With the sun now set on the EB-5 Regional Center Program, immigration applicants will now look to other visa options for routes into the US.
Two options that will now become increasingly popular are the E-2 and L-1 visas. They both provide options for entrepreneurs and investors wishing to live and work in the US. The direct EB-5 Program also still remains an option. We have explained the differences and similarities below.
For citizens of countries that have investment treaties with the United States, E-2 visas can be used. A list of Treaty Countries can be found here. These applications are the fastest way to enter the United States of these three options, but they are not permanent without adding another green card process such as EB1-C or EB-5.
E-2 grants a temporary investment visa for up to five years, depending on the industry you invest in. These visas are commonplace for entrepreneurs who wish to start businesses in the US, and who wish to live and run their business in the US. Spouses and children also receive dependant visas and spouses can work within the US.
For those direct EB-5 investors who may face lengthy processing times, there is the option to apply first through the E-2 Investor Visa thereby accessing the US much sooner (sometimes within weeks or months). They can then remain in the US on an E-2 visa while they wait for their EB-5 to be processed.
L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visas are used to bring executives, directors, or professional knowledge employees of foreign companies into the United States offices for a maximum period of seven years. L-1 is also suitable for business owners who own a company abroad but who wish to start a branch, sister, or subsidiary within the US.
The requirement is that the applicant has worked for a foreign entity outside the United States for at minimum one of the past three years in a management or executive position.
There is no quota for the L-1 visa. Successful applicants will be granted an initial period of stay with the option to extend up to seven years.
All is not lost for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The original EB-5 direct program is still available for those wanting to pave their way to a green card via the investment program. The direct investment option requires the incorporation of a new enterprise, which will create at least new full-time jobs for US workers.
A full-time worker is categorized by a W-2 employee, working over 35-hours per week. Investors must submit an I-526 application that contains a solid business plan, detailing how the jobs will be created and sustained. Applicants have a two-to-three-year window once the I-526 is approved, to make their dreams a reality.
There are also direct program options that are structured much like a Regional Center EB-5 project. These allow the investor to remain passive in their investment and not to have direct daily duties with the management or operation of the US business.
For more information on how to take your first steps towards a future in the US, you can contact one of our agents by clicking here.