Among the two most popular visas for foreign investors are the E-2 Visa and the EB-5 Visa, each of which offers a unique set of advantages. Of the two, however, the E-2 Visa may offer greater flexibility and comparatively easier qualifications.
E-2 Visa and EB-5 Visa Investment Requirements Compared
While both visas require the applicant to make a "substantial" investment in a U.S.-based commercial enterprise, the E-2 Visa does not specify a specific dollar amount -instead, the investment must simply be sufficient to develop the enterprise. A minimum of $60,000 is recommended to qualify.
By contrast, the EB-5 Visa explicitly requires a minimum of $500,000 to $1 million to qualify, with the lower threshold available only to those who invest in a rural or economically depressed area. The higher minimum standard thus locks out small and medium-sized ventures.
Duration of Stay and Freedom of Movement
As a nonimmigrant visa, the E-2 Visa is ideal for foreign investors whose personal and professional goals may require them to be transient or eventually return to their home country. It is renewable in increments of two years and allows investors to come and go from the U.S. for as long as the visa is valid.
The EB-5 Visa, however, is an immigrant visa, and thus requires investors to establish residence and be present in the U.S. for at least 180 days out of the calendar year (unless they take the extra step of applying for a re-entry permit).
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