Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program Offers Route to US E2 Visa
Citizenship applications for the Caribbean island of Grenada have boomed in the last three years. Reports have emerged that Grenada’s citizenship by investment program, introduced in 2014, is being used to fast-track US E2 visa applications.
Grenada is the only Caribbean country with a fast-track citizenship programme, which signed a Commerce and Navigation Treaty with the USA. As a result, Grenada’s citizens are eligible for the US E2 non-immigrant visa. This means Grenadians can secure US citizenship with a substantial investment in a US-based business and employing a minimum of five staff.
The rise in Grenadian citizenship applications is partly attributed to the ever-increasing backlog of immigration applications in the US. Citizens of China, El Salvador, Guatemala and India in particular are facing severe delays, with some facing a 10-year wait.
As a result, wealthy foreign investors are applying for citizenship in Grenada and then filing an application for an E2 visa for the US. If done correctly, investors can not only obtain an E2 visa, they could avoid having to pay taxes on worldwide income, a stipulation for all US citizens working outside the country.
Requirements for citizenship in Grenada
According to a report published by Forbes, a minimum investment of $200,000 (US) will secure Grenadian citizenship within 12 weeks. Once citizenship is obtained an investor, along with his or her family, can submit an application for an E2 visa in the US. The Forbes report claims that an investor’s entire family could be in the US within 8 weeks.
Overall, obtaining Grenadian citizenship and then applying for a US E2 visa could take less than six months. Once in the US, an investor can acquire an Employment Authorization Document for a spouse, enabling them to work anywhere in the country.
Investors can also send their children to US schools, qualifying for in-state tuition rates and they can travel back and forth freely to their country of origin to take care of business operations back home.
Aside from meeting the requirements for citizenship in Grenada, applying for a US E2 visa would involve incorporating a US company, establishing an office with a legitimate phone number and possibly a website. An investor would need to register with the Inland Revenue Service (IRS), open a bank account and deposit a sizeable sum of money.
Additionally, a viable business plan will be required to establish a company in the US, potentially via a franchise purchase. Meanwhile, any investor would need to speak a basic level of English and have managerial or executive experience, or at the very least, have an idea of how to run their business.
Backlogs and visa attacks
With the possibility of having to wait 10 years and with President Trump ‘attacking’ the H1B and L1 visas, those who can afford to are opting for citizenship in Grenada followed by an application for an E2 visa. So far, the E2 Treaty Investor visa has not made it on to Trump’s radar.