Can a direct investor from a treaty country apply first for E2 visa (not knowing how long the I-526 process would take to get a temporary green card) and then file I-526 afterwards? Is it a long process and waiting time for the E2 also? I heard that it could take 9+ months to get through the I-526 process. Is it worth it to go the E2 route first to get in the country and begin working on my new venture or would it be just as long to get the E2?
The E-2 visa process can be quicker than the EB-5 visa process. If getting to the United States as quick as possible is a major concern for you, then E-2 may be a good choice. It is important to note that the E-2 visa is not a dual intent visa, meaning that such a visa is used for foreign nationals to enter the United States, but will be returning to their home country. It is possible once here on an E-2 visa to make investment for EB-5 purposes. It is essential to consult a qualified attorney for effective strategy in this matter. Also note, that you must be from a treaty country to qualify for an E-2 visa. Please consult the USCIS website for the list of treaty countries.
I have had several clients file for an E-2 visa and then apply for an EB-5. Currently, USCIS is taking 12 to 14 months to process the I-526 application. Depending on what country you are from, you will be able to obtain an E-2 visa from 2 to 5 years, which will allow you to wait in the US for the approval of the I-526. The E-2 visa processing might take 2-4 months depending on your country. Consular posts defer in processing times. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
It really depends on what you are wanting to do. If the goal is to enter the country asap, it may be worth the time and effort to enter the country through an E-2 Visa. E-2 Visas are generally processed much quicker; if you are willing to pay the additional fees for premium processing, it will be processed within 15 days.
One can apply for an E-2 visa to enter the U.S within a couple of months and direct a U.S. business for a temporary period of time. The E-2 visa holder will have an intent to be in the U.S. only on a temporary basis, as an example from 2 to 5 years. While the E-2 visa investor is in legal status in the U.S., the E-2 visa holder may prepare and file an EB-5 investor I-526 petition in order to be approved so that the E-2 visa holder may apply for EB-5 conditional permanent residency. The EB-5 process, filing of I-526 petition and obtaining conditional permanent residency, may take 12 months more or less.
The E-2 non immigrant treaty investor visa option may be a good solution. Please be aware, however, that the requirements for E-2 and EB-5 are not identical. That is, just because you obtain the E-2 does not mean that you automatically qualify for the EB-5. With the right immigration attorney, with both E-2 and EB-5 experience, however, you may be able to make this work. An E-2 certainly can be obtained faster than an EB-5.
As long as you have enough investment funds to do both, it would be ok. E-2 visa process should take only a short time as you will be applying directly to the Embassy/Consulate. If you intend to use the same funds, then more explanation would be necessary. Since USCIS is publishing their average processing time for I-526 as 14.7 months, this route may be necessary to come in faster.
Technically an E-2 visa does not lead to an EB-5 visa, but there is no reason your E-2 investment cannot form the basis of your EB-5 visa. However, there are a few things you should be aware of. There is no minimum investment required for an E-2, but you still have to meet the minimum $1m or $500,000 (if the business is in a targeted employment or rural area) minimum for EB-5. Retained earnings/reinvested profits from the E-2 business do not generally count as invested funds for the EB-5 (there may be exceptions). For the E-2, you or other nationals of the treaty country need to own more than 50% of the enterprise, but this is not required for EB-5. There is only a minimal requirement for the E-2 visa to show the lawful source of your funds. For the EB-5, you must demonstrate not only the lawful source of your funds, but also the path of your funds to the enterprise. If you do not do this before making the E-2 investment, it could preclude eligibility for the EB-5 visa later on. Also, the EB-5 visa requires that you invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is defined specifically in the EB-5 regulations. You must also create at least 10 full-time, permanent jobs for U.S. workers under the EB-5 program. These must be new jobs. These two requirements combined can limit your ability to purchase an existing business, unless that business is a troubled business and you are going to preserve at least 10 jobs, or you are going to purchase and expand the business to either 140% of its prior net worth or 140% of the number of employees (or more, if the additional 40% is equal to fewer than 10 jobs). It is very important to talk to an immigration attorney with experience in both E-2 visas and EB-5 visas before you start this process if you are to be successful at obtaining both visas. As far as processing times for an E-2, it varies depending on where you apply. The last I heard, the Consulate in London was taking at least 12 weeks. Others are much shorter, and a few are only days. If you are in the U.S. and apply with USCIS for a change of status, the current wait times are between 4-6 months, and subject to change. Official processing times for an I-526 petition are about 15 months. We have seen a wide variety in reality, with some taking 8 months, and some taking longer.
It depends on which country you are a citizen of. I do a lot of E-2s and each country post had different processing times. I do have clients who are on E-2 first and then we apply for EB-5. There are a lot of details you need to pay attention to. You need an experienced attorney to help you put in your E-2 correctly to make sure it does not jeopardize your EB-5. But E-2 is one of the fastest visas to obtain for purposes of running your own business (depending on your country post''s processing time).
If your investment also qualifies for E-2 visa, it is usually best to file the E-2 first because that gives you an opportunity to come to the U.S. freely while your I-526 is in process, and it takes quite a long time. The E-2 process can be done within 1-4 months depending on which embassy you will apply in, which depends on your nationality and residence.
Starting your U.S. Immigration process with the E-2 and later converting the business to an EB-5 investment is a possible strategy. I-526 petitions can take up to and in excess of 12 months to be processed, and these timelines can vary. Of course, the E-2 processing times can vary as well. Arranging a consultation with a qualified EB-5 attorney can help you develop the best strategy for your plans to possibly call the U.S. your new home and to start your business, considering your financial situation, timelines, and other goals.
An E-2 can have a shorter time-frame when applying to most U.S. consular sections. Processing times at consulates around the world vary. I have seen some E-2s processed in a matter of days; others in about 4 to 6 weeks. The buildup time is always prior, that is in setting up the U.S. enterprise, preparing project documentation, etc. It''s also important to understand that the E-2 visa does not allow for dual intent; you must intend to return to your country of residence. Therefore, while pursuing an EB-5 visa is definitely possible once you have made your personal capital investment in your U.S. enterprise, learning more about dual intent issues is very important if you are going to make the transition.