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How will an E-2 visa help my EB-5 application?

I am planning to apply for the E-2 visa to start a business in the U.S. first and then switch it to an EB-5-qualified project by increasing the investment and hiring more people. How should I best do this? My wife and I were born in Mainland China but are Canadian citizens now. I heard there is a very long waiting time for Chinese-born EB-5 applicants. In my case, will I also need to wait for a long time even if we get approved for an E-2 visa and then apply for an EB-5 visa while in the U.S.?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The E-2 visa process is generally quicker than the EB-5 visa process because you can relatively quickly enter the U.S. on E-2 visa. Please note E-2 visa is not a dual-intent visa, and you are required to submit a statement about you will be returning to your home country upon termination of E-2 status. When you file EB-5, it will be difficult to obtain E-2 extensions or E-2 visas abroad. It is possible to convert an E-2 business to qualify for EB-5.

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    Daniel A Zeft

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, this is a good approach to establish and grow a new U.S. business in E-2 status and later proceed with an EB-5 case. After you pay personal income taxes on any profits that you receive from the new business, you can invest these funds back into the U.S. business and these investments can count toward the total amount of your EB-5 investment in the new U.S. business.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The E-2 may be a good step toward an eventual petitioning for EB-5. As a Mainland Chinese national and now a Canadian citizen, two different analysis apply to your circumstance. As to the E-2 visa, it is advisable you should apply through E-2 now because it is likely to be approved before EB-5. Furthermore, you can apply for E-2 as a Canadian but not as a Mainland Chinese national. This is because the U.S. has an E-2 agreement with Canada but not Mainland China. With regards to the EB-5, be on notice that as individuals born in Mainland China, both you and your wife will be subjected to the waiting period that governs Chinese nationals. In fact, you will not be considered as a Canadian under EB-5 program. This is because EB-5 petition is usually reviewed and granted based on national origin or country of birth of petitioners. Thus, your current Canadian citizenship will not be used as basis for consideration of your petition. Advisably, consult an immigration attorney on your options.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may apply for an E-2 non-immigrant treaty trader visa if you start a qualified business in the United States first and then subsequently file an EB-5 immigrant visa petition on Form I-526. Even though you are now Canadian citizens, you are still subject to the quota for China, which is significantly backlogged. By first obtaining E-2 non-immigrant visa status, which you can as a Canadian citizen under the North American Free Trade Agreement, you will be able to maintain your status in the United States while waiting for an EB-5 visa number to become available under the quota for Chinese-born applicants.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, the visa quota is based on the country of birth, not the citizenship. Thus, you will be waiting nearly 10 years or even more for the EB-5 visa category. If you are going to do E-2 now, then you will need to concentrate on making that business successful to maintain that status until you have an opportunity to change to an immigrant visa category, whether EB-5 or some others, if it arises.

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    Blake Harrison

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The E-2 application is separate from the EB-5 application. It will not hurt or help your chances of receiving an EB-5 (Form I-526) approval.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The scope of your question is too broad for this forum. You need to hire an immigration attorney with experience in direct EB5s and E2s.

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are successful in obtaining your E-2 visa and converting your business to an EB-5 qualified project, then as Canadians your visas could be counted against that country's EB-5 availability quota. The procedures for obtaining both the E-2 and the EB-5 visas are quite complicated. You should consider working with/through a qualified immigration attorney.

  • Avatar

    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can use the E-2 investment to serve as the basis for your EB-5 case. Unfortunately, since you were born in China, that is the quota you will have to use. It doe not matter that you are now a Chinese citizen.

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    Raymond Lahoud

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you will always be held to the priority date for your EB-5 application.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Money invested in the E-2 can count for the EB-5 requisite investment amount. You should make sure at the stage of the E-2 visa investment and business documentation that they will line up with the EB-5 processing. Being a naturalized Canadian citizen will not help you to avoid the China backlog (since it is the place of birth that governs). Same waiting period even if you have an E-2 status in the U.S. and will be applying for adjustment in the U.S.

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