on business involved. 2. Investment – $500,000 U.S. for regional center projects, $ 1 million for direct investment option.
3. Control of Funds in investor’s business – less stringent  “due diligence” required. 3. No control of funds invested in third-party project if regional center – heavy “due diligence” required, risk of loss required.
4. Travel flexibility – less concern about maintaining domicile and physical presence. 4. Need to maintain “domicile” and rigid enforcement of residence rules
5. Immediate permission to work in the USA, spouse can work anywhere, children can go to school and college at internal resident tuition rates. 5. Waiting abroad for approval from Immigration – two plus years and as much as seven or eight if in the backlog.
6. Low legal Cost – Roughly $10,000 – $20,000 U.S. 6. High cost approximately – $50,000 – $ 70,000 or more in fees
7. Possible tax advantages – as an nonimmigrant resident if principal resident stays in USA not more than 122 days per year no tax on worldwide income (seek advice). 7. Possible clouded judgment of promoters and advisors due to considerable financial rewards for finding EB-5 investors. Taxation on worldwide income of investor.
8. Less paperwork- more flexible treatment of investor on compliance with rules 8. More paperwork – severe enforcement of rules


E-2 Disadvantages



EB-5 Advantages

1. Must work – passive investment not enough. Therefore must speak at least some English. 1. Permanent resident status
2. The immigrant investor’s U.S. presence is tied to the business success – must work. 2. No work requirement
3. Must renew the visa every 5 years or so. 3. Renewal of permanent residence cards every ten years.
4. No clear route to green card/ U.S. citizenship 4. Long term certainty. Path to citizenship.


What if you are a citizen of a country that does not have an investment treaty with the United States to make you eligible to apply for a E-2 work visa? What if you live in countries like China, Nigeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, UAE, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan? What can you do? You can consider applying for Citizenship by Investment in Grenada, a country in the Caribbean that could help you because it has an investment treaty with the U.S. You could qualify for an E-2 visa indirectly through that country.


Visual summary of benefit of Grenada Citizenship by Investment Option for Investors from non-treaty countries:

Let’s consider China as a typical example.

Fact one:

Chinese citizen -> Three years + more wait, for EB-5 -> USA permanent residence.

Fact two:

Chinese citizen -> EB-5 Status = Tax on worldwide income

Fact three:

Chinese citizen -> CANNOT get an E-2 visa -> USA (No treaty).


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