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How can an entrepreneur switch from E-2 to an EB-5 visa?

I co-own a tech company in Germany focusing on distribution and representation (components and modules), and I want to expand the business to the United States. I plan to make an initial investment of $150,000 - $200,000. I would like to end up getting my U.S. permanent residency and I will be applying for an E-2 visa first. Then I plan on applying through the EB-5 program. What would I need to do to eventually switch from an E-2 to an EB-5 visa? What should I be doing while on the E-2 visa to make sure that my EB-5 application will be successful?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The business must be within a Targeted Employment Area or rural area to qualify for a lower investment threshold. At least 10 full-time jobs must be created per EB-5 investor. The lawful source of investment funds must be carefully documented. The business must be otherwise EB-5 compliant and have a comprehensive business plan compliant with EB-5 requirements. I suggest you consult experienced EB-5 counsel/corporate counsel at the very beginning to ensure you will qualify for transitioning from E-2 to EB-5.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    First and foremost, document your source of funds even at the E-2 stage. Keep accurate business records especially regarding employees. Be prepared to show how the increased investment created the requisite new employment for 10 jobs. Make sure your business is within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) if you wish to use the $500,000 investment.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Please note that E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa, which requires you to attest that you do not have an immigrant intent. This means, you cannot simply enter as E-2 with an intent to switch from E-2 to EB-5. If you enter as an E-2, and after running your business successfully for a while, you think you could expand and add another required EB-5 investment amount to that business and could create 10+ permanent, full-time jobs, then it may be possible. But, this will take careful planning and a strategy with a team of EB-5 business consultants and lawyers to prepare the business plan and to make the business EB-5 compliant. You will also need to make much more than the initial investment to qualify.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This can be done, but you must retain an attorney from the beginning so you can comply with the source of funds rules that are different for E-2 and EB-5. You must work with a lawyer that does both.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This is doable. There are lots of things to do, but I suggest you consult to go over the details of your case as it is hard to generalize.

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