What Are Investment Visas? Answering Your Questions

By January 9, 2019Immigration Law Blog
what are investment visas?

What are investment visas? There are a number of different types of visas if you are a foreign national seeking to live and work in the United States and the investment visa is just one option, but do you know everything you need to about this visa option?

What Are Investment Visas?

When you ask “what are investment visas?” you are almost always asking because you or a family member or friend is seeking entry to the United States on a visa that requires an investment that will benefit the U.S. economy. Of course, there are multiple visa options available when you are seeking to come into the country as a foreign national, but for many, investment visas are the most feasible option for obtaining residency.

What Are Investment Visas? The Different Types of Investment Visas

There are multiple options available when applying for an investment visa and the best way to determine which type of investment visa is right for you is to consult an immigration attorney. An attorney with experience in investment visas will listen to your specific circumstances and help you to determine which option is best for you and for your budget.

But, what are your choices?

  • EB-5 Regional Center Investment
  • EB-5 Direct Investment
  • E-2 Work Visa

EB-5 Regional Center Investment

The EB-5 regional center investment program is a program that requires a foreign national to make an investment of $500,000 U.S. in an EB-5 government-approved regional center for approximately five years. You can find a list of USCIS approved EB-5 government-approved regional centers listed on the USCIS website. As of Jan. 7, 2019, there are 887 approved regional centers and those centers are listed by state on the USCIS website and updated periodically. It’s important, however, to speak with the main point of contact at each regional center to determine whether the UCIS website listings are up to date.

When making an EB-5 Regional Center Investment, this investment must also provide work for 10 American workers for a span of 2 years. With this type of investment, your money is invested in someone else’s commercial venture which means that it is at risk so it may or may not be the right type of investment for you depending on your circumstances.

EB-5 Direct Investment

The EB-5 direct investment program requires an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in an area with high unemployment rates) into your own business in the U.S. This business must employ at least 10 Americans for a period of at least 2 years. This type of visa takes approximately 18 months to process, but it can be combined with the E-2 work visa. Many direct investments are made into restaurants (franchise and non-franchise), hotels, nursing homes, farms, and retail stores. When making this type of investment, your money is being invested directly into the new commercial enterprise and the timing of job creation is controlled by the investor based on the needs of the business. When making a direct investment into a new business, the investment made is not always made in the form of cash, it may also be made in the form of equipment needed by the business, property for the business, or supplies needed by the business. Keep in mind, though, that any investment made in the business must be traceable via official paperwork – for example, customs forms when equipment is brought into the country for the new business by the investor.

E-2 Work Visa

The E-2 work visa program is the fastest method of getting into the U.S. on an employment visa. This visa is only available if your native country has an investment treaty with the U.S. An E-2 work visa requires that you both own and work for the company in question. The amount that you must invest in this business depends on the industry and sector of the business you are forming in the United States. This investment ranges from approximately $75,000 to $200,000+. E-2 visas are given for as long as 5 years and they can be indefinitely renewed.

Currently the  U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries include:

Country Classification Effective Date
Albania E-2 January 4, 1998
Argentina E-1 October 20, 1994
Argentina E-2 October 20, 1994
Armenia E-2 March 29, 1996
Australia E-1 December 16, 1991
Australia E-2 December 27, 1991
Australia E-3 September 2, 2005
Austria E-1 May 27, 1931
Austria E-2 May 27, 1931
Azerbaijan E-2 August 2, 2001
Bahrain E-2 May 30, 2001
Bangladesh E-2 July 25, 1989
Belgium E-1 October 3, 1963
Belgium E-2 October 3, 1963
Bolivia E-1 November 09, 1862
Bolivia E-2 June 6, 2001
Bosnia and Herzegovina E-1 November 15, 1882
Bosnia and Herzegovina E-2 November 15, 1882
Brunei E-1 July 11, 1853
Bulgaria E-2 June 2, 1994
Cameroon E-2 April 6, 1989
Canada E-1 January 1, 1993
Canada E-2 January 1, 1993
Chile E-1 January 1, 2004
Chile E-2 January 1, 2004
China (Taiwan) E-1 November 30, 1948
China (Taiwan) E-2 November 30, 1948
Colombia E-1 June 10, 1848
Colombia E-2 June 10, 1848
Congo (Brazzaville) E-2 August 13, 1994
Congo (Kinshasa) E-2 July 28, 1989
Costa Rica E-1 May 26, 1852
Costa Rica E-2 May 26, 1852
Croatia E-1 November 15, 1882
Croatia E-2 November 15, 1882
Czech Republic E-2 January 1, 1993
Denmark E-1 July 30, 1961
Denmark E-2 December 10, 2008
Ecuador E-2 May 11, 1997
Egypt E-2 June 27, 1992
Estonia E-1 May 22, 1926
Estonia E-2 February 16, 1997
Ethiopia E-1 October 8, 1953
Ethiopia E-2 October 8, 1953
Finland E-1 August 10, 1934
Finland E-2 December 1, 1992
France E-1 December 21, 1960
France E-2 December 21, 1960
Georgia E-2 August 17, 1997
Germany E-1 July 14, 1956
Germany E-2 July 14, 1956
Greece E-1 October 13, 1954
Grenada E-2 March 3, 1989
Honduras E-1 July 19, 1928
Honduras E-2 July 19, 1928
Iran E-1 June 16, 1957
Iran E-2 June 16, 1957
Ireland E-1 September 14, 1950
Ireland E-2 November 18, 1992
Israel E-1 April 3, 1954
Italy E-1 July 26, 1949
Italy E-2 July 26, 1949
Jamaica E-2 March 7, 1997
Japan E-1 October 30, 1953
Japan E-2 October 30, 1953
Jordan E-1 December 17, 2001
Jordan E-2 December 17, 2001
Kazakhstan E-2 January 12, 1994
Korea (South) E-1 November 7, 1957
Korea (South) E-2 November 7, 1957
Kosovo E-1 November 15, 1882
Kosovo E-2 November 15, 1882
Kyrgyzstan E-2 January 12, 1994
Latvia E-1 July 25, 1928
Latvia E-2 December 26, 1996
Liberia E-1 November 21, 1939
Liberia E-2 November 21, 1939
Lithuania E-2 November 22, 2001
Luxembourg E-1 March 28, 1963
Luxembourg E-2 March 28, 1963
Macedonia E-1 November 15, 1882
Macedonia E-2 November 15, 1882
Mexico E-1 January 1, 1994
Mexico E-2 January 1, 1994
Moldova E-2 November 25, 1994
Mongolia E-2 January 1, 1997
Montenegro E-1 November 15, 1882
Montenegro E-2 November 15, 1882
Morocco E-2 May 29, 1991
Netherlands E-1 December 5, 1957
Netherlands E-2 December 5, 1957
Norway E-1 January 18, 1928
Norway E-2 January 18, 1928
Oman E-1 June 11, 1960
Oman E-2 June 11, 1960
Pakistan E-1 February 12, 1961
Pakistan E-2 February 12, 1961
Panama E-2 May 30, 1991
Paraguay E-1 March 07, 1860
Paraguay E-2 March 07, 1860
Philippines E-1 September 6, 1955
Philippines E-2 September 6, 1955
Poland E-1 August 6, 1994
Poland E-2 August 6, 1994
Romania E-2 January 15, 1994
Senegal E-2 October 25, 1990
Serbia E-1 November 15,1882
Serbia E-2 November 15,1882
Singapore E-1 January 1, 2004
Singapore E-2 January 1, 2004
Slovak Republic E-2 January 1, 1993
Slovenia E-1 November 15, 1882
Slovenia E-2 November 15, 1882
Spain E-1 April 14, 1903
Spain E-2 April 14, 1903
Sri Lanka E-2 May 1, 1993
Suriname E-1 February 10, 1963
Suriname E-2 February 10, 1963
Sweden E-1 February 20, 1992
Sweden E-2 February 20, 1992
Switzerland E-1 November 08, 1855
Switzerland E-2 November 08, 1855
Thailand E-1 June 8, 1968
Thailand E-2 June 8, 1968
Togo E-1 February 5, 1967
Togo E-2 February 5, 1967
Trinidad & Tobago E-2 December 26, 1996
Tunisia E-2 February 7, 1993
Turkey E-1 February 15, 1933
Turkey E-2 May 18, 1990
Ukraine E-2 November 16, 1996
United Kingdom E-1 July 03, 1815
United Kingdom E-2 July 03, 1815
Yugoslavia E-1 November 15, 1882
Yugoslavia E-2 November 15, 1882
Ref: https://travel.state.gov

Have More Questions Than “What are Investment Visas?”

If you are a non-national seeking to live and work in the U.S. and want to know more information about your visa options and which would be the best option for your situation, Nelson and Associates can help! Just pick up the phone and give us a call today at 626-683-3451!