There are 185 types of visas issued in the USA. Visas are divided into categories, such as tourist visas, student visas, fiancé visas and others.
Due to the number of categories, there appears to be some overlap between visa permits and differentiation which can be difficult for a layperson to understand. A qualified immigration professional is the best person to help you decide which visa works best for you.
There are two visa types: immigrant and non-immigrant. Immigrant visas allow permanent residency in the United States. Some non-immigrant visas enable long-term residency with renewal.
Within visa categories, there can be a non-immigrant visa type and an immigrant visa type. This is the case with the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa.
A visa means permit. The holder is allowed certain privileges while holding this visa and denied others. In addition to all the visa categories, there are two types of visas, immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Both E2 and EB-5 visa seekers must make a financial investment in the United States through a business. Both E2 and EB-5 visa candidates must show a legitimate source of cash flow. This is where the similarities end.
About the E2 visa
The E2 is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it does not lead to permanent residence. At some point, E-2 visa holders may be able to pursue permanent home in the United States. These visas are issued to natives of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of trade and navigation and those who have received the visas are referred to as treaty “traders.” E2 visa candidates are granted visas (permits) to promote trade and business.
Country treaty members are listed here.
E2 visa applications are accepted at the American consulate in the applicant’s native country and issued in approximately six weeks, but it may take longer. Other details concerning E2 visas follow below:
- Require smaller financial cash investment than EB-5. Benchmark $100,000-$200,000.
- Non-immigrant does not lead to a green card
- Must prove a legitimate source of funds
- Can transition between an E2 and EB-5 visa
- Must be majority owned by nationals of the treaty country
- Must create employment but not necessarily American employees
- Jobs must be filled one year after filing
- May sponsor essential skilled personnel and managers
- Must show a business plan that is positioned for growth
- E2 applicant must work in the business
- Visa can be renewed every two years as long as the company is viable
- Visa will include spouse and children
- Spouse and children can attend school
- Visa holders do not have to remain in the US a set amount of time
About the EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa leads to a “green card” and is the pathway to permanent residency in the United States. The applicant does not have to be a native of a treaty country. It can take nearly two years to receive this visa following application. More details regarding the EB-5 visa follow below:
- There is no annual cap on the number of EB-5 visas allocated
- Spouse and children are allowed entry to the US along with primary applicant
- A legitimate source of funding must be proven
- Must invest between $500,000 and $1 million in the United States
- Capital investment of $500,000 to $1 million cannot include loans
- Foreign national must own 51% of the business
- Must create 10 full time jobs and hire 10 American citizens to fill those positions.
- Can be a new or existing enterprise
- Must prove viability and present a business plan
- Owner does not have to work in the business
- Visas allocated to individuals who have already visited the US and office locations
- The visa holder, children under 21 and spouse can work in other enterprises or attend school
Increase your chances of receiving the visa you require by hiring a qualified immigration attorney who can help guide you for your best chance of success.