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Why You Need to Know the Key Differences Between EB-5 vs E2 Visas

Updated on August 31, 2014

E2 and EB-5 Foreign Investor Visas

What E2 and EB-5 Visas Offer Foreign Investors - Path to US Citizenships

While each year the annual EB-5 quota (currently estimated at 10,000) has never been reached, overwhelming support by Congress of the recent extension of EB-5 program to September 30, 2015 means that further extension is likely to continue.

There are no quota restrictions for E-2 Visas unlike other visas. So, depending on your personal situation, both types of visas are worth considering.

What are the Key Differences Between the EB-5 and E2 Visas

What Types of Visas are Obtained by E2 vs EB-5

First, the key difference between the E2 vs EB-5 programs are the types of visas obtained.

As discussed in my previous article "How Buying a Business Can Help You Get a Visa" the E2 program provides a temporary 5 year visa. But because it is renewable and can be extended indefinitely, it may be effectively a "permanent visa."

The investor's spouse receives automatic unrestricted work authorization, while minor children are included under their parents' visa status.

Meanwhile, the EB-5 visa is simply designed for those seeking permanent U.S. status.

Types of Businesses to Invest In

While an E2 visa simply requires active involvement in the business, the EB-5 is designed for passive investment in new / existing "Troubled Business" or approved regional centers that meet the minimum investment size (see below).

In addition, EB-5 projects are required to create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers, excluding the investor and their immediate family.

Size of Investment

Again, as discussed in the previous article, there is no hard defied minimum for the E2 visa program but $100,000 to $150,000 is generally considered enough.

With EB-5 visas minimum investments of $1M per family, unless the project is in Targeted Employment Area (TEA) in which case $500,000 is enough. These TEA regions are rural areas with populaton of 20,000 or less, or unemployment no less than 150% the national average.

How Fast Can I Get a Visa?

For the E2 program, it takes 3 to 4 months, plus preparation time of about one month.

Meanwhile, EB-5 visas takes about 60 days for filing the application, plus 120 days for processing. Generally if all goes well, full residency is usually obtained within 2 years.


In both cases, investors will need to be able to verify source of funds and demonstrate proof of no criminal record.

As with any business matter, professional advisors are keys to your success. These include: tax accountants, bankers, lawyers, and other business advisors.

And as always.. Disclaimer: This article is written for educational purposes only and as such should not be relied upon as legal or financial advice in any way. Immigration law is a specialized area that continues to evolve in the wake of 9-11. Readers are advised to seek professional legal and financial counsel on their own particular situation.


http:// portal/ site/ uscis

Behar, Larry. EB-5 United States Immigration Through Investment (Kindle Location 1150). 2012 Kindle Edition.


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    • profile image

      Mike Terry 

      5 years ago


      Dear Jycmba,

      Thanks for your article.

      You have posted interesting facts and examples, will you please advise some more references for briefing.

      I am waiting for your quick and useful reply.

      Thank you

      Mike Terry


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