An EB-5 investment visa is a type of immigration visa available to foreign investors that wish to immigrate to the United States. Different countries have different types of immigrant investor programs that function to encourage foreign investment in exchange for conditional or permanent residency. The requirements for an investment visa differ between countries and visa types. Different programs will also require different amounts of investment and will award different types of residency. The United States offers two types of investment visa—the EB-5 visa, and the E-2 visa.
EB-5 Investment Visa
An EB-5 investment visa is different than other types of visas available in the United States, including other employment based visas, the diversity immigrant visa, and family-based visas. In the United States, the EB-5 visa is the only employment-based visa that requires investment.
The EB-5 visa is a means for foreigners to obtain a green card, and potentially citizenship in the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services oversees the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and offers investment visas to foreign investors who invest $1.8 million (or $900,000 if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) into a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. The investment must also create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The foreign investor will then be able to apply for a U.S. green card and eventually obtain permanent residence if the jobs are proven to have been created.
E-2 Investment Visa
Another type of investment visa in the United States is the E-2 Treaty Investors visa. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that is obtained by a foreign investor from a country that maintains a treaty of navigation and commerce with the United States. In order to receive the visa, the applicant must invest capital into a business in the United States. Under the E-2 visa option, specific employees of the investor or the authorized organization may also apply for the visa. There is also an application process for family members of investors obtaining a U.S. visa under the E-2 option.
In order to be approved for an E-2 non-immigrant visa, the investor must have invested (or begun the investment process) a substantial amount of funds into a genuine U.S. business—enough to start and operate the business. Unlike the EB-5 visa, the E-2 visa requires renewal; however, there is no limit to how many times the visa can be renewed. Once the business venture is complete, the foreign investor must leave the United States or change their status—the E-2 visa does not directly lead to a green card and citizenship like the EB-5 visa.